The week three message is "speak kind words to yourself", well not exactly like that, but essentially that. They called it Positive Self Messaging, I like be kind to yourself better.
As women we have a tendency to cripple our selves with our own thoughts. How many of us have thought how fat we looked, or how old we looked. How often do we congratulate that person in the mirror? How often do you tell your mirror self that she looks great? My inner critic is so judgmental that I rarely even look in the mirror. I do not want that for my girls. I want my girls to be strong and self- confident. I want them to be courageous and to feel like they can take on the world.
One of last weeks exercises was to make a list of self- critical statements. The girls and moms then had to state what they thought a Positive Self Message (P.S.M.) to that would be. One of the girls had a personal experience where she had tried out for something and not been accepted. She had told herself that she was stupid and terrible, and that is why she had not been accepted. The leaders of the group then asked her what her P.S.M. could have been. She said that "I am a great singer, and that I should try again next year". I am really torn on this one. Shouldn't we be honest with ourselves like we would be to someone we loved? If my best friend came to me with a problem, I would not tell her only glowing and positive things. I would use kind words to tell her what she needed to hear, not always what she wanted to hear (I have done this innumerable times). I think we need to teach our girls to speak to themselves like someone that they love. I want my girls to love themselves. Not love themselves in a garish and vain way, but in a kind and compassionate way, the way that I hope they love each other. They need to learn to be honest with themselves, but in a kind way. "The reason that I did not get accepted is because I did not practice enough. I obviously don't want this enough." "Or, I was just having an off day, I will ask if I can audition again". They need to be critical, but in a kind and accepting way, and give themselves permission to occasionally fail.
I am stymied trying to decide how we teach our girls positive self messaging. I think that they need to see me as good role model. I try to show the girls how positive I am about myself. My inner voice is shouting at me that I am a liar as I try to model this positive behavior. Do you think they know that I am lying to them about myself? The older I get them more kind I am trying to be to myself, it's hard to undo 40 years of negative self- talk, but my girls are worth it, oh heck I am worth it. I want my girls to accept what they cannot change about themselves (their freckles, eye colour, facial features) and fight for their best self in those things that they have the power to change.
I came across a really great article about this same subject. I warn you that I did not hit the other features, I just read the article. It made sense, it was smart.
I would also like to share a major revelation that I had in the middle of last weeks class. It has nothing to do with this week's topic. I had heard about this year's class because one of the leaders of the group called to personally invite Grace and I. I did not think anything of it. I figured that they were calling all the girls of that age that they knew to remind them about this great class, and it is a great class. I did not think another thing about it until the middle of last week's class.
My Grace is very shy. So shy that it has took her until grade 4 to feel comfortable to speak in class. Because of this, people view Grace like a victim. People feel like they should do things for "poor Grace". I discourage "poor Grace". I never push her hard to break free of her shyness, but I do nudge her. She will break out of her cocoon when she is ready. I just need to encourage her to give her cocoon a poke, and a prod. She needs to move at her own pace.
Last week the group was coming up with negative messages that we tell ourselves. One of the leaders asked Grace if she had some ideas. She asked Grace in the tone that you would ask someone who is mentally handicapped, that sickly sweet tone. At that moment I had what Oprah has coined an "Light Bulb Moment". When I had my "Light Bulb Moment" I felt really stupid for not realizing it sooner. They had not called to invite us randomly. They had called because Grace is shy and they thought shy meant lacking in self- confidence and lacking in self -esteem, both of which Grace does not lack in. If anything Grace has an over inflated self- confidence and self -esteem. At that moment I wanted to shout out "You know she's shy. She does not suffer from poor self-esteem". Growing up my mother always told us "Don't mistake meek for weak". I think that this very aptly applies to this situation. Now I have the dilemma, do I tell them what I suspect, or just keep my mouth shut? I would have taken her to the classes anyway. They really are a great class. What do you think I should do, tell or keep it to myself?