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23 Nov 2022

Hurtful Words

“Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Hurtful words do hurt!

They can have a devastating impact on a child’s mental and emotional well-being. They can leave them feeling rejected, embarrassed, discouraged, anxious and can affect their self-esteem, self-worth and identity.

After one of my presentations a young lady shared that she was being called fat and she didn’t know what to do. It happens way too often to both girls and boys!

I shared an activity that has helped me, my son and others bounce back from hurtful words.

The goal is to take the hurtful word – in this case F.A.T. – and change it to a meaning that strengthens confidence and resilience, which is beneficial for both mental and emotional health. When you encourage kids to practice this, they will start to see themselves differently.

They will learn that what they say to themselves is in their control and what they choose to tell themselves matters.

Step One

F.A.T. could mean

  • Fabulously. Awesome. Teen.
  • Fun. And. Talented.
  • Fit. And. Toned.

Step Two

Apply One of the Options Below Using the New Meaning to the hurtful word.

Option 1 – ‘You are right! I am a Fabulously Awesome Teen!’ (or the meaning they have created) Since the person delivering the hurtful words is not getting the reaction they expected, there is a good chance they will eventually get bored and stop.

Option 2 – If saying, ‘You are right! I am a Fabulously Awesome Teen!’ feels uncomfortable, then just repeat, ‘I am a Fabulously Awesome Teen!’ to yourself as you walk away.

For every word that hurts, take each letter and have it stand for a positive, empowering meaning. Then use option 1 or 2 with the new meaning.

Here are a few more examples:

U.G.L.Y. – Upbeat. Generous. Lovable. Youth.

L.O.S.E.R. – Lover. Of. Sports. Especially. Running.

The more kids hear their own voice saying encouraging words, the more their self-worth will shine!

Until next time…

16 Jun 2022

Overcome Negative Comments and Opinions

I am saddened by the number of kids who share the affect negative comments and opinions have on their self-worth. I can relate to them.

During my school years, I took disrespectful, hurtful remarks to heart. I was becoming unhappy with who I was and with my physical appearance. I started to find myself worrying about what others thought of me all the time. I was beginning to believe all those remarks about me were true.

I wrote the song ‘Doesn’t Mean Much’ because I wanted to remind myself that I have the final say in what I choose to believe about myself.

Kids Hear So Many Opinions

Some comments and opinions tear them down – some steal their confidence and self-worth. I want them to know that opinions don’t mean anything until they say they do. I want them to know that they have the final say in what they choose to believe about themselves regardless of what others say.

How do you help kids overcome negative comments and opinions that tear them down? How do you strengthen their confidence and self-worth so that disrespectful, hurtful opinions don’t become what they believe about themselves?

Kids Need to Believe They are Enough

TRY THIS: Have them write out what they want to believe about themselves regardless of those negative comments, opinions and judgments.

Start their belief with I CHOOSE.

Examples:

I Choose to Believe I AM ENOUGH.

I Choose to Accept myself just the way I am.

I Choose to Love the body I am in.

I Choose to Enjoy & Appreciate my uniqueness.

I Choose to Respect myself, others & my dreams.

Encourage them to place these beliefs everywhere they can see them as a visual reminder – their mirror, locker, binder, sock drawer, back of their phone – so that anytime a negative thought/worry enters their mind, they can replace it with their new belief. This is something that I still do.

Keep reinforcing that they have the final say in what they choose to believe about their body, their talent, their abilities and their life. They are enough!

P.S. Here is another exercise to help strengthen their confidence & self-worth.

Until next time…

12 Dec 2019

I Just Want to Be Me

I received an email from a student who felt they were two different people – one side of them is their school self, the other side is their home self.

I could relate to this student as I remember my ‘school self’ being self conscious – worried about what others thought about me – wanting to be liked and accepted by everyone. I did have confident moments and many good times in school, but there was a voice in my head sometimes saying, ‘What will they think? Do they really like me?

Looking back, I can see that there were times when those self-defeating thoughts stopped me from being totally free to Just Be Me.

My ‘home self’ felt and still feels free – a place where I allow myself to relax and be me. When I am home I don’t worry about my clothes matching or what my hair looks like. I can choose to change into my pyjamas as soon as I step inside the door and to feel my true emotions without worry of judgments. 

When you are not being who you really are, you are most likely worried about what other people are thinking about you.  I still have moments when I worry what others think of me. But now I recognize those moments.

That recognition now gives me two choices: Allow those thoughts to hold me back from being me or notice the thought and take a stand for who I am regardless of the opinions of others.

The true essence of who you are should not change from place to place. If you feel you have to pretend to be someone that you are not in order to ‘fit in’, not only is it exhausting, but also frustrating. 

Being true to you will be way more fulfilling than trying to be someone that you aren’t. Your real friends will accept you for who you are.

At the end of the day I believe it is imperative that you can say ‘I am proud of who I was today.’

Until next time…

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