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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…

11 Dec 2021

Your Mindset: Friend or Foe?

Your mindset can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

This what I know: Your mindset matters! It determines what you are willing to experience, ideas you are open to and who you see when you look in the mirror. Changing your mindset doesn’t happen by chance. It happens by choice.

Here are 4 simple effective ways to train your mindset to be your friend:

1) Add the word YET at the end of a thought to give Hope and Growth. Ex: ‘I’m not good at that … yet.’ The simple word YET reminds you that your efforts will pay off and that there is room to learn and grow.

2) Mind over Matter. Instead of choosing to focus on the obstacles that are in your way – focus on what you want to achieve. Acknowledge the obstacles and then choose to focus on your desired end result to keep you motivated.

3) Affirmations. What you tell yourself and repeat, over time will be what you believe. Choose your thoughts wisely. ‘I’m not enough’ will create a very different feeling than repeating ‘I am enough’. Only you have the power to choose what you tell yourself.

4) Gratitude. Choosing to focus on something you are grateful for is a powerful mindset shift that boosts happiness and helps you bounce back from challenging times and move though tough emotions. Since your brain can only focus on one thought at a time – choosing to look at what you are grateful for (especially during difficult times and mistakes made) is a powerful practice that strengthens resilience.

Until next time…

sara westbrook signature
14 Oct 2021

Kids want to know ‘They Are Enough!’

I want kids to know it’s possible to face adversity and still choose to believe in yourself! That is why, in my presentations to youth, I share stories about two dreams I had growing up and the challenges I encountered along the way.

My first dream was singing the national anthem at a Blue Jays game. Despite being told NO multiple times, and feeling frustrated and embarrassed each time, I chose to keep asking. My persistence and belief in myself turned that dream into a reality.

The second was auditioning on Canadian Idol. I made it past two rounds of judges only to hear from the celebrity judges, ‘You can’t sing, give up and do something else!’ When I left the competition that day, I felt sad, frustrated, angry and disappointed. I wanted to give up! But then I realized, if I chose to give up, I wouldn’t be respecting myself nor my dreams. So, I chose to keep singing and recorded multiple songs.

Even though I encountered many challenges, I’m so glad I decided to learn the important lessons those challenges were teaching me – lessons of determination, putting in the effort, and most importantly – bouncing back from disappointment so that I could move forward with even more motivation to pursue my dreams.

This is What I Know: We can’t save our children/students from challenges and tough emotions, but we can support them, share with them, and teach them ways to keep going. Reminding them that it’s not as much about the challenges and emotions they face, as it is about who they choose to become and how they choose to bounce back. Challenges are chapters of life, not the whole story and when life gets tough, I want them to know…They Are Enough!

Until next time…