My daughter was born with special needs that make her uniquely unique. She has more self-confidence in her little finger than most of us have from head to toe. She isn’t afraid to be herself. Partly because of her chromosome deletion disorder, and partly because she has the heart of a lion. My daughter doesn't worry or judge or hate. She only loves—herself and the people in her life. How wonderful to live like that.
I suspect we’re all born like Avery—clean slates with full hearts and open minds. I wonder when that changes? Because sadly, it does. We become tainted by societal expectations. At some point, we begin to doubt ourselves. Do I measure up? Am I good enough?
There are six-year-olds who think they're fat. Eight-year-olds who worry they aren’t pretty enough. Nine-year-olds who think they’re stupid. Ten-year-olds who strive to look like the women they see in magazines. Girls who believe they are less than.
Self-doubt is taught but it can be unlearned.
As the grown-ups in their lives, it’s up to us to teach our daughters that they are enough. In fact, they are MORE THAN ENOUGH. They are unique. And unique is amazing.
We can inspire confidence by leading by example—which can be tough because I admit that some days I feel fat and ugly, and stupid, and less than. This is alarming because I consider myself to be a strong and confident woman. Clearly, none of us are immune to the “you’re not good enough” messages we’re bombarded with every day.
So how can we help build our girls’ confidence?
A great place to start is by hosting a Dove Self-Esteem Party. Of course, there are snacks and drinks and decorations and silly moments. Hello, it's a party! But a Mother-Daughter Mindful Me Party, is a party with a purpose—with activities built into the fun to promote and build self-esteem. Of course, one little workshop like this won’t fix everything, but it’s certainly a wonderful place to begin.
My daughter has an abundance of girlfriends who love and appreciate her just the way she is. Our self-esteem party was not only a celebration of that, but also a great opportunity for all the girls (and moms!) to participate in some "Mindful Me Activities."
1. Visit selfesteem.dove.ca and choose 3-5 self-esteem and body confidence related topics you would like to discuss at your #InspireConfidence party.
2. Print and/or download your Dove Self Esteem resources and invite your daughter and her friends to attend the party. Two hours is a good length of time to allow for activities and snacking. (I found this free online invitation.)
3. What to wear/bring: Comfy clothes. Ask guests to bring a yoga mat if they have one. Also ask moms to email a photo of their child if you’d like to glue a picture to any of the files you downloaded ahead of time.
4. Setting: Move furniture out of the way to create a “yoga-like” space or if it’s a nice day go outside on the deck or spread out on the lawn. Light candles, play soothing music, plug in a trickling fountain...anything goes when it comes to creating your mindful space.
5. Snacks: Prepare food and drinks ahead of time so you can enjoy your guests and facilitate the workshop. Serve whatever you like, but as an example, our Mindful Menu included:
Mindful Melon Mojitos (for moms) or these Blueberry Mojitos, Watermelon Punch (for the kids), veggies and dip, cranberry feta pinwheels, fruit and Greek yogurt dip, sushi, Creamy Artichoke & Leek Dip served with tortilla chips and gluten-free toasted pita triangles, Oven Baked Zucchini Sticks, Honey & Sriracha Popcorn.
6. Activities: There are a lot of great activities to choose from, so to help narrow it down, choose a few activities based on the age and interests of the girls. They’re all really helpful exercises so you can’t go wrong, but as an example, this is what we did at our Mindful Me Party. Find all the instructions and printables you'll need at Mindful Me, Uniquely Me, and Confident Me.
1. Greet guests and explain a bit about the concept of being mindful (how, why it’s beneficial) and then start with an easy ice-breaker game like this one from the Free-Being-Me 7-10 year old activity pack (Page 8).
2. Moms work with their daughters to complete the “This Is Me” activity (Page 11). Tell the girls that this is something they can refer back to for a boost of confidence whenever they’re feeling down.
3. Try this "Mini Meditation" Activity (Find the instructions here on Page 25). Learning how to relax and be "mindful" is such a valuable lesson for our daughters (and for stressed out moms, too!)
4. End the instructional portion of the workshop with Power Poses! (See Page 29) Research shows that our posture and the way we hold our bodies can affect how confident we feel and how anxious we can become. Standing strong and looking powerful – even when we don’t feel like it on the inside - can release confidence-producing hormones that lower anxiety levels. It shows the world that you’re feeling open and self-assured.
End the party by snacking and chatting and enjoying each other’s company. You can also choose to share your “This Is Me" sheets at this time.
5. After the party, email guests a "thank-you for coming message" with a few photos from the party and links to the Parent Resource PDFs. Encourage moms to try some of the other activities with their daughters and maybe host a self-esteem workshop of their own.
Be sure to take photos of YOUR #InspireConfidence party and share on social media with the hashtag and you will automatically be entered for a chance to win 1 of 5 $50 PC gift cards courtesy of Loblaws!
Dove believes no girl should be held back from reaching her full and amazing potential. However, anxieties over appearance can stop girls being their best selves, affecting their health, friendships and performance at school. So for over 10 years, Dove has been helping young people with self-esteem education, globally reaching 17 million of them so far. Join the Dove Self-Esteem Movement and help reach even more!