As I've been reading others' posts for NEDAwareness Week and exploring the NEDAwarenss website, I came across this post that I felt needed to be shared. It resonated with me on such a level that it was as though Claire Mysko plucked it from my subconscious. So much of this is exactly what fueled my eating disorder that I can't just pass over it. In fact, "Perfect" was such arriving force in my life that my husband (then boyfriend) saw what it was doing to me and made it an off-limits word. His one caveat- It was encouraged when referring to how perfectly-imperfect I (and life in general) was/am/is. So this article is pretty great. I could give you a synopses, but as I'm reading this I can't find a place to break it. I want to put the entire thing in quotes, lol. So I've decided to do something you're not really supposed to do (in the "blog world"), but I must. I very much encourage all of you to follow my links to her post on NEDAwareness's website, as well as the link provided there to her original piece.
Girls today are told they can do anything. Unfortunately, the message they’re often getting is that they have to do everything--and please everyone while they’re at it. All this pressure is adding up to big time stress. According to The Supergirl Dilemma, a study conducted by Girls Incorporated, more than half of girls in middle school reported that they often feel stressed. By the time girls get into high school that number jumps to 74%. One third of all girls in grades 3-12 said they often feel sad and unhappy.
When girls get caught up in the quest to be supergirls, they are less likely to feel confident in themselves and more likely to struggle with low self-esteem and poor body image. Here are five tips to help the girls in your life tackle The Supergirl Dilemma.
Does the pressure to do it all sound familiar? Supergirls and Superwomen hear the same voice, and it says “you’re not good enough.” Remember to give yourself a break and take time for healthy stress relief. If we want to break this damaging “super” cycle and set positive examples, we have to start with ourselves.
Teach girls to be savvy and critical media consumers. Resist the urge to simply lecture about what you think is inappropriate. Instead, ask them what they like about the movies and TV shows they watch and the magazines they read. What do they dislike? Talk about the difference between fantasy and reality by showing girls real examples of retouching. Point out how often retouching is used to make models and actors look artificially flawless.
Encourage girls to exercise their bragging rights. Girls are often hesitant to talk about what makes them amazing because they don’t want to be seen as conceited or they feel like they’re not perfect enough to be proud of themselves. Turn that thinking around by challenging girls to take pride in all of their amazing qualities, not just their achievements. Ask a girl what makes her amazing. If you get a sheepish shrug or an “I don’t know,” press on. You can spark the conversation by sharing a few of her qualities that you think are amazing, but don’t let her off the hook until she can say this sentence out loud: “I’m amazing because…”
Discuss the value of making mistakes and taking healthy risks. Many girls are so focused on being perfect and doing things “right” that they miss out on valuable opportunities because they are so afraid of failure. Share a mistake you made or a risk you took in life that helped you get where you are today.
When girls talk about the pressures they feel, the best thing you can do is listen. Don’t judge, interrupt, or get upset. Remember that what girls need most of all in their lives are supportive adults
who take the time to hear what they’re saying.
who take the time to hear what they’re saying.
Makes mistakes and learns from them
Talks about her feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams
Tries new things
Supports other girls
Is proud of her accomplishments, no matter how big or small
Knows three trusted adults she could turn to if she had a problem
Knows how to set boundaries and say no
Takes care of her body, mind, and spirit
Is afraid of not knowing the “right” answer
Makes mistakes and agonizes over them
Keeps it to herself when she’s stressed or sad
Doesn’t take on new challenges
Is jealous of other girls’ successes
Feels like no accomplishment is good enough or big enough
Wants adults to think she is happy, even if she doesn’t always feel happy
Sometimes does things she doesn’t want to do if she thinks people might like her more for doing them
Wishes she could be smarter, prettier, more popular, more athletic--the list goes on