Do You Love Yourself?

Do you love everything about yourself?  Odds are, probably not.  But, you should.

Many of us have some accepting to do when it comes to self-appreciation and self-esteem. 

We all remember the "cool," popular girls in school.  They had it all; looks, boobs, smarts, style.  All many of us could do was try to keep up, not truly accepting who we are.

Well, times have not changed.  In fact, things have probably gotten worse.  Seven in 10 girls feel they do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships, according to a new study by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund.

Girls with low self-esteem are three times more likely to participate in dangerous behaviors, like cutting, eating disorders, bullying, smoking, and drinking, when feeling insecure, the research showed.

And although you would like to believe otherwise, many young women are falling victim to their insecurities by engaging in negative activities. These negative activities include cutting, smoking, drinking, bullying and developing eating disorders.

So, what can be done to prevent this behavior and help young girls accept themselves?

One important step to building confidence is communication between kids and adults or parents.

“The good news is that if parents and other role models are willing to create a steady conversation of encouragement, honesty and openness it can definitely help girls gain confidence and reach their full potential,” said Jess Weiner, self-esteem expert and Dove Self-Esteem Fund Ambassador.

Weiner offers these tips for parents and young girls to better their communication skills on such a sensitive topic:

For Moms and Mentors
Be an active listener.  It's easy to ask a question and then sit back and wait for an answer, but parents need to engage their daughters in a dialogue in order to find out what is really going on in their lives.  Don't just ask what happened during their day, ask why it happened and how it made them feel. Sometimes we can learn more in the listening than in the giving of advice.
Create Teachable Moments
Use everyday occurrences as opportunities for learning and discussion. A parent and daughter might see an example of violence or bullying on TV - instead of ignoring it, take the time to talk about it.
For Girls
Look to girls as allies, not enemies.  Girls have the tendency to view their female peers as competition. However, conflict and even bullying can be avoided if girls try to find common ground and learn to work with each other instead of against each other.
Participating in self-esteem workshops may be helpful, as well.

The Dove Self-Esteem Fund aims to help girls build self-esteem and a healthy body image.  The Fund was developed more than four years ago as part of the Campaign for Real Beauty to inspire and educate girls and young women about a wider definition of beauty.

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