How to make adolescent girls insecure. For some reason this topic has been on my mind a lot lately. My passion is to help girls feel secure about themselves, love themselves, not compare themselves, and to love the favorable qualities of others, especially other girls. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a confident girl/woman that is slow to get jealous, slow to compete with her peers, and is quick to love. That to me is true confidence.
We all know it’s easier to love others when we love ourselves. So what are we inadvertently doing that is causing our girls, and ourselves, to be so dang insecure, jealous, and unhappy?
Here is my list of 5 things that will instantly make a girl feel insecure, jealous, and unhappy. So if you’re doing any of these, please STOP! I beg of you!!!
1. Talking about your or anyone else’s body shape, size, or physical features
It doesn’t matter if you’re saying someone is skinny or fat, lean or “healthy”, or if you’re talking about nose size, when you start talking body size and physical features, some misfiring chemical starts firing (especially in adolescent girls) and they start seeing themselves under a distorted magnifying glass. They automatically start nitpicking every little thing about themselves. Sometimes even positive compliments about physical features can make a girl hyper focus on her physical features. Then almost simultaneously, feelings of inadequacy and insecurity take over. It’s a tough line because every girl needs to be told she’s beautiful. The bottom line is, body size and physical features should rarely if ever be the topic of discussion, especially if it’s derogatory in any way. The antidote: talk about people’s character and qualities a lot more often than you talk about their physical features.
2. Constantly talking about calories and food portions
If you are trying to eat healthier that’s awesome! I’m all about healthy living and eating, but please don’t be verbal about it, unless it’s directly related to health and not body size or weight. There are so many moms that constantly talk about what they are and aren’t eating, and verbally rationalize their food choices to everyone around them. This instantly creates a food microscope effect. Your daughter feels like she is being watched and that she too needs to analyze her food choices. She feels guilty when she eats something that’s not healthy and then the unhealthy internal battles begin. The antidote: talk about being physically active and living healthy, not about food portions.
3. Gossiping or talking bad about others
This is powerful! Talking bad about other people will instantly, and I mean instantly, make your daughter feel insecure. There is so much internal processing as an adolescent and if you are watching what others are doing and judging or hearing them be judged in anyway; called ugly, annoying, stupid, or whatever else, isn’t it only natural to think that others are saying and doing the same about you? Talking bad about others will instantly destroy self-esteem no matter who you are or how old you are. The good news is that talking good about others is just as powerful! It just builds self-esteem instead of destroying it. The antidote: talk about the good in others, it will help them see the good in themselves.
4. Spending too much time focusing on their outer appearance
It’s a girl thing to feel good when you feel like you look good, but too much emphasis on the outer shell can have a boomerang effect. There are so many beautiful insecure girls and women and it’s because they focus too much on their outer beauty. A lot of their talk, time, money, and energy are spent trying to optimize their outer beauty, and that’s just an uphill battle waiting to be lost. The world makes this miserable battle seem more like an enticing prize to be won, but the reality is there is no prize to be won at all, just self defeat, discouragement, and a lot of unnecessary comparisons. One of my favorite sayings is “Look your best, but don’t obsess”. Our girls can tell what our focus is. We can’t let our focus be on the outer appearance. The antidote: spend more time on the inner you and the inner them. Talk about character, values, and how they are daughters of God with incredible potential and purpose.
5. Comparing them to someone else
Comparison is not only the thief of joy, but it’s the thief of confidence. It’s natural for kids to compare themselves, they need an advocate to teach them that there is never a good time to compare themselves with others. If you are comparing them to others, it will only magnify their natural tendency to compare and they will find themselves in the insecure, jealousy, and unhappy pit. The antidote: Encourage self reflection, not comparison. Give constant reminders that comparison is the thief of joy.
It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll notice a change in your girl(s) as you implement the antidotes of these confidence hackers. You will be amazed at the change.
When we do these things, we give our daughter(s) permission to love herself as she is right now and to love others as they are right now. It also helps our daughter(s) embrace the goodness of others, instead of feeling threatened or discouraged by them.
Join me in my quest to build secure, confident, and happy girls!