When it comes to self-esteem and confidence, everybody wants it. But, these two things can be quite hard to acquire and retain.  Especially if bullying is involved.  So, today, I thought I would share some tactics I use to help me and my children preserve and attain our self-esteem and confidence.  Some exercises are very simple and others take a little effort.  However, at the end of the day, I can rest peacefully, knowing that I am providing vital tools that can help ward off the ugly acts of others.

Self-Esteem and Confidence Building Exercises

For the Kids:

1. Listen-When your chickies are talking to you, make them feel like what they are saying is important.  You can do this by stopping what you're doing and making eye contact with them as they speak.  Sure your kid may only be telling you about the booger he just picked and ate...gross!  But, as you take the time to intently listen to even something like this, you are teaching your children that what they say, matters.

2. Praise, Praise, Praise!-Every time you see your child doing something good (putting away their toys, sharing, eating all of their lunch, coloring a fabulous picture, etc.) give them direct and specific praise (i.e.-You did a wonderful job putting all of the stuffed animals back into their storage basket!  I am so proud of you!).  Doing this will give your children continual confidence in the things they are doing, and in turn, will one day teach them how to recognize the good things they are doing on their own.

3. Find the positives in the negatives-We learn through mistakes.  As children grow, they are constantly trying and doing new things; and with that, come a lot of mistakes.  Instead of focusing just on the negative aspects of the mistake, highlight the positive things your child did and use that as a launching point to then go over what they can do better next time.

4. Be a positive role model yourself-As children get older, they develop and learn through observation.  If you, as their parent, are constantly saying negative things about yourself, your children will take note of that and possibly take on those same mannerisms.

5. Take time to do activities together that help your child strengthen their self-esteem and confidence-You can find a plethora of these on the internet, or you can stick to doing things that your child loves or excels in.  

For you:

1. Keep an Inventory-On a sheet of paper, or even a Post-it or two, write down your strengths, positive traits, accomplishments, etc. and place it in a spot that you can easily access and see on a daily basis.

2. Openly state positive affirmations on a daily basis-Positively stating who you are, out loud, is extremely powerful.  By choosing to say some form of an "I am..." statement at the start, middle, and/or end of each day, you will eventually cause yourself to truly believe these things.

3. Focus on what you want out of your life-When you actively focus on and pursue the things you want out of this life, you will soon find that anything not in line with that vision is insignificant.

4. Be true to yourself!-We live in a society that constantly preaches if we want to be happy we must live a certain lifestyle and look/act a certain way.  If you asked my opinion, that's a bunch of bull shiz.  We are all uniquely different for a reason; and I truly believe that's a concept we should all eagerly embrace!  At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own happiness.  So,  we should all do what feels right and lovingly own who we are.  Flaws and all!

5. Laugh a little-Lighten up.  Let go of things you can't control.  Take a chance, make a mistake or two, and embrace the beautiful mess that life really is.

Bullying can feel like a very isolating issue.  But, when it comes down to it, millions are affected by this epidemic on a yearly basis. I, myself, was bullied for the majority of my adolescent life.  However, as my parents and I implemented the above exercises, I was able to break the cycle in my own life and move forward as a very strong, capable, and confident woman.


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