I'm ugly. I'm fat. I'll never amount to anything. I'm stupid. I am nothing. Recognize anything? These are all affirmations. Sadly, these are the affirmations many of our youths believe today. Young men are pressed to be men without knowing what it truly means and their major examples do more harm than good. Young women are pressed to be "free" and the only time stress is put on protecting their bodies come at the price of political debate over abortion rights. How about we stress the importance of self-worth during a person's beginning stages? We should show toddlers how to love themselves and value others. It is not about raising "soft, wimpy" children, it is a start to the enhancement of society.
Too many times we see the cries for help because of bullying, sexual and/or emotional abuse. In a time where social media is the foremost form of self-expression we cannot say that we never noticed the almost nude thirteen year old girl, the bottle poppin' fifteen year old boy or the depressed youth (of any age). What can we do? We can do better because we know better. Let's start at home:
When that magazine comes with the glorious airbrush work make sure our children know that those images are not the epitome of beauty. Let our girls know that they are gorgeous (pretty does not cut it anymore especially when our favorite actress appears on tv and we exclaim how gorgeous she is- they're listening). Tell our sons what beauty is from the inside so that the videos, shows and pictures that he views will not fool him to believe that women are objects designed for his pleasure. Tell them that there is more for them out there than the alcohol, drugs, sex and fast cars. Tell them their minds are powerful and are capable of extraordinary ingenuity; the future of our world and civilization literally depends on them!
When there are disagreements let's lead by example and learn to agree to disagree with no hatred and emotional damage or to express ourselves without violence (and profanity but that's a different issue). Difference reflects greatness and by definition, variety. We need difference. It is truly a shame that bullying begins at a young age and, in some cases, dies at an old age. Teaching our children and teens that they are more than the media, bullies and hurtful family members say they are can have a HUGE impact on the society we live in today.
Changing our perspectives to value others does not mean that we are no longer looking to better our individual selves, rather it helps us to better pursue greatness for ourselves. Once it is understood that valuing oneself without destructive pride leads to a healthy respect for others, the personal pursuit to greatness is that much better. Why? Because that is when we stop looking around us comparing, wasting energy and precious time on what others are doing to focus on what we need or want and how to achieve.
So... the point of this post was really to bring attention to perspective and what we as people, mentors, parents, role models, etc. portray to those looking for guidance.