Monday, 25 May 2015

LAURA: BE PART OF THE SOLUTION, NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM!

Reader Laura has a whole lot of wise words to share on the topic of self-esteem…


Laura says:
Broken. It could mean so many things: broken heart, broken friendship, broken family, broken treasures. Or broken self-esteem. We often see or hear people being 'body baggers' - criticising themselves or someone else's body. Whether it's something simple like, 'That colour totes washes her out…' or something bigger like, 'Ew, I'm so ugly! I hate my nose/ hair/ bum. I wish I looked like a supermodel…'

The thing about self-esteem is that it can be squashed so easily, and it is so hard to build it up again. I could say to all of you reading this, 'It doesn't matter what the people who put you down say, because you're better than them and they're just jealous.' That wouldn't be fair, though, because when you are going through this kind of thing it DOES matter to you what people say. Every circumstance is different. You are probably better than them because you're not the bully (yes, it is bullying) but why they are doing it is hard to know. I could say, 'Don't put yourself down, you're beautiful and you DO look exactly like a supermodel,' but would you believe me? You don't like your legs and you'd like her legs, but you're a horse rider and she's a dancer, so things are different. Instead of saying these negative and hurtful things, the things we read in magazines, let's put a fresh spin on things.

1. Don't put yourself down. It causes havoc with your emotional health, so instead, when you're hating (say) your legs, a/ be happy you have working legs and b/ go and exercise, not to be 'skinnier' but to build up strong, healthy legs. This tip works for most parts of your body - arms, hips, belly etc. But if it's your eye colour or something else that can't be changed, then I say suck it up. Learn to love, or at least accept, the things that can't be changed.

2. Don't use 'body bagging' words like fat, ugly, etc. They ruin your self-esteem (and that of others).

3. Never, ever bully someone about how they look. Don't like her clothes but would kill for her eyes? Make sure you tell her you love the colour. It will a/ boost her self-esteem and b/ karma, karma, karma to you!

4. If you see someone being a 'body bagger', step onto the victim's side. Say, 'Hey, come hang out with me, I wanted to ask you something about (whatever)…' This saves the victim from being bullied and it's not confrontational so it won't antagonise the bullies. Being more assertive would of course be the right thing but could get you into trouble… go gently, and instead tell a teacher about what's happening. Ask to stay anonymous if the bullies get pulled up.


5. Don't compare yourself to super-famous people - a/ they have personal trainers and money and all the time in the world, yadda, yadda, yadda which is a long way from the real world, and b/ they probably haven't eaten a French fry for 100 years because their trainer has them on an all-lettuce-leaf eating plan to be a size zero. Instead, find healthy and inspiring role models from your own community.

6. Don't diet. There's a difference between a healthy lifestyle and a diet. Eat when you're hungry, eat 'treat' food sometimes and exercise. Exercise is best when it's a/ with your buds or b/ when you're doing something you L.O.V.E.

Don't be a 'body bagger' to yourself or anyone else - and help to set up a world free of broken self-esteem. Let's be part of the solution, not part of the problem!

Pic posed by model Caitlin.

Cathy says:
I LOVE Laura's feature… spot on. Are you ready to start being a little kinder - to yourself, and to others? COMMENT BELOW to share your views!

13 comments:

  1. Mistake:

    In the second paragraph, second-last line, it's supposed to say 'the' things we read in magazines, not the'y' things we read in magazines.

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    1. Good pickup! It is just like what I was trying to say in the piece- nobody's perfect!

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  2. I definitely agree with this. I'm surrounded by girls who skip lunch because they think they're fat, and girls who make mean comments about others because they look nice. I know that none of us are perfect, but can't we just find one thing we're happy with? I've learnt to think about my good points rather than my bad, but the same can't be said for others. When people talk about my appearance, they're either complaining because I'm thin(not that they'd want to be underweight) or complaining because I wear what I want. I am trying to help more when I hear "body bagging" in school...I'm not too confrontational, I just say "I'm not sure you should be saying that" or something similar.

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    1. Wow Caitlin, it's so good you can recognise this negative behaviour! It shows that you're a really positive person who accepts herself. You should be proud- because, as you know, it can be hard to get caught up in the vicious cycle of 'body bagging,' And you're right, again, in saying what you do. You can be a positive role model/influence to other girls but you can't change what anyone else thinks. All you can do is control yourself. Good on you! I'm so happy someone is making a change- all it takes is one person to be happy in themselves to be a flow on effect. Keep up the positive attitude! Laura x

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    2. Thank you, Laura! You've made my day with that:D

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  3. Wow so true I have recently started doing even more exercise to look good for summer but I don't know why I am doing this. I have never done this before and once I start exercising I can't stop but I'm happy with the way I am but others don't agree and say things that I take too personally.

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    1. I'm glad you could relate to the piece! If they're bullying you, you need to put a stop to it right away by telling someone. If you are exercising for you and you enjoy it, try not to let the bullies get you down. They're a waste of energy. But make sure you're exercising for the right reasons. We can't all be supermodel thin and we've got to accept ourselves, because there is (believe it or not!) something to love about ourselves. Whether it be physically or something inside us. Maybe talk to the people making negative comments and tell them you're don't like what they're saying. It's not that you're taking it "too personally" they're being rude. All the best! Laura x

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  4. Changing the way you look, or act, is fine but it should be about you, and not other people.
    I used to get teased at school, and really regret that I let that change me. Once I was proud of being myself, but I thought I had to change to make people like me... it didn't work, and I feel like I lost too much of who I was. I wish now that I'd just ignored the bullies and stayed true to myself, I've lost a lot of confidence and I think it'll be a long time before I feel ready to be me again; I got into the habit of keeping my head down, and I don't know how to go back from that.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear the bullies got to you. It can be so hard- I've been there too. But you have to reach out to people to support you- don't be afraid. It helps so much! All the best, Laura x

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  5. 'Body baggers' often project their own thoughts and feelings onto others, so they are probably venting their own insecurities by picking on something about you they are jealous of.

    But there's a line between this kind of 'negative complimenting' and bullying. If you don't like what's being said to you or someone else, make sure you tell someone who will support you and help you to make it stop.

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    1. This is so true. Plus a good tip! That is exactly what I was trying to say in the piece- don't let the bullies get you'd own. Reach out for support! Laura x

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  6. How do we contribute articles to this blog? I wanted to, but couldn't do so

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    1. Email me via the 'email cathy' link on my website, www.cathycassidy.com or message me on the facebook fanpage xxx

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