By: Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor
Katy Perry's most recent anthem, "Roar" celebrating the power of healthy self-worth and self-expression, has certainly set the tone for the work of women and young girls around the world committed to empowering one another. This week Dove beauty joins in on the mission with its Fourth Annual Self-Esteem Weekend (Oct. 4-6), challenging girls to see themselves and others as #girlsunstoppable."
Dove has a history of asking women (and men) to critically question their perceptions of beauty, both in terms of their individual conceptions and the ones packaged and sold by the beauty industry, which Dove is firmly entrenched in. Their Dove Campaign for Real Beauty series has produced provocative ad-shorts that have elevated the conversation around body image, beauty standards, self-esteem, and self-love. For this Self-Esteem Weekend Dove has made a promise to impact fifteen million lives with self-esteem programming by the end of 2015. The campaign kicked off with a gathering at the top of one of the most iconic and powerful buildings in the world: New York City's Empire State Building. Journalist and television host Katie Couric joined girls from Girls Inc, the Girls and Boys Club of America, and the Girl Scouts of America in a celebration that included throwing the switch to light up the building. Over the course of the following days, other buildings across the nation will light up in support and to symbolize this year's theme as lighting the way for girls and women to be "unstoppable."
Image from badassboys.com
This campaign is, of course, near and dear to our own #unstoppable, #beautyFULL IATG hearts. The more we can do to raise awareness about changing the triggers of low self-esteem, to help girls express themselves in order to own their awesome, and to work together to equip girls with the tools to living fulfilling, successful, happy, healthy lives the closer we are to writing brighter futures for women around the world. Feel slightly amazing? Yes. Feel slightly daunting? Yes again. That's why it's important to remember that change starts right on your own turf, closer than your own backyard, right in the comfy pockets of your own heart. Five ways YOU can unleash your inner #girlunstoppable:
Be Kind: To yourself and others. Kindness counts, it matters more than you can ever even imagine. Even the smallest gesture: holding the door for someone, making eye contact and smiling, introducing yourself to a new student or new girl on your floor, can alter lives forever. It's doubly important to treat yourself with the compassion you would treat others. Let yourself off the hook, talk to yourself gently, put a Hello Kitty band-aide on your heart when you need to.
Laugh Out Loud: Especially at yourself. Laughter is infections and has known, proven health and well-being benefits. It also puts others at ease and sends the message that you are accessible, approachable. Also, did I mention it feels AMAZING? The ability to giggle at situations that might be viewed as embarrassing or socially awkward builds resilience and let's YOU know you can handle life's periodic curve and fastballs.
Count Your Gold Stars: When I was a kid ten thousand years ago, my elementary school teachers kept track of achievements by placing little, beautiful, shiny precious, foil gold stars next to your name. In retrospect, this was probably not the healthiest way to reward advancement. But! It is an important reminder that you need to take note of those personal gold stars, to literally tell yourself "I'm smart," "I'm beautyFULL," "I'm a great friend," "I am awesome at music, soccer, coding, photography, insert your "thang" of choice here." Make yourself feel as shiny as that little sticky piece of gold paper.
Find Your Fearless Tribe: Support, community, connection these are fundamental parts of a healthy human experience. Find people who lift you up, who encourage and energize you, make time for friends that have your back, and BE that friend who goes the distance for others in her fearless tribe.
NO is the New YES: Self-esteem expert Jess Weiner points out that a woman's ability to set and protect her boundaries has a direct impact on her sense of self-worth and also makes her a great example for others. In an article for Glamour, Weiner says "The women I know who have the most consistent sense of high self-esteem are the women who value their own time. They protect their downtime, they explore areas of interest that make them curious, and they are unafraid to say no. We spend so much time in our lives doing things we don't want to do: dinners, coffees, brunches—with people we don't really fill up on. It's OK to say NO." When you put yourself and your needs first in that sense, you are sending the message that you value, love, and respect your energy reserves. And nurturing your "NO" will leave you with the kind of time, energy, and focus you want to devote to your friends, family, work, or activities later on. Win!
For more on Dove's self-esteem movement, including corporate sponsors and ways to get involved in initiatives in your community, click here. We want to know: how are you part of the #girlsunstoppable movement? What do you do to boost your self-esteem and show the world that you're worth your worth? Tell us here and help inspire others!