|8 Keys to Improving Self-esteem for Teenage Girls|
|Written by Dr Linda Miles|
Experts on facial expressions are not fooled by the big smiles of teen-age girls. It is evident when a girl is truly happy inside, because she has a “Duchienne smile.” With this smile the involuntary muscles around the eyes are wrinkled. And those muscles do not lie.
On the other hand, fake, superficial smiles reveal a smiling mouth only, there is no twinkle and not a wrinkle. Looking at many of the photos in today's magazines where the models often reveal fake smiles with sad eyes. BUT, this is not what teen girls notice. They focus on the perfect figure, airbrushed skin, hair and slick image. Then, unfortunately, they want to emulate that MYTH of happiness.
Dr. Linda Miles has spent over thirty years as a psychotherapist dealing with such issues. In addition she has discussed this subject numerous times on national radio and television. She has a passion for helping girls and women "de-program the myths" of our beauty queen culture.
Mother Theresa wrote our best protection is a joyful heart. Ironically, research shows that teen-age girls laugh more around boys than with one another. Too many girls buy the "Cinderella fairytale" that they need the perfect Prince to be happy.
Girls need help to ask the questions and find the answers to- Who am I? and Why am I here? They need help and understanding as they discover their gifts and talents, and learn to share them with the world. While adolescence forces pull them toward following peers, they need help to learn how to be their own leader who follows their internal values.
Girls decide they are worthless for many reasons, some are - comparison games, childhood traumas such as sexual abuse, the cultural beauty queen trance, or abandonment. Many young women that Dr. Miles has worked with decided they were worthless when their fathers left the family, their mothers were overly critical, they had a more beautiful sister, etc. It is important to re-trace when each girl first decided she was worthless and work on healing that lie. They need to see how they made this decision and why they developed false selves and made that real.
Top of Form TBottom of Fhere are huge changes in the adolescent brain as information it does not need is pruned and other connections are strengthened. The brain does not fully mature until we are in our twenties leaving teens with too much acceleration and not enough brakes!
Dr. Miles has young women visualize their ideal life. Using a practice of meditation to relax and connect with the inner self to affirm what each girl wants, she has the girl focus on development of neural pathways toward high self-esteem. The unconscious mind is filled with negative thoughts. Many girls have few models of confident women who live with a higher purpose. A famous neuroscientist once observed, "In the brain practice makes perfect."
Since the brain does not fully mature until age 23, teens are drawn to high levels of stimulation, yet lack the experience to deal with life situations. We need classes like Life 101 or Relationships 101! Instead, we spend more time teaching our children how to drive a car than how to have healthy relationships and lives!
Dr. Miles has girls ask themselves what is real in the present moment. She recalls wasting hours wishing she was having a good hair day! The fact is that her hair was not going to change unless she cut it off during Home Economics.
Young girls need to develop a spiritual practice to focus them on the forces greater than themselves. Readings , prayer, meditation can be done alone or shared.
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