“Hi, My name is Assa Cisse, a Toronto based lifestyle influencer. My blog, My Curves & Curls aims to inspire and educate women and girls around the world about loving their bodies.” These are the two sentences I use to introduce my blog to brands and other influencers. If someone had told me 20 years ago that I would own a blog that aimed at educating women and girls about self-esteem and confidence, I would have called them crazy. It never even crossed my mind. Why? Because I had low self-esteem growing up, which affected every part of my life. I can share with you hundreds of instances where my low self-esteem held me back from getting ahead. Even though things are much better now, there are still days where everything goes left.
Dove Self-Esteem Project
When Dove asked me to take part in their Self-Esteem Project this year with a girl in my life, I knew this was a campaign I had to be part of. The Dove Self-Esteem Project aims to help change how girls see and feel about themselves. Our self-esteem is tested daily as we navigate our way through social media. We are consistently bombarded with images of perfect bodies, beauty, and hair. It’s crucial now more than ever to teach young women about self-love. Since its creation more than a decade ago, The Dove Self-Esteem Project has helped support mentors, teachers and parents in ensuring the next generation of women grow up with confidence.Workshop-in-a-box Kit
To help shift the script on positive self-image, Dove sent me the Workshop-in-a-box #HourwithHer toolkit. Leading experts believe that one hour talking to a girl about beauty, confidence, and self-esteem can change the way she sees herself for a lifetime. The kit provides educational tools (worksheets, questions, and topics) required to approach difficult conversations.
I was super excited to spend the hour with my niece to facilitate these discussions. She was shy at first but started to open up when I shared with her my self-esteem issues and how I am working to overcome them. To kick things off, I asked her to write about an experience that impacted the way she feels about herself. I know how hard it is for young girls these days because we live in a society that values and strives for perfection.
In the booklet, she mentioned that she struggled a lot with skin (acne) issues and felt like people always stare and make comments. It’s got to a point she refuses to attend a lot of social events at school. This is a reminder that we all play a role in deteriorating our friends’ confidence by making mean comments about their appearance. Her story reminded me of the time in high school when I refused to attend my sports classes because everyone made fun of the fact that I was to fat to run and jump.“She is kind, honest, smart, loveable, powerful and the list goes on…..”
With the Dove Self-Esteem Projects prompts, we talked about different scenarios where she felt uncomfortable. Then, we flipped the script and wrote and spoke about how she could turn similar situations in the future into something positive. I reaffirmed to her that practicing positive affirmation is the best way to help build self-esteem. Her beauty and appearance are not the only things that define her. She is kind, honest, smart, loveable, powerful and the list goes on. Again, positive reaffirmation.
We’ve also touched on other healthy steps I like to use to improve my self-esteem. Those include but not limited to
- Stop comparing myself to others
- Surround myself with positive friends and family
- Learn from my mistakes
- Live life unapologetically
- Accept my imperfections
- Use my voice to build others.
- Embrace the things that make me unique.
- Cut down on social media when I can (even though being on social media is part of my job.
By the end our workshop my niece was undoubtedly not the only person that was left empowered. I was reminded that embracing your inner and outer beauty, lifting others up are the best ways to live life.
Whether you’re bursting with confidence or feeling a little unsure about yourself, the Dove Self-Esteem kit is a great way to start your year or day on a positive note. I invite you to visit Dove.ca and access free at-home workshop materials to practice with friends, family or by yourself. It only takes one hour to change a girl’s life.
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