Girls, I am thrilled you are here for the very first episode of 10 for Tweens!
The other day I read a question that made me pause. It read, “What would you shout from the mountaintops?” I thought about it for a moment, then said, “Girls, you are enough!“
If there is just one thing you remember hearing me say, from this episode or out of any of them, I hope it is this: “You. Are. Enough.”
So why do I think those three words are so important? Well, first, because you are enough! As you are, right now for reals! And second, because pretty soon (or maybe it’s happened already) you’re going to receive messages that make you think “I am not enough” in various ways.
It might happen when you see something, overhear something, read something, or something happens and in your head you think, “I’m not (fill in the blank) enough.”
When you see your grade on a test, you might think I’m not smart enough. OOH
When you’re practicing your instrument, or sport, your routine, your skill, whatever you practice, when you mess up, you might think I’m not talented enough. OUCH
When you try something that scares you, you might think I’m not brave enough. WHOA
When you are left out, you might think I’ll never be cool or popular enough. YEESH
When you challenge yourself and fail you might think I don’t have enough of what it takes. OOF
When you struggle with a family member, you might think I’m not lovable enough. AWW
When you make a mistake or make a wrong choice, you might think I just can’t ever be good enough. HMM.
When you’re watching something — TV, a movie, a video on YouTube or Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok or whatever it is now — you’re watching something, and you might think I’m not pretty enough, not stylish enough, not liked enough, not followed enough, I don’t look-like-her enough, I won’t ever be perfect enough. *sigh*
Here’s the thing: I get those messages, too. In fact, I’ve been receiving messages — I am not enough— since I was your age. For years. So I get it.
Sidenote, the inner dialogue, the voice inside your head, how you think or talk to yourself, that’s called “self-talk.” And when the messages you receive sound like all those not enough examples, that’s negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk usually includes words like not, don’t, won’t, can’t, never, or always (in a bad way). Those are absolutes, broad generalizations. They make you think that something going on in that moment or in the short-term is the way things always are or always will be.
Negative self-talk is a Fixed Mindset that stings deep and personally, and it can creep up in your mind when you least expect it. Negative self-talk sounds like a mean girl bullying you, or a villain discouraging you. It knocks you down and wants you to stay down, so it will play those messages on repeat in your head.
And when you hear the same thing over and over, you’ll start to believe it.
The tricky part is, at some point during your tween years, negative self-talk becomes the default setting, the regular language that you receive these messages. And it’s not because of anything you did, it’s not your fault! But it stinks!
So! How do you get back to believing you are enough? You need a few tools:
First tool: You need to challenge those negative messages by asking yourself these questions:
- Is it really true?
- Would I say it to my best friend?
- How can I reframe it?
Ok, just pause and think, is it really true? Like, do you have actual proof? And if so, then is it true always or just true right now?
Also, would you say it to your best friend? Can you imagine telling your friend the same things you say to yourself with negative self-talk? I’m guessing you wouldn’t, so you shouldn’t talk to yourself that way, either!
Now, how can you reframe that thought? Like reword it so it isn’t so harsh or absolute, or rephrase it from a different perspective, like a Growth Mindset. This isn’t to suppress your emotions, it’s to help you acknowledge your thoughts and feelings from a healthier headspace.
Next tool: You use a new language, a new way of speaking to yourself, a new voice inside your head. This tool is called positive self-talk!
Positive self-talk usually includes words like am, do, will, can, might, or YET. Positive self-talk cheers you on when things are difficult, gives you perspective about something going on that’s temporary, and when you fail it encourages you to keep on trying.
Positive self-talk is a Growth Mindset. It’s a kind girl, best friend voice — and that girl is you talking to yourself! Or it sounds like a hero, and you are your own hero encouraging and supporting yourself.
The tricky part is, positive self-talk takes more effort — it’s learning a new language, a new way of speaking to yourself, a new voice inside your head.
It sounds like, “I am (fill in the blank) enough.”
When you see your grades, you think I am smart enough to work at this. AAH
When you’re practicing and you mess up, you think I am talented enough to keep practicing. OH
When you try something that scares you, you think I am brave enough to try. WHOA
When you are left out, you think I am likable enough. YES
When you challenge yourself and fail, you think I didn’t succeed yet but do have enough of what it takes. OOOH
When you struggle with a family member, you think I am lovable enough. AWW
When you make a mistake, you think I can learn from this and I am good enough. HMM?
When you’re watching something, TV, movie, social media, whatever, you think I am enough, just as I am.
Remember, when you hear the same thing over and over, you’ll start to believe it. So I’ll say it again. You. Are. Enough.
And when your self-talk tells you otherwise, remember these tools:
challenge the negative messages
Practice positive self-talk
You. Are. Enough.
To help you remember that, I created an “I Am Enough” poster for you to print out, personalize, and post on your wall where you’ll see it, and remember it, and believe it — that’s the important part.
Here are few of my favorites that illustrate how you are enough:
You are Special, by Max Lucado
I Wish I Were a Butterfly, by James Howe
I Like Myself, by Karen Beaumont
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
The Peanuts Movie
If you have favorite books or movies to add, I’d love to hear from you! Ask your parent’s permission to share your favs by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.