Hey girls! I am BEYOND excited you are here for the VERY FIRST episode of 10 for Teens!! I’m Stephanie Valdez, I’m a mother, girls mentor, former journalist, and founder of Empowerful Girls — which I created to reinforce teen and tween girls’ self-esteem. Six months ago I launched the 10 for Tweens podcast and have been eagerly planning to launch THIS podcast, 10 for Teens!
I chose to separate the Tweens and Teens podcasts because, while a topic (ie. friendship struggles) can be relevant to girls of all ages, how it applies to a girl who’s nine will be different than a girl who’s 15. While the message will be similar, I want to talk with you at your level of understanding. So let’s go!
Hypothetically, what idea do you believe so deeply, that if you knew people were listening to you, you would feel compelled to tell them? If you had the chance to share a message with your entire school, your country, the world even, holding their attention for a moment, what would you say?
If you only remember one thing I say, from this episode or out of any of them, I want it to be this: “YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.”
Exactly as you are, right now! And you’ve always been enough. 100%.
However, when I said, “You are enough,” some of you automatically started doubting it. Because for years you’ve been receiving messages–bold faced lies–that flat out tell you that you are not enough in various ways.
It happens when you see something, overhear something, read something, or something happens and this voice in your head whispers, “You are not enough.”
I want to illustrate the types of things that says, but remember, these are lies:
- When you see your grade on an exam, You are not smart enough. OOH
- When you try something that scares you You are not brave enough. WHOA
- When you’re practicing your instrument, or sport, your routine, your skill and you mess up, You are not talented enough. OUCH
- When you’re left out, You will never be cool or popular enough. YEESH
- When you challenge yourself and fail, You don’t have enough of what it takes. OOF
- When you struggle with a family member, You are not lovable enough. OHH
- When you make a mistake or wrong choice, You can’t ever be good enough. HMM.
- When you’re seeing something on a show, YouTube, Insta, Snapchat, TikTok or whatever’s next, you’re watching something, You are not pretty enough, not stylish enough, not liked enough, not followed enough, you don’t look-like-her enough, you won’t ever be perfect enough … *deep breath*
I know this voice really well — can you tell? — I get those messages, too. In fact, I’ve been receiving messages —that I am not enough— since I was your age. For years. So I get it.
Those thoughts are hard to deal with.
The voice inside your head (your inner dialogue, 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, they are broad generalizations, like 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.
It knocks you down and wants you to stay down, so then it will play those negative self-talk 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, negative self-talk becomes the default setting, the regular language that you receive messages.
So! How do you get back to believing and knowing YOU ARE ENOUGH? You need a few Tools:
First tool: you need to challenge those negative messages by asking yourself these three questions:
- Is it really true? Pause and think, like really? Do you have actual proof? And if you do, then is it true always or just right now?
- 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, and I don’t imagine your best friend would say those things to you, so … Do you think you should talk to yourself that way?
- How can I reframe that thought? Like reword it so it isn’t so harsh or absolute. Rephrase it from a different perspective, like a Growth Mindset. And this isn’t to suppress your emotions, it’s to help you acknowledge your thoughts and feelings from a better headspace.
Which leads me to the second tool. After challenging the negative self-talk with those three questions, you’ve gotta use a new language, a new way of speaking to yourself, a new voice inside your head.
This tool is called … POSITIVE self-talk! And you know how negative and positive are opposites? That means positive self-talk says the opposite of what negative self-talk says!
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, because you will at times, it encourages you to keep on trying.
The tricky part here 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 says, “I am enough.”
- When you see your grades, I am smart enough to work at this. AAH
- When you’re practicing and you mess up, I am talented enough to keep practicing. OH
- When you try something that scares you, I am brave enough to try. WHOA
- When you are left out, I am likable enough. YES
- When you challenge yourself and fail, I didn’t succeed yet but do have enough of what it takes. OOOH
- When you struggle with a family member, I am lovable enough. AWW
- When you make a mistake, I can learn from this and I am good enough. HMM?
- When you’re watching a show or scrolling through social media, I am enough, just as I am.
Because you are. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Remember, when you hear the same thing over and over, you’ll start to believe it. So I’ll say it again.
And when your self-talk tells you otherwise, remember these tools: challenge the negative messages, and then practice positive self-talk.
To help you remember, I created an “I Am Enough” poster for you to print out, personalize, and post on your wall where you’ll see it, remember it, practice it, and believe it — that’s the important part.
A few books that emphasize that You Are Enough are
The Confidence Code For Girls, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens, by Katie Hurley
Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthall
Some movies that show this are the live-action “Alice in Wonderland,” “Troop Zero,” and “Wonder.” (that book is great, too)