Reaching For The Gold

a gymnastWhile watching the Olympic athletes perform their routines this week, several thoughts went through my head. My first thought was, “Geez, they make it look so easy” followed by, “Are you kidding, it takes hours and hours of practice to perform at that level.” It occurred to me that all of these athletes whether they were male or female, black or white, born in China, Russia, the USA or another foreign country, had something in common. Aside from being an inspiration to others, all of these fine athletes believed that they could accomplish great things. They believed in themselves and even when they didn’t finish at the best time or they didn’t have the best routine on the balance beam, they held their heads high, and continued to compete. I believe the lesson here for all of us is that having good self-esteem and confidence in your own abilities is key to being successful at many things.

As a parent and a mentor of young women, I dream about a universe where all young people have a positive body image and good self-esteem. Good self-esteem is important for everyone because it helps you keep a positive outlook on life and makes you feel proud of the person you are, both inside and out. Most teens with good self-esteem find life much more enjoyable. They tend to have better relationships with peers and adults, find it easier to deal with mistakes or disappointment, and are more likely to stick with a task until they succeed. Not all of you have the genetics to become gold medalists but you all have the potential for accomplishing great things. You can be great at advocating for others, great at starting a recycling project in your neighborhood, great at raising awareness about violence prevention; you may even be a great athlete too.

Having good self-esteem gives you the courage to try new things, the power to believe in yourself, and the confidence to make healthy choices for your mind and body now and throughout your life. Building a healthy body image and good self-esteem can be hard work because it takes time to become confident. But as you work to improve your body image, you will experience self-acceptance and learn to recognize the qualities, skills, and talents that make you special. Check out our newest health guide about self-esteem to learn more about self-esteem and ways you can create it. You’ve got the power!

– Phaedra