So this past school year I worked as a kindergarten classroom aide at my district elementary school. I’m leaving this year with so many stories from my kids, and I want to recount part of a conversation that I had with one of my little girls while walking together in the hallway. I have changed portions of the conversation due to privacy.
Her: (whispers) That boy wants to marry [my friend]!
Me: Oh my! Are you going to marry someone?
Her: Nope, never!
Me: Well I bet there are a lot of little boys that like you because you’re super smart, pretty, and you’re nice to all of your friends.
Her: I don’t know about all of that.
Me: What do you mean? You’re such a nice, pretty girl!
Her: Not really.
Me: Do you know what having confidence means?
Me: It means that you believe in yourself and you know how special and beautiful you are!
Me: You have to believe in yourself so you won’t be sad.
It truly broke my heart to hear that my little kindergartener had these feelings of inadequacy. I wanted to cry. She just seemed so doubtful and all I wanted in that moment was for her to understand and realize how special she is, because she is truly a special little girl. Based on what I know about her family background, she is often praised and encouraged at home, so I’m unsure as to what would cause her to have such a negative sense of self and at such a young age! Low self-esteem is plaguing our country and its favorite victims are our little girls.
As much as I tried to build her up and explain the somewhat abstract definition of “confidence” to her, I felt as if I wasn’t really getting through. I realized that no matter how much someone builds you up and tries to instill confidence into you, unless you actually believe it for yourself, it’s virtually pointless. And I get that! I have been complimented on my smile many times by strangers and friends alike; however, due to my own insecurities, I still can’t help notice how imperfect my teeth are every time I look in a mirror or at a photo of myself. I state all of this to say that I can relate to my little girl and that I understand that my telling her how amazing she is won’t entirely wipe away her low self-esteem.
I don’t suspect that any of the people reading this are in kindergarten, but I tell this story because the core message may still resonate with older readers. I charge you to try to see yourself the way that others see you, because odds are, others see you in a much more positive light than you may see yourself. The people that see you in a given day do not notice the things that drive you crazy when you see yourself. Most importantly, God made you! He made you in His perfect image and in His beauty. Try to view yourself through a “God-lens” rather than a “self-lens”. Remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made!