Self-Worth is Worth It!

Guest Contributor: Sarah Imarata

I am a leader in the corporate world. I participate in advocacy groups and social platforms to help women every day grow to be successful, to know their worth in the corporate world.  I have realized that this concept of worth should not be silo’d for professional success.  This is about self-worth PERIOD.  And is not limited to your day job.  And where does self-worth truly begin?  Not when you are 38, nope.  But in those key developmental years and it continues as you grow.
I am also a mother of a creative, beautiful, smart young lady who is 10 years old.  If you would have told me 5 years ago the social issues she would bring home, I would not have believed you.   Perhaps it is the rise in social media and the “selfie” generation – but it seems to me, her concerns are so different than what I was worried about at her age (getting shoes with lights in them, ballet recitals, going to a sleepover, trying not to do chores).

I went to get her off the bus the other day.  She came flying into my arms with tears pouring down her cheeks.  She made the statement, “I just can’t take it Mom”.  Those words would strike fear in any parent’s heart.  When I asked what happened she went through a list of things that happened that day:
-          One of my friends pretended not to be my friend anymore
-          The boy who I like won’t talk to me
-          One of my friends (who is a boy) laid his head on me and I didn’t want him too
-          Some of my friends were talking about me and yelled at me when I wanted to know what they were saying
-          My friend is mad at me because I spent all day with another friend this weekend
-          One of the boys on the bus kept saying the N word
-          Someone told me I was poor

I can actually keep going.  She was devastated about all these things.  And you know what, she felt like ALL these things were her fault.  I realized her self-confidence was crumbling before my very eyes.  I have been failing her and as a Mom, as a Woman, as a Leader, I CANNOT let this happen. 
My daughter loves to watch makeup videos.  And without knowledge of editing or filtering, or $8K worth of foundation and pallets, she doesn’t understand that some of this outer beauty is completely unattainable.  As much as I commend our YouTubers for going out and doing their thing, it is so important for our girls to understand that they are good enough and they shouldn’t look to someone else to define their beauty.  
Ashley Graham is a plus size model.  But not just a model, a role model.  She recognizes that beauty comes from within…and she uses her platform to make sure that the world hears this.  She has a daily affirmation that she welcomes everyone to use. 

-          I am Bold

-          I am Brilliant

-          I am Beautiful

After I got my daughter off the bus, we came home and sat on the bed.  I let her cry in my arms.  When she was finished I took both of her hands and asked her to look at me.  I told her I understood why all these things must have made her feel bad, but I needed her to understand that none of these actions were her fault or define her.  She nodded her head but when I asked her, “do you know what I mean?”, she really didn’t.  It is not enough to say this; our kids need to understand it.  I told her that inside of you is something called self-worth.  And the only person who creates it or defines it is YOU.  And self-worth is feeling happy about yourself and the human being you are.  And I asked her a rhetorical question – what type of human being are you?  I then answered…

-          You are Bold

-          You are Brilliant

-          You are Beautiful

-           I added one…You are a QUEEN
And I made her repeat after me.  She did softly.  No baby girl.  Loudly.  I AM BOLD, I AM BRILLIANT, I AM BEAUTIFUL, I AM A QUEEN!  We did this repeatedly until we were jumping up and down on the bed screaming it at the top of our lungs – with joy and laughter wrapping around us like a warm blanket.

When we were done, we collapsed on the bed and I asked her how she felt.  And she said she felt great because she knows she is all those things.  We are going to repeat those words of affirmation every day together.  And she will remember that when her “friends” act this way, or do something that makes her feel uncomfortable…you have every right to ask them to stop or ask an adult for help.  Because you are worth it and deserve to feel that way every second of every day.  And anyone who compromises that, should not be in your life.
To all our young readers:  There have been so many blogs about self-worth, self-image, self-esteem…but there is a reason.  It is the most important part of our makeup…because you are worth it and you need to take the strides to understand and know you are worth it.
To our parent and guardian readers:  Help our young bloods understand their worth.  Nurture it and help it bloom.