You can be a Self Believer
Advocate Kate tells us why this Future Girl topic is especially important to her
In Future Girl, girls told us they feel pressure to look and act a certain way. School, friends and the media are making it hard for girls to feel good about being themselves.
We want to see a world where girls are more supported and more accepted, so Self Believers is one of our five Future Girl topics.
We asked Advocate Kate, 19, what this topic meant to her and her advice on how we all be Self Believers.
"Being a Self Believer is a really important way of taking care of ourselves, but it is getting harder to do.
With the media and other people always wanting us to look a certain way and like the same things. I want to tell everyone why it’s more important than ever to be ourselves.
I’d say that the first step towards becoming a Self Believer is to think about what’s affecting your confidence, happiness or mental health. Whilst it might not be something we want to think about, once we know what it is, it’s easier to make changes.
For me, being bullied in school was a major barrier for a long time. It took away any confidence I had, broke my resilience and affected my mental health. I never liked to talk about it but the more I have, the easier it has become to tackle it head on.
I now realise these were just other people’s opinions of me and had no real truth in them. But I did begin to feel that I’d never truly fit in anywhere, because of years of being treated badly for not being the same as them. It made me unhappy as I didn’t believe it was acceptable to be myself.
This has affected me and been the main cause of my anxiety, but it no longer limits or defines me. I’ve now been able to become a self-believer despite this. This is why I feel this is the most important Future Girl topic.
Just remember - the thing they want to change or take away from you is what makes you unique, so fight for it and embrace it. If we were all the same life would be boring!
It’ll take time to make these changes and different things will work for everyone, but I know we can all become self-believers. This is the advice I would’ve given my younger self on how to start believing in yourself:
- If there is something that you’re scared of doing - give it a go. Try it little by little and slowly build up, so you no longer need to worry about it.
- Stop worrying about saying the wrong thing. Don’t let other people stop you from speaking up.
- There are people out there that are just like you and one day you will find them.
- Be yourself, be happy in your own clothes, stop hiding your love of musicals, Girlguiding is cool and it’s ok to enjoy learning!
- As you start to do all of these things your resilience will increase and one day you’ll be able to take on anything."
Girls can follow Kate's lead and learn about building resilience and confidence at any age. In Rainbows, girls can try the Healthy mind badge and start learning what makes them feel good. Brownies can develop these skills through the Mindfulness badge. Older girls in Guides can start examining the messages they see in the media by earning their Media critic badge, and Ranger can find what makes them feel good as they learn about Self-care.
Peer educators and volunteers can lead great sessions for girls to talk about self belief, body image and more with our Free Being Me programme on body confidence. Or explore mental wellbeing in a Think Resilient session.