The Power of Affirmation for School Age Girls

af·firm·a·tion

/ˌafərˈmāSH(ə)n/

noun

  1.  The act of affirming or the state of being affirmed; assertion.
  2.  Something declared to be true; a positive statement or judgment.
  3.  A statement intended to provide encouragement, emotional support, or motivation.
  4.  Law; The assertion that the testimony one gives is true and equivalent to that which
  5.  would be given while under oath.

I was often told throughout middle and high school that I was a good writer. There were a few times when I turned in assignments, papers, or essays and later cringed as a teacher read my work aloud to a class of unexpecting teenagers. After all, writing the perfect essay didn’t exactly win me any cool points or make me any more interesting to the cute boy I had a crush on. Still, even with awkward impromptu readings, those constant affirmations brought me into a position of belief. After hearing this repeatedly, I believed it, and my passion became validated with affirmation. Then all I had to do was step into what I believed, and those words laid the foundation for me to step on.

Affirmation comes in two different ways. It comes through what other people tell us about ourselves, and it comes through what we personally say to ourselves about who we are. Although I experienced positive affirmation from an outside source, it wouldn’t have done any good if I disagreed with it inwardly and told myself that I wasn’t good enough.

At one time, my little girl was being teased at school. When she told me this, it brought me back to the awkward grade-school phase that I went through. Those were days when my classmates and peers would make it painfully obvious that they could see I was extra-skinny and that my face had its own map of bumpy roads. I searched my brain trying to think of what I needed at that age to make me a little more confident and a little stronger. It came to me that all I really needed was to believe otherwise. I needed to understand not to hang my value on other people’s opinions. I needed to affirm myself in a way that made me feel valuable. I needed to tell myself a different story.

It seems like a lot to put on little ones, but this skill, if learned early, will save them a lot of unlearning and undoing in the future. We are in an age of comparison, where even adults find it hard to catch our footing. We need quiet spaces and places to get grounded without the infiltration of societal pressures. That place is inside of ourselves. We decorate that place by planting seeds of positive words and letting them grow to be big, strong trees with deep and sturdy roots.

We can help the kids in our lives to plant their inner gardens by giving them words of affirmation, always being encouraging, and letting them know that they are special and loved. They are listening and digesting it, even if they don’t appear to be. Being that sound support of voiced love, we give them their own language to speak to themselves. Guide your child in the mornings, before school, with what to say. She can repeat after you. Before you know it, she’ll have her affirmations memorized, and it’ll just be a way of life and an optimistic routine that lays the foundation for her to stand on.

I started with some pretty simple ones for my little lady after her situation with school teasing.

I am loved.

I am valuable.

I am kind.

I am strong.

I am loving.

I work hard, and I can do hard things.

I am joyful.

I am beautiful inside and out.

There is no one quite like me.

Have fun with it and be creative. Switch it up when needed. Write the affirmations down on cute sticky notes. Keep the call-and-response theme, if that works better. It’s all up to you. Doing this really helped my daughter to be more positive and self-reflecting and to make decisions for herself. I hope that your girls, and all the children in the world, will find their power and their joy inside of themselves and see themselves in the positive light that they speak.

***Originally published on MemphisParent.com and in Memphis Parent Magazine***

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