Bright Pink Lipstick by Laura

I love myself.  I speak these words, out loud, each morning.  In fact, a few months ago I wrote on my bathroom mirror “I (heart) Me!” in bright pink lipstick.  Research has shown that the majority of our self-talk is negative and therefore, is working against us rather than for us (Helmstetter, 1982; Stranulis & Manning, 2002).  Consequently, positive energy and positive self-talk must begin with you. It is imperative to retrain your brain to be your best friend. The critical choir in your head that you have permitted to perform… kick them out now! Drop the mic and draw the curtain.  

Self-care is not selfish. It’s love. Love for oneself.  After surviving years of abuse as a child and calling myself “a stupid, fat, ugly idiot”, I have learned that, in reality, I am none of those things. I am kind, compassionate, smart, and worthy of every single breath I take.  If you become what you speak, then you must choose words of love and kindness and repeat them out loud. Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span

  • Lower rates of depression

  • Lower levels of distress

  • Greater resistance to the common cold

  • Better psychological and physical well-being

  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease

  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Begin tomorrow and wake up to love yourself.  Make it a part of your routine just like brushing your teeth. Soon, this new pattern of empowering self-talk will extend throughout the rest of your day.

I really love myself and am reminded of that each morning when I look in my mirror.  Thanks to a little help from my bright pink lipstick.

 Laura Gray is a proud mom of three sons and three dogs. She is the Founder/Executive Director of  IPride , a self-esteem program for youth based on meditation, mindfulness, fitness and creative expression. Additionally, she is a published author and certified personal trainer and lives by the mantra "Who can I help today?"

Laura Gray is a proud mom of three sons and three dogs. She is the Founder/Executive Director of IPride, a self-esteem program for youth based on meditation, mindfulness, fitness and creative expression. Additionally, she is a published author and certified personal trainer and lives by the mantra "Who can I help today?"

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Staying True to Yourself in a Relationship by Emily

New relationships are exciting, fun, and eye-opening. Whether you have found yourself in a new relationship with a friend or a significant other, change occurs. I love meeting new people and sharing life with them. However, I notice that when I start a new romantic relationship I tend to dedicate all of my free time to that person. I live life like I am on vacation and don’t have a care in the world other than to get to know more and more about this person.

But, when does it get to be too much or go too far?

For some people realizing this is easy and they fix it or get out. For others, like myself, I become attached and have a hard time leaving the toxic relationship. I try to work hard and fix it before aborting the relationship all together.

I was in a relationship with my now ex-boyfriend for four years, three of which were “unhealthy.” Emotional, mental, and verbal abuse can take a toll on a person and once you are out of the toxic relationship you realize the things that both parties did wrong. It takes two people to be in a relationship and I take responsibility for letting myself fall into unhealthy habits. That is the first step in moving forward.

The scary part is I didn’t even realize it at first.

My best friends noticed the red flags that I was blinded to because I was head over heels for this guy. I began spending more time at his place then my own, I would ditch plans with my friends to hang out with him, I would do whatever he wanted to do so that we would be together, and I would switch my class and work schedule to align with his. Did you notice the repetition in the last sentence? I say continuously that I would be the one changing my life to accommodate to his. I became too available to him and lost friendships in the process. I became dependent of him.  I let him walk all over me and it wasn’t until I tried to push back and do things for myself that I realized it.

Next came the emotional, mental, and verbal abusive part.

The relationship was an emotional roller coaster of good and bad times. He would deny all cheating claims and tell me that I was crazy or it was my fault for finding out the things he did. One minute he told me he loved me and the next he was done and never wanted to talk again. He would get angry at me for everything; I was scared because I never knew the type of person I would get. If I called he was mad and if I didn’t he would still be mad. Time and time again he put me, my dreams, and my jobs down; tearing all confidence I once had. I went back to him after he cheated on me (silly me) and then found out he was even dating someone else in a different state while dating me. I was oblivious to the truth because I was “in love.” Looking back, I wasn’t in love with him or how he treated me; I was in love with the idea of who he once was.  Every time I was one step out the door he would reel me back in with his smooth words. It was harder to get out of this relationship than I thought it would be. When I chose to move and start a new career that didn’t involve me following him, he became outraged and lashed out at me. With time I finally got out and could look back at the relationship. I had time to focus on getting myself back to who I was; a strong, independent woman. I was able to see what I wanted and didn’t want in a relationship, what I deserved, and most importantly how to stay true to myself during it all. I let a relationship change me rather than allowing myself to grow for the better.

While finding myself again I came up with a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” for the future. I hope this helps anyone that may be going through a similar situation.

Dos and Don’ts

Do

1. Keep to your normal routine

It is easy to change your routine to match someone else but you have to keep to the one you had when you meet. This allows you to continue to do the things that make you happy. It gives you time to be alone and independent. It allows you to continue to love yourself and remind yourself of who you are. Love yourself first and remind yourself everyday of why you do.

2. Stick to your dreams and goals

Writing down goals and dreams and checking them off when accomplished is such a rewarding feeling. In a relationship you can have dreams and goals together but it is also important have dreams and goals for yourself. Complete these goals even if it requires you to move, change jobs, or scenery.  Do this for yourself.

3. Have friends and family time

The people in your life will respect your relationship and need for time with your significant other but don’t blow them off. Stick to your plans with family and friends and make sure you give yourself time with them. These people are your support system and they will always be there for you before, during, and after a relationship.

4. Ownership of your choices

It is easy to let other people weigh in on the decisions you make. However, it is your life and you only get one. Make the choices that you want so that you can enjoy it. During and after a relationship own up to the decisions made so that you can learn and grow from them, move on, and make new choices to better yourself at the end of the day.

5. Communication is Key

During a relationship don’t be afraid to speak up and talk about the things that are and are not working. This will create less tension and fights at the end of the day. Be honest and upfront with your feelings. After a relationship ends don’t be afraid to speak out and receive professional help if you need it. Then, when you are in another relationship be upfront about the things you have experienced and what you are looking for.

Don’t

1. Don’t ignore friends/ family input

When we are in relationships it’s easy to be blinded about red flag situations. Family and friends close to you are usually the first to see it. Listen to them and try to look at situations from different perspectives. Most importantly, trust your intuition.

2. Don’t be too available

You are your own person and have your own plans. Do not drop everything just because that person says to. This sometimes leads to people getting walked all over and then becoming dependent on that person. Stay true to yourself; stay just as independent as you were before you met them. If you become too dependent on a person and that relationship ends it could leave you feeling more lost than before.

3. Don’t think you are alone

Everyone goes through relationships, relationship problems, and much more. Family, friends, professional therapists, peers, are all around you willing to lend a shoulder or listening ear if you allow yourself to be open to it.

4. Don’t compare relationships

No relationship is the same. There is no specific time-line or steps that each one must follow. Allow each one to be new and if something occurs that may have happened in a past relationship use what your learned in your past to help improve the future of the one you are in now.

5. Don’t let it define you

You are you with or without a relationship. You are a whole person; they are not making up your other half. Do not let the relationship, events, or person change you into someone you don’t even recognize. Every relationship is a learning experience and whether you come out of it heartbroken, single, engaged, or wondering why you didn’t end it sooner there is a lesson in it. Once you understand the lesson learned you will be able grow into a person that doesn’t lose herself in a relationship.

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Friends are Priceless by Shayna Fischer/ Girl Scouts of NEO

“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold…” This famous Girl Scout song compares friendship to precious metals, but I would argue that true friends are priceless. My name is Shayna and I work for Girl Scouts of North East Ohio. I was a Girl Scout during my grade school years and came full circle after college by working to support Girl Scout volunteers in my professional career. Why am I so passionate about Girl Scouts, you ask? Not only did it instill in me the qualities of “courage, confidence, and character,” it also connected me with my very best friend!

In sixth grade, I remember spending time with my troop at camp sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows and singing songs. The girl to my left was singing as loudly and off-key as I was… she was new to my school, and I liked her immediately. We started talking about our passions- we both loved reading and dogs, and were joining the marching band! Before we knew it, we were two peas in a pod. Sixteen years later, that same girl will be singing (loudly and off-key, of course) at my wedding in a few months. Through the ups and downs of life, I know that our friendship is priceless.

According to the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) article Friendship Really is Magic, there are studies indicating that when a girl has a friend by her side:

  • physical obstacles seem smaller and less daunting 

  • she’s motivated to work harder and aim higher

  • the transition to middle school goes a lot more smoothly

  • her stress levels go down and her general health improves

  • and physical or emotional pain feels a bit more manageable.

Doesn’t that sound priceless? So, in a world where people can have thousands of “friends” on social media but still feel lonely in real-life, what steps can you take to ensure that your daughter makes quality friends? As a parent, there are many ways you can help your girl cultivate strong relationships and point her in the right social direction.

Practice Icebreakers

If your girl tends to be on the shy side, or struggles to make new friends, try working with her to roleplay social scenarios she might encounter. “Come up with real-life situations she might be confronted with,” suggests Girl Scouts Developmental Psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “If they are in the lunch line together, how can she start a conversation? Asking about pets, commenting on the other girl’s shirt (‘I like giraffes, too!’), or even a simple, ‘Want to play?’ can open the door to new friendships.” Practice how she can give sincere compliments or offer to share something- the more she makes these gestures, the more opportunities she’s creating to expand her circle of friends.

A fun way to bond with your girl could be to tell her the stories of how you met some of your close friends that she knows. Were you roommates in college? Did you meet on the volleyball team back in high school? Showing your girl that you went through the same “getting-to-know-you” phase- and ended up with lasting friendships- will help her feel more confident in her abilities. For more great examples of ways to break the ice, check out the article Making Friends: 7 Simple Icebreakers Even Shy Girls Will Love.

Set a Good Example

You know your daughter looks up to you, so make an effort to model positive interactions with your own friends. When you have disagreements, think about what your daughter sees- set a good example by listening without judgement and making a sincere apology if you were in the wrong. The GSUSA article Help Her Find Her Girl Squad states, “Believe it or not, your behavior can have a big impact on your daughter’s budding social life. By being a good listener and supporter to the friends in your life (and explaining why those are great qualities in a friend), she’ll be set up to be a superstar buddy.” Be sure to treat your own friends with respect at all times, and your girl will pick up on these cues. The best way to teach her to be a good friend is by showing her what a good friend YOU are. As a bonus, your own friendships will reap the benefits of these conscious efforts!

Provide an Opportunity

Yes, your girl can make friends at school, but think about expanding her social circle by signing up for a dance class, sports team, library program… or maybe even a Girl Scout troop. “Introduce her to a host of different activities,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “Not only is it a great way to try new things, but it can help your daughter form friendships with children who share her interests.” The key word here is interests- be sure to listen to what activities spark your daughter’s attention and let her try them out!

When you’re able to, try saying “yes” to driving a carpool, hosting a slumber party, or taking your girl to a group play date. The extra effort will be worth it, as it is an investment in her happiness and overall wellbeing.

In case anyone was wondering, the song I mentioned back in the first sentence ends with “a circle’s round, it has no end, that’s how long I want to be your friend!” I wish you and your daughters many priceless friendships.

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Shayna Fischer

Volunteer Relations Coordinator, Girl Scouts of North East Ohio

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I Am 1 In 10 Are You? The Strength I've Gained from Endometriosis by Angelica

I am Empowered and Poised through my Strength

“My strength did not come from lifting weights. My strength came from lifting myself up when I was knocked down”.

This quote could not be truer. I am 1 in 10 women who have Endometriosis. Some women may not even know about the disease so before I share my story I will share a few quick facts about endo (endometriosis for short).

  1. It’s an incurable disease

  2. 1 in 10 women suffer from the disease

  3. It takes an average of 10 years for a woman to be diagnosed

  4. It can only be diagnosed through surgery

  5. Causes infertility, painful sex, bowel problems, chronic headaches or migraines and severe cramps during menstruation

Those are just a few of the quick things I tell women who don’t know much about endometriosis. A more in depth explanation of the disease is endometriosis is a condition that causes the uterine lining to develop outside of the uterus. This means each month you have your menstrual cycle the lining doesn’t shed and gets stuck on organs it shouldn’t, mostly the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Some women develop uterine lining on their other organs too. Endometriosis is a disease that shouldn’t be taken lightly but for some reason many gynecologists aren’t educating young women on the symptoms, so they can prevent being in crippling pain.

I was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis and a five-centimeter endometrioma two years ago. For years I would have periods that would cause me to miss work, get sick and lay in a fetal position for days on end. Finally, after a lot of encouraging from my boyfriend at the time (now husband) I went to my gynecologist and asked him why I had been hurting so bad. The cycle of going through the pain was just getting to a point where I needed to find answers. Two weeks after meeting my doctor I was laying in a hospital bed getting ready to have my first laparoscopy. I was so scared and didn’t know what the results would yield. I was told surgery would take two hours, but it ended up taking four. I had such severe endometriosis they couldn’t get all the built up lining out. I was also told my left ovary and tube couldn’t be located and I’d have to have another surgery. Two days after my surgery I began my period. I have never felt pain like I did from healing from a scope going through my belly button and robotics being used to get rid of the lining, add cramps (that were on steroids) and you get a cycle that seemed like I wasn’t going to get through.

Two weeks later I had my follow up appointment to make sure everything was healing properly. It was then that my doctor said I’d need another surgery because I’d continue being in pain. One week later I was again at the same hospital, in the same operating room getting ready for laparoscopy number two. Only this time the outcomes were much worse. While I was being operated it was discovered my left tube and ovary were non-functioning. Upon waking up I was in terrible pain and honestly couldn’t remember where I was. The nurse by my side said I would be moving to my room soon and could see my family when I was there. And let me tell you I thought I knew what pain was, but this surgery takes the cake. I had four large gauze pads taped to my stomach and it hurt to sit up. And when I say hurt, it hurt so bad I was in tears. The first person I saw was Russell (fiancé at the time, now husband) and he asked how I was feeling. (Then I threw up all over place and he still managed to think I was the prettiest girl in the world…how you ask? I have no idea).

I remember being in the room with him when the doctor came in bearing bad news. He said I no longer had a left side and I would have a 5% chance or less to conceive because the endo had spread to my colon. When they did this surgery my uterus and colon were fused together with scar tissue, which explained why I’ve had bowel trouble all these years. As I sat in the bed with Russell next to me I cried. I don’t know for how long but the tears rolling down my face were large crocodile like tears. I asked Russell if he still wanted to marry me, what we’d do if I couldn’t conceive and how would I get through this. He said, “no matter what happens we’re in this together”. Those have rung true ever since.

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I had a twelve-week recovery ahead of me and it was brutal. My body looked morphed and my stomach didn’t look like mine. I went through a period of not wanting to look at myself in the mirror because I was ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed, and angry that this was happening to me. My dream was to get married and begin a family right away and that didn’t look like it was going to come to fruition. But like Russell said no matter what we’d get through this together. I recovered from the second surgery and in August of that year had my third laparoscopy because the pain came back immediately, and the lining was building again. After this surgery I had my wedding to finish planning and I’d had enough of hospitals, recovery, and more pain.

I decided to take six months and put together a plan of next steps. Those six months came and went and in January 2017 I had my fourth surgery. I was used to the hospital and everything that came along with surgery, but I still felt this guilt. The guilt that I couldn’t conceive before this and I was extremely disappointed. Fast forward to now. We have a plan in place but I’m in pain most hours of the day. I am currently on Lupron-depo, a medication to help prevent a woman’s reproductive system from functioning; I don’t have periods and am in a forced menopause. It’s not any fun but at least I don’t have to worry about the stabbing pain and painful menstrual cycles. However, I am dealing with infertility and I can tell you I have never dealt with something so hard in my entire life. I am depressed and have anxiety because of the infertility. There are days when I don’t want to get out of bed. There are days I tell my husband I’m sorry I can’t conceive. There are days when I wonder when this will end. I don’t have all the answers and I can only offer a little bit of advice based on my experience. But if I were younger I would have asked more questions and been more persistent on finding answers to my pain.

I’ve also learned that I am strong. I am stronger than I thought I could be. This is a bump in the road along my way to becoming a mother. One day I know I’ll hold a little baby, have many sleepless nights, and love a little one that I have a love for that is indescribable. The point of telling you all of this is that no matter what you are going through, you are strong. You may have days, like myself, where you think you just can’t go any further but just know you can. I still have days when I wonder why I have endo and question my path in life. But then I remember we are all destined for greatness and sometimes the obstacles that challenge us the most are the challenges we end up being the most grateful for. One day I’ll be grateful for my challenge and until then I’ll take solace in knowing that I’m coming out of this stronger than I ever thought I could be.

Xoxo, 

Angelica   

Empowered & PoisedComment
Slowing Down to Speed Up by Traci

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” ~ Zen Proverb

I first heard this quote several years ago, and my immediate response was a laugh.  I mean, it’s meant as a joke, right? A cute way of encouraging people to meditate more? Actually, the real humor is that the statement is paradoxically true!

When you’re really busy, feeling stressed, and your nervous system is in fight-or-flight mode, you may think that you can’t afford to slow down. The pressure to do something and take action can be overwhelming. Spending your time doing something like meditation logically seems like a waste of time when there are so many other things that need to be done. However, there’s an important difference between spinning your wheels as fast as you can and taking a series of inspired actions.

When you’re too stressed, you get tunnel vision. You can’t see all the options available to you through the fog of stress. Your mind is racing with thoughts and closed off to hearing anything new. You’re more apt to make mistakes, which then require more time and effort to correct. When you’re out-of-sync, you could work non-stop for hours and still make little or no meaningful progress.

Pausing and re-centering yourself is one of the best things to do when you’re super busy and feeling overwhelmed. A short five to ten minute meditation can really refresh your body and clear your mind (sometimes it does take longer, depending on the situation!). If you don’t yet know how to meditate, you can simply stop and take some deep breaths for a few minutes, paying attention to your breathing. This small and simple step interrupts your stress pattern, allowing the opportunity for change.

When you slow down, your mind gets quieter. Then you’re able to hear your inner guidance, your intuition. The fog clears, and from this new vantage point you can see a wider range of options that you previously weren’t able to see. Brilliant new ideas come to you out of nowhere. You’re more in tune with yourself and able to make better decisions. When you’re in the flow, working quickly is easy and you can accomplish a tremendous amount in a short period of time.

Slowing down doesn’t mean that you’re accomplishing less. By slowing down you’re able to work smarter, not harder, and actually speed up your results. By taking just a little bit of time to realign and refocus your energy, you become more empowered and poised.

Are you interested in learning meditation or other ways to reduce stress? Reach out to me at traci@traci-wagner.com. I will send you my set of mini-meditation recordings and direct you to other resources to help you get started.

Traci Wagner -Energy Healer, Spiritual Coach, Meditation Instructor- Healing With, LLC- www.Traci-Wagner.com

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Perfectly Love Your Imperfections by Katrice
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I am Empowered and Poised because I love myself and my imperfections! Every day I say "I am Katrice and I perfectly love my imperfections.” So many of us go through life trying to fit in and trying to be what and who everyone else thinks we should be. Then when we fail we are beyond crushed and broken. I can admit a large portion of my life was spent feeling and thinking I needed to change for everyone else but not realizing I only needed to change for me. It wasn’t until after my divorce I realized “MY LIFE” is my responsibility and I only need approval from God and myself. I no longer looked for acceptance and approval from others. I was determined to love myself through my imperfections but that didn’t mean I thought I was perfect it just meant that I accepted everything about me. Our self-reflections are what helps us to grow. When you can look at yourself and say “this is where I need to grow”, and you begin to embrace your life and the current stage that you are in, that is when you realize the power within. I am empowered because I believe in empowering and motivating others on a daily basis. I wish I would have had someone to tell me over 20 years ago that I needed to love myself more and believe in me. I promised that I would start embracing and loving myself. As I look back over my life I have no regrets I just know that everything was a part of my personally designed journey. I want all women to remember that we are all unique and it is ok to embrace and love your imperfections, in spite of what the world thinks! Love YOU at all times and encourage others to do the same!!  

Owning Your Fear by Christen Shefchunas

What if I fail? What if I disappoint everyone? What if all my hard work doesn’t pay off? What if I embarrass myself? What if I’m not good enough?

These are just a few of the fears that I hear when I ask women what they’re thinking before a competition, before a presentation, before a test, before an important meeting. Basically, what is going through the mind of a woman when she’s feeling pressure. 

As I always say, when pressure hits a woman, the first thing to come is fear and doubts, and the first thing to go is our confidence. So, FYI, if you’ve ever had those kinds of thoughts and “what if’s” going through your mind, you are not a weakling, you are not a misfit, you are not alone. You are a woman. 

But as women, we feel alone. We feel like we are the only ones experiencing the fears, so we never talk about it because we are embarrassed. And then we use our “tap dancer”, the woman down deep in us that we pull out and tell everyone we’re “fine” while performing and tap dancing as if we are.

We think if we pretend that the fear isn’t there that it will go away. It doesn’t. We think that when we keep telling everyone we’re fine, someday we will be. We won’t. Fear is powerful, and it will affect you, regardless of how much you pretend it’s not there. 

The only way to beat this fear is to own it. We must face it and own it; I’m afraid, and that’s ok. 

And once we own it, now we can do something about it. I call this the “Flip it”. 3x Olympian Elizabeth Beisel explained the “flip it” as this: We as women have 1200 thoughts going through our mind at all times. When the fears come, it’s like we are shining a flashlight on those thoughts. Those thoughts are our focus. The “flip it” is when we move the flashlight to shine on positive thoughts. We move our focus to the positive. 

And when we move our focus to the positive, we find some hope that this might turn out ok. 

But let me be clear, these positive thoughts that we are going to focus on must be believable. They must be true to you. Almost every female athlete that I’ve ever worked has been told from a young age that they should stand before a competition focused in on, “I will win this, I will be great, I will go fast." The problem? They didn’t believe it. And focusing in on something that we don’t actually believe isn’t going to help us one bit. 

What do you believe? Like, seriously believe. When the fears and doubts come and the confidence goes, what can you focus in on that’s going to give you some hope walking into these pressure filled moments? What is your truth? 

I know most women are fighters. We do what we need to do, and we will always find a way. That’s definitely my truth. But you tell me. After you own it, what can you focus in on that you actually believe? That is your “flip it”. And when you find your “flip it,” and focus in on it, this will give you your greatest chance at reaching your fullest potential! And if you need some help (as we all do), wear your Confidence Nuggets bracelets as a constant reminder of your truth! :)

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About Christen Shefchunas

A former Division I college coach, now a Confidence Coach, Speaker and Author, Christen Shefchunas, aka Coach Christen, has had the honor of working with some of the best athletes in the world; Olympic Gold Medalists, World Champions and NCAA Champions.

 Frustrated from years of watching athletes full of potential miss their dreams because of their lack of confidence, Christen created Confidence Nuggets to help them build their confidence.

Having a visual reminder of their truth was a game changer, and Confidence Nuggets have gone on to help not only athletes, but all women move forward confidently, and reach their dreams.

Building A Girls Confidence by The Empowered & Poised Team

“7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends.” – Real Girls, Real Pressure: National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, Dove Self-Esteem Fund

 

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At Empowered & Poised it is our mission is to empower and educate girls on how to be beautiful from the inside out through discovery of social, mental, and physical components. Our goal is to empower the young girls in the community to make safe, responsible, and healthy choices in their everyday lives. We are focused on providing them with resources, activities, and discussion surrounding the concept of the wellness triangle: physical, social, and mental well-being. The skills taught seek to promote positive self-image, self-awareness, creativity, leadership, interpersonal skills and overall wellness.

Participants learn skills that will help give them the basis and framework to be successful in life. We provide girls with the tools to be confident enough to give expression to their individuality. These skills guide girls to: collaborate, communicate, think critically and creativity, as well as develop confidence, self-awareness, and empathy. Girls can apply these newly acquired skills at school, at home, and in the community. As a result, they will develop into women who are more qualified candidates for opportunities such as enlistment, education, or employment in their future.

So, why is it so important that we give girls the tools to become more confident? How are we able to achieve this?

Here are five of the many ways to encourage and assist a young girl in developing her confidence.

1. Model body acceptance

Hey Moms! This one is especially important for you. Did you know that how you feel about your body can affect how your daughter feels about hers? For example, if you say something like “look at my fat jiggly arms” it could actually influence your daughters perceptions of her own arms. If you feel that you could use some tips on how to better model body acceptance check out this article.

2. Direct praise to more than just her appearance

It’s super important that we don’t only tell girls that they are beautiful, have nice hair, or a nice figure, but also praise them for their inner qualities. After all, at Empowered & Poised we teach our students that beauty begins on the inside. A couple phrases that you could use are “You are are so smart!” or “Your courage is so inspiring!”.

3. Focus on her efforts instead of her performance

Remember, if a girl is putting forth her best effort and she still falls short of your expectations there is no need to criticize her. Instead, share with her how proud you are for the hard work and efforts she has displayed. Continue to be patient and remember that everyone develops at different rates and possesses different skill sets. As we often hear, encourage “progress over perfection!”

4. Help her to become a critical consumer of the media

First, let’s define media. According to Dictionary.com media is defined as “the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers,magazines, and the Internet, that reach or influence people widely”. Therefore, it’s important to help a young girl become a critical consumer of all media platforms that she may use or become influenced by. One example of how you can help her better understand the media is by discussing ads and the influence they have on consumers. For example, discuss why a celebrity may be in an ad and what effect that could have on an individual to buy a certain product. You can also discuss social media and its connection to filters and photoshopping. Help her to understand that everything she sees is not always as it first appears.

5. Most importantly, make sure she knows you love her all the time!

We wanted to share some of The Child Mind Institute's thoughts in this article because they align so well with our mission! Check out The Child Mind Institute even more ways to be a positive role model for young girls.

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One of the most important things that we have discovered at Empowered & Poised is the importance of love. The reason that many girls open up to us and are able to get the support they need is because WE CARE. We do not sit in judgement of the girls we work with, but rather accept them with loving arms and provide the necessary support to help them move forward each and every day.

Using these tips can help build a girl’s self-confidence and increase the likelihood that she will try new things that she may otherwise not.

Have you ever met someone who wants to try out for a sports team, but doesn’t feel that she is good enough?  Using these tips can help to encourage her to try out for the spot on the team she has been talking about but has been a little too afraid to try. Oftentimes, as self-esteem is increased, avenues and opportunities open that increase the overall well-being of an individual.

When you a young girl is confident,  she is more likely to find new hobbies that she enjoys and develop healthy and meaningful relationships. As time passes, this newly found confidence can help her to become more successful as a woman. When she goes for that big time interview for that job she has been working hard for she will remember that push you gave her to try out for the sports team.

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S. (2018, June 06). 13 Ways to Boost Your Daughter's Self-Esteem. Retrieved from https://childmind.org/article/13-ways-to-boost-your-daughters-self-esteem/

Today is a New Day by Veronica
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I would like to start off with hello and welcome to another beautiful, and wonderful day that God has created. I do hope that you believe that, it’s a wonderful way to start the day off at least for me. My name is Veronica Holloman and if you are on this page I would first like to congratulate you and let you know you are already on the road to success. So most definitely stay on this road, I will tell you in this life there are many paths that lead off of different roads. So many times we can take a wrong turn, or people that may be in charge of us may make a wrong turn without even knowing it, until the turn has been made. But if you know like a GPS system you can turn it all around and get back on the right road. You have to be willing and want it. Sometimes it’s not always easy because there may be blocks and construction in that path, so you will be re- routed again, and the GPS may not even know it so even though it is your guidance it will have to catch up to where you are.  

For many of us this is how life is or was. I have had many of wrong turns in life. My mother made a decision to have me when she was very young. After I was born she had a nervous breakdown, for those who do not know what that is she lost her mind for a while and she started to self-medicate, now that was the beginning of me being raised between two different cities New York and Cleveland. I was raised by my Great Aunt and Great Grandmother.  As time went by many different trials came along in my life, after the Grand parents got ill. So, now the routes changed in my life, by the time I became a pre-teen and teenager. But before the drastic changes I had many good values stored in me, and in my family, God was the major factor. I was raised in Church so for me that was a value I did not forget. I did not always stick with it and many times I did not know where GOD was for what I was going through. Which I’m sure many will identify with. I suffered with mental abuse, rape, prostitution, physical abuse and drugs just to cope with the life I was in, and actually living.

But it is now many years later and my life has taken wonderful changes and is still changing every day.

After I decided to have children and get married that was the beginning of my self-graduation being able to care for people other than myself. I learned how to work with my mother and understand her more as she got help for herself and now I can help care for her in ways that she never knew. Now where she could not care for me, I could help care with and for her making up for the times when she couldn’t do the same for me.  We missed a lot, but we now have a lot more to learn in different ways. When you learn how to love yourself for who you are and not the mistakes that have happen in your life whether you made them or someone else, a re-route may be necessary and it can be good. For me it was a change of my focus, I had a new chance on life and I took it and I want to share the love and knowledge I have. Life will not always be good, and it definitely will not always be bad. Things change all the time and it always will. For those of us that live in a climate where the seasons change I tend to use that as an example as well, that seasons change and so does life. Things may not always go as we would like them too, but if you look at it about 80% of it goes well and 20 % may go sour but that’s sporadic, meaning it doesn’t happen all at once. It’s up and down and when its down, I try to focus now on what’s good and that’s hard sometimes depending on what’s bad but remember its temporary. I wake up now every day and say, “The odds may have been against me yesterday but today is a new day.”  Even though some may say my mother was too young to have me and my life was a mess and so was hers, I’m glad she gave me life anyway. I am thankful that I am a testimony to help others through my life story, I have learned to forgive, love and help others so that their lives don’t have to be so hard, or as hard as mine was. Those are things that make me stay EMPOWERED and POISED about LIFE.

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Visit more of my story @ www.veronicaholloman.com

"Age Is A Blessing – Own It." by Cath

“You’re going to love this! It will make you look 10 years younger”.

I was sitting in an expensive salon in Downtown Willoughby (if it’s expensive it must be good, right?), sipping a glass of cool, filtered water flavored with a delicate hint of lemon and trying not to breathe in the smell of the hair color that was being slathered on my head by a very enthusiastic (and, as he took great pains to emphasize, very straight) hairdresser.

“Isn’t it a little purple?”  I frowned at the color dripping off the brush. I had asked for a very specific shade of bright pink to match the temporary color I’d done at home, and what was going on my head was quite a lot darker than I’d expected. He assured me it was not and that I’d love it.

It was, and I didn’t.

I mean, I really didn’t.

Because it did make me look 10 years younger.  And I didn’t want it to.

 

Just a year before the incident at the hair salon, I was lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to a drip because I hadn’t been able to keep food or drink down for nearly 36 hours, and the doctor was murmuring threats of pancreatic cancer. She said it to scare me -- to make sure I followed up on the cyst that developed during a nasty bout of pancreatitis -- and I knew that’s what she was doing. Nonetheless, it made me worry. What if?

 

I survived (obviously), but it’s taught me a new appreciation for my years. As women, we’re taught to run from age as if it’s something to be feared. We spend thousands on creams and make-up to cover up our lines and wrinkles as if they’re something to be ashamed of, when they’re not. What would happen if we started to think of wrinkles as medals for a life lived? What if we saw them instead as marks of the laughter and tears that have made us who we are?

Because if I’ve learned anything in my 45 years, it’s that every day on this earth is a blessing. Every single day is a chance to do something different, to change something you don’t like, or pursue something you do. And every day is a chance to make a difference to the people around you.

Don’t run from your age – whatever it is. Embrace it. And don’t be scared of getting older. It rocks.

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I’m Cath, a photographic artist based in Willoughby, Ohio, and I’m empowered and poised because I love my grey hair (which is currently a fabulous shade of fuchsia) and my wrinkles.