Writing by The Big Sister Experience
Navigating your teenage years can be a rollercoaster of incredible highs and soul crushing lows. The Big Sisters have been through it all themselves and visit high school girls to share their own stories and offer an understanding ear.
One of the biggest lessons the Big Sisters learnt on their own teenage journey, was that having the confidence to recognise your own voice, and the courage to use it, was a crucial step in living a happy and drama-free life.
To help build resilience and strengthen that confidence muscle, they created the ‘3 Keys to Self-Confidence,’ and want to share with you these simple steps you can start using today to help you step into your power as a capable, kind and confident young woman.
Practice Self-love – self-love means different things to different people. But to the Big Sisters, the concept of self-love means recognising you have a voice; differing values, opinions and desires to your peers, and having the strength to use this voice.
Self-love is also taking time to fill your own cup. This means doing things that bring you happiness and joy and laughter, simply for the sake of it. Often in high school we can get bogged down by homework and assignments, friendship issues, part time work or family stresses. Make sure you take time out of every single week to do simple activities that make your soul smile.
Self-love also means surrounding yourself with the right people who accept you for who you are, and bring out the best in you. Limit your time with toxic friends, and spend more time with friends who make you feel good about yourself, and loved! Friendships will come and go, and this is part of life. Your friends should not only be there in the difficult times, but should help you celebrate your wins without being jealous or putting you down.
Understand Safe Sex – although the risks of not having safe sex are often talked about, what we mean by safe sex is to ensure you are practicing your right to consent. Consent is explicit permission by all parties involved when it comes to any sexual acts. Love yourself enough to know that you can say no at any time, even if you have done it before, even if you have already started something. It is your right to say no.
38% of teens in Australia aged between 13-15 years have sent a sexually explicit picture. The biggest part of this percentage were females. When asked why they sent these nude photos, the top 3 reasons given by the girls were; they wanted to appear fun and flirty, they wanted to give their boyfriend a present or because they felt pressured.
It can be overwhelming and scary, even seem impossible, to say no to something you don’t want to do – especially to friends you care about, or people you like. But this is why it’s so important to practice self-love. Because the more you learn to use your own voice, the easier it becomes to stand up for the things you want, and the things that make you happiest.
Supporting the Sisterhood – as women we are faced with many challenges throughout our lives, many you may have witnessed already. Supporting the sisterhood simply means that girls support girls. It’s hard enough to ‘do your thing’ in a society that is so used to cutting women down, judging us, and reminding us we are never enough. So simply by being kind to other girls, we are supporting others to live their truest self.
A pleasant side effect to supporting other girls to be happy? It actually feels amazing. By seeing the best in people, focusing on the positives, and encouraging other girls to be themselves, we in turn are giving ourselves permission to be our own authentic self. It feels so much more wonderful to lift others up, instead of tearing them down.
It’s never easy at first, to recognise and understand that putting yourself first is so crucial. We are raised to believe that putting ourselves first is selfish, and inconsiderate. But what we are learning in 2019 is that it is vital to ongoing mental health and wellbeing. To listen to our own needs, and use our voice to stand up for what we want, and what’s important to us is a critical life skill. We hope that with these three simple keys, you can slowly start growing your confidence, and begin living a happier, more authentic life![share]