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Low Self-esteem: A Beast That Keeps Crippling Girls

Background image acquired from Instazu, http://www.instazu.com/tag/IAmNotOk
Edited by Dorcas K. Mendin

Low self-esteem remains a prevalent yet obscure issue that affects most teenage girls and even older women. Low self-esteem is a lack of believe in oneself, and the habit of constantly finding the “wrongs” within yourself. Young girls who struggle with low self-esteem may experience depression, lack of social interest, fear of inadequacy, desperation for approval from others, lack of confidence in oneself, among many others. Low self-esteem prevents girls from exerting their full potential because they do not believe that they can be better than what they already are. For a very long time, I also struggled with low self-esteem. I was very conscious about my entire being. I usually did not share my thoughts with my friends, especially during conversations, for fear of sounding unintelligent. Whenever I was in class and had a question on the lesson being taught, I would keep my question to myself because I did not want others to think the question was not worth asking. I did not believe in myself; I had an inferiority complex. I went from home to school and back home. My struggle with low self-esteem was very dreadful, and it is an experience I would not wish upon any girl. From this decision came my inspiration for my final project.

via GIPHY


This final GOA project aims at aiding girls in building self-esteem. To kickstart the project, I firstly needed to know why girls struggle with low self-esteem, because each girl’s reason may be unique. I created an anonymous google form that I shared with some girls at my school, African Leadership Academy, as well as girls from back home, Liberia. Questions included in the form were:

  • With 1 being very low and 5 being very high, how would you rate your level of self-esteem?
  • What is the reason for your response to the previous question?
  • What do you think is the main reason why some girls have low self-esteem?
  • What do you think are some effects of low self-esteem?
  • What aids in boosting your self-esteem?
  • Recall a situation that boosted your self-esteem.
  • What inhibits your self-esteem?
  • How could girls be aided in building self-esteem?

All of the questions above aimed at answering the primary question: how could we aid girls in building self-esteem? With fourteen responses, the average answer for the first question was 3. One respondent noted “I’m still building my self confidence, so I believe with that being the case, I consider my level of self-esteem to be in the growing stage/process.” Additionally, many of the respondents noted that the primary cause of low self-esteem is societal expectations. This means if girls do not look or act the way society expects, these girls tend to have low self-confidence and believe that it is their fault that they do not fall into society’s definition of “perfect.” One respondent mentioned that “there are beauty standards and lots of expectations that the world has for girls and when we do not fulfil them, we are treated differently.” In this case, a beauty standard would be “shaving legs,” the respondent noted. Furthermore, the girls indicated that having their friends or others say condescending things to them plays a major role in inhibiting their self-esteem. When asked how could girls be aided in building self-esteem, 78% of the respondents stressed on the importance of having support systems that constantly remind girls about their worth, or are just there to talk when girls need to have a conversation. One respondent mentioned the importance of “support groups, encouragement from people around, and motivational quotes/posts.”

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From the responses, I concluded that mothers, fathers, brothers, friends, relatives, and society at large need to put all hands on deck in order to aid girls in building self-esteem. We must all be very cognisant of what we say to girls, and say only things that will promote their healthy growth. Our words have so much power, and if we use them kindly and wisely, we can make the world a much better place for girls. When girls are self-confident, they are able to exert their full potential and become presidents, start NGOs, develop innovative solutions to world problems, end world hunger, build roads and bridges, among many others. Despite the fact that society has a huge role to play in building girls self-esteem, girls also have an essential part to play. Girls need to start smiling at themselves in the mirror. They must start making conscious efforts to control their thoughts and think positively about themselves. Girls need to champion their own self-esteem journey. This is challenging, but achievable.

The next couple of charts are solutions that I have devised that everyone could use to help girls in developing their self-esteem. Read it. Digest it. Practice it. Share it. Repeat.

To the girl struggling with low self esteem:

Here is an additional resource that girls could use to aid themselves in building self-esteem. In this video, Niko Everett, a leadership coach, tells us about her journey to self-esteem, and how she had to “meet herself” (Niko Everett).

To parents:

To the rest of society:

In the video below, 1:23 shows a typical example of row 5 of the chart above (a female being interrupted). Note that there might be some vulgar words.

Low self-esteem is not a situation a girl decides to be in. It is a situation that is inflicted upon her. When girls are confident, they create opportunities that make the world a better place for everyone. Hence, all of society must work together to aid girls in building self-esteem. The road to self-esteem is a rocky one, but it can be journeyed on.

Below are additional resources that aid girls in building self-esteem. I made these resources a while ago for another project.

To every girl out there, the next time you feel inadequate, remember these words by poet and cultural activist Tanatsei Gambura:

“You are water, nutrient to yourself.

Surrender and be digested.

Breathe and be cleansed.

Sit up and emulsify.

Refuse to be aborted at sea.”


Citations:

Mcadams, Molly. “Signs of Low Self-Esteem in Women.” Livestrong, https://www.livestrong.com/article/41435-signs-low-selfesteem-women/.

Mendin, Dorcas. “How Could Girls be Aided in Building Self-esteem?” Survey. 19 April. 2019.

Everett, Niko. “Meet Yourself: A User’s Guide to Building Self-Esteem.” Youtube, uploaded by TedxYouth, 8 February, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOrzmFUJtrs.

Kudrow, Lisa. “Lisa Kudrow in epic speech on sexism in politics (From “Scandal” TV Show) # 70.” Youtube, uploaded by Rust Cell, 20 November, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnacqVQQt5A.

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COMMENTS: 21
  1. April 25, 2019 by Savior Flomo Mendin

    This is such a wonderful and insightful read. The author’s willingness to reveal her vulnerability with the portrayal of her own battle with low self-esteem makes her work all the more moving and incredibly powerful. Thanks to the Global Online Academy conference organizers and the young author for sharing this worthwhile project with us.

    • April 25, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

      Thank you for being my strongest support system, mama.❤️

  2. April 25, 2019 by Gwendolyn Myers

    Amazing my darling mentee!! I’m super proud of you Dorcas❤. Glad you worked on this! Bravo #MyRisingStar. #BoldSolution.

    • April 25, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

      OMG Thank you so much ED!!❤️

  3. April 25, 2019 by Albert L. Kesselley,

    There are lot of narrative hooks from the title to the body that kept me reading to the end. As a father with two girls you truly inspired me. Keep up the good work and remember we are all proud of you

    • April 27, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

      Thank you so much, sir. I really do appreciate your kind words, and I wish you all the best with your two girls.

  4. April 25, 2019 by Lendeh Seboe

    You’ve made remember me as a young girl. These issues are so real. … Girls are to eat just a little even if they are hungry.. Total madness.. Thank you for this worthy piece Dorcas…. I’m quite sure a lot of young ladies will be happy reading this.. Your example is Powerful. God bless you

    • April 27, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

      Auntie Lendeh! Thank you for your continuous motivation and support. May God bless you as well.

    • April 28, 2019 by Tealee A. Brown

      I know this woman who always tells me, “never hold back your own feelings and struggles when you write, if your goal is to inspire others because that’s the art of it all”, and you sure didn’t hold back here.
      I have been inspired by your own story.
      I love your project because I know it will be helpful to me and many other young girls and women.
      Thank you for being a woman’s woman in the true sense of it all.
      #GoGirlGlow

  5. April 26, 2019 by Haley Fauntleroy

    Dorcas, it is so difficult to talk about your own struggles with self esteem, but you did so in order to pave the way for other women to follow. To quote Maya Angelou, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it she stands up for all women.” Thank you for standing up for all women 🙂

    Thank you for this website and for your dedication to uplifting women.

    • April 27, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

      Coach, thank you so much for playing a major role in my research process. You have inspired me in many ways!

  6. April 26, 2019 by Oluwafikemi.Aiyepeku

    The truth in what you have written about is so intense. Thank you for giving everyone tips on how they can better the lives and esteem of the women around them. I have learnt so much through this.

    • April 27, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

      Queen! Thank you for your feedback. #GirlsSupportingGirls

  7. April 26, 2019 by Payton.Nesby

    Very valuable lesson! Thank you for taking the time to bring light to an issue that is hard to bring up for most girls, and even harder to educate people on. Thank you for putting your heart and experiences into this too that’s no easy task.

    • April 27, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am really happy I got to do this.

  8. April 26, 2019 by Aicha Fall

    Amazing work honey 😍

    • April 28, 2019 by Tealee A. Brown

      I know this woman who always tells me, “never hold back your own feelings and struggles when you write, if your goal is to inspire others because that’s the art of it all”, and you sure didn’t hold back here.
      I have been inspired by your own story.
      I love your project because I know it will be helpful to me and many other young girls and women.
      Thank you for being a woman’s woman in the true sense of it all.
      #GoGirlGlow

  9. April 27, 2019 by Dorcas Mendin

    Thank you, Aicha.😍

  10. April 28, 2019 by Alex.Lepa

    Hi Dorcas,
    I really liked your project as I found it very interesting. Thank you for using solid evidence and I really liked the charts you used in yellow to illustrate your point.
    Alex

  11. April 28, 2019 by Tealee A. Brown

    I know this woman who always tells me, “never hold back your own feelings and struggles when you write, if your goal is to inspire others because that’s the art of it all”, and you sure didn’t hold back here.
    I have been inspired by your own story.
    I love your project because I know it will be helpful to me and many other young girls and women.
    Thank you for being a woman’s woman in the true sense of it all.
    #GoGirlGlow

  12. April 28, 2019 by Motresa M. Kaiser

    Hi Dor-Cas, I’m so happy and very impressed by what you’re doing. I hope that God will guide and lead you through out. Thanks for the good lesson, and encouragement as well.

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