It often feels like the media is full of doom and gloom with stories of disaster and terror grabbing the headlines. It means that often the good stuff that is happening in the world gets overlooked. Well I like the good news stories...I'd like to think that there is hope for the human race after all and so the positive facts do grab my attention like these ones sent to me by Unilver...
- Unilever has helped 482 million people to improve their health and hygiene.
- Domestos has committed to helping 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020 (something we totally take for granted but one third of the world's population don't have access to a toilet)
- Persil with 'Learning for Tomorrow' and UNICEF have helped give children in some of the world's toughest areas the opportunity of an education.
- The Dove self-esteem project has now reached over 19 million young lives.
What incredible facts. It's easy to think that all this relates to someone else, somewhere else in the world but actually something seemingly straight-forward like self-esteem not only holds relevance to everyone but can be notoriously difficult for some people to achieve.
It has taken me close to 40 years to actually begin to have a true self-confidence in myself. I still regularly get 'imposter syndrome' - that voice in my head telling me that I'm not good enough, that I can't do this, that someone else would do a better job of it than me. I'm slowly learning to tell that voice to 'shut up' because you know what...I am doing it. I have a family that I do my best for. I have a job that I love and am perfectly suited to. I'm not overweight, ugly or stupid - things that I have told myself that I am at various points over the years.
I want things to be different for Miss T. I want her to have masses of self-belief and heaps of confidence and I want her to know this right now aged 4 and not 40.
She was always a bubbly baby, smiling and friendly. Then when her JIA hit aged 2, we noticed a definite change in her confidence levels. For a while she was no longer able to do all the things that other children could do - she lost the ability to walk at all for a while. Gradually as her treatment kicked in, her confidence has grown again. We've never focussed on things she can't do, but instead on things she can.
She is loved unconditionally. She is valued for who she is. She is praised for her efforts rather than achievements. She's learnt to be a polite and sociable girl who enjoys chatting with her friends, teachers and others she meets. She cares about others and shows such a level of tolerance and compassion (something she needs to have plenty of at times with her eldest brothers aspergers trying our patience often!)
There's no doubt that there will be plenty of challenges ahead for her as there are in any girls life...there will be the teenage years, boyfriends, beauty concerns, school problems, friendship dilemmas, and a whole heap of other things not least including issues arising from social media these days. There will be things we can't protect her from. All we can do is equip her as best we can to have belief and confidence in herself and her decisions. To learn to problem solve for herself and to know when to ask for help (and that its OK to ask for help).
We hope that these little steps we are taking now to build up that confidence will help her have a #brightFuture.
Thank you to Unilever for sending us some of our favourite products to get us thinking about the #brightFuture initiative.Unilever. You can also find out more about this challenge at BritMums.
UPDATE: We've had lots of people telling us how much they loved Miss T's frilly tutu in these photos - It is from Palava.co (the new brand name for BryonyAndCo and pronounced 'palaver') which makes the most gorgeous dresses, skits and clothing for both kids and grown-ups!