When I launched my second blog, MizFit, it was “enough” to merely possess a passion for healthy living.
It was 2006.
I was just back from Guatemala. Gnarls Barkley was all the rage. Skinny jeans juusssst starting to emerge on the Austin hipster scene.
And The Biggest Loser television show was born.
Readers embraced my message, but because of the new focus on tremendous weight-loss stories my words felt diminished.
I wasn’t a big loser– I was a long-term loser.
No stunning numbers–just consistency.
Even back then I challenged myself as to whether I “fit” as a fitness blogger.
Could I inspire others if Id only shed 40 pounds? Could I relate to greater struggles?
I answered myself in the same way I did when I owned my training studio.
I returned to something Id learned in my counseling masters program:
Human struggle is universal.
Our struggles may look different, however, the experience of facing challenges and persevering is one to which we all relate.
It’s in that same vein I’ve dedicated myself to helping girls navigate frenemies and tween’dom.
Long before the Child (when I was CarlaFictionWriter) I led mother/daughter book groups at brick & mortar book stores.
We’d ostensibly meet to discuss novels, yet what really transpired was sharing/paralleling the characters’ lives to the girls’ own challenges.
As a group we’d normalize struggles of our members and remind each of them they were not alone.
For the last decade, since the Tornado of a child burst on the scene, I’ve focused my self-esteem building efforts mainly on her.
I’ve worked to send the message she’s ENOUGH precisely as she is today and remind her she’s powerful and strong (& strong is NOT the new sexy).
I’ve concentrated on helping her learn she may fall short of achieving goals as we all do, but when she learns & grows from the experience there’s no such thing as failure.
Now that she’s older I’m learning the best way to guide her is to remain silent.
To practice what I LONG to preach (and say not a word).
I’m pulling back my narrow focus and broadening it once again.
I plan to spread my message of Girl Power! through returning to teaching yoga to kids.
I’m creating a mother/daughter journal in an effort to more widely promote the benefits of a shared writing practice.
6 out of 10 girls stop doing what they love because they feel insecure about their looks.
That’s a whole lot of our next generation derailed from their dreams.
Girls who could change the world.
Girls who could change lives.
Girls who need us women to step up, stand up and lend a hand during this developmental time which can feel daunting and Sisyphean.
I never recall feeling stoppable even when my outside didn’t match how I felt on the inside.
I never equated my beer, pizza, and junk-food bod with diminished self-worth.
Even if my confidence was misplaced some days–I’ve always felt UNSTOPPABLE.
And I wanted a simple way to break it down for 11. Using concepts she’d grasp and in a manner in which she’d really hear me.
- Choose friends wisely. In great and not so great ways we are judged by the company we keep. We tend to become like those with whom we spend the most time (that’s a shout out to you, Jim Rohn). Positivity spreads, but so does fat talk and negative self talk. Choose your tribe carefully. Pay attention to how they treat each other and how they treat themselves.
Seek people who do not view your success as equating to their failure.
- Compliment yourself! At 11 the Child still adores being showered with compliments. Heck at 47 I do, too. The difference is, at my age, I’m entirely aware telling myself YOU ROCK! can be just as satisfying/effective as hearing it from others. It took me years to arrive at this place—I’m committed to helping her find her way more rapidly.
- Know where you’re headed. As women many of us possess a mission statement or vision board. With girls these “road maps” may be as simple a mantra or personal catch phrase. It’s imperative we assist our girls in developing a general sense of where they’re headed or they’re certain never to get there. Plans may be fluid (11 is convinced she’ll be a special ed teacher), but creating/possessing a clear if temporary path facilitates the girls internalizing the fact they are, indeed, going places. They’re unstoppable.
As the amazing Jess Weiner says:
Girls have the ingredients for self-worth, but sometimes need the recipe.
Let’s all help in creating the recipe.
Be a mentor, consciously choose to serve as a role model for your child, lend an encouraging hand to a woman-friend or even to YOURSELF.
- How will you be UNSTOPPABLE today?
- How will you remind the girls/women in your life: There’s room enough for us ALL to rock?
Bea saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 4:35 am
I think I have absolutely always felt stoppable :/
Annmarie saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 4:37 am
Having two young daughters, I try my hardest to practice what I preach about self love. They never do what I say but they always do what I do.
Nettie saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 4:48 am
And what do we do when we see our girls making choices we wouldn’t make with regards to friendships?
Middle school is hard. For the girls and for us to watch.
Nettie saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 4:48 am
Oh and I preach too much LOL.
I always worry they aren’t quite getting it so I need to point it out over and over again.
Allie saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 5:06 am
YES YES YES!! Always.
I have to say, it was mostly because of my parents and their constant encouragement, I always felt unstoppable. I make a point of doing this with my kids…and other people’s kids too. I can’t help it 🙂
Susie @ Suzlyfe saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 5:40 am
This is something that I’ve thought about a lot–how to raise my kids (willing) with confidence, but not arrogance, in a world that puts such weird and varied pressure on them. Thank goodness for amazing role models like you!
Marcia saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 6:13 am
I’m just back from the 5th grade class Valentine’s Day party and oh yes, those eyes are on us! As a mom of 2 girls (11 and 15 now) I’ve been so SO cognizant of how I talk the talk and walk the talk. I never felt “stoppable” either and I sure hope my girls never do.
Coco saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 6:50 am
I think I always felt unstoppable. Was it being an only child? Going to a Montessori school? Going to an all girls high-school? All of the above?
But I still don’t feel like I know where I’m headed.
messymimi saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 7:01 am
It hasn’t been perfect, but i’ve always tried to let my daughters know they could reach their dreams, and they are doing it. Never stop sending the message.
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 7:19 am
I don’t know what happens at puberty to change the way girls feel about themselves. In my job, I witness this transformation on a daily basis. I see young girls who had it going on change seemingly overnight into insecure pubescent young ladies. It happened to me. I want to know WHY this happens. I’m glad you are working on making it less painful for your daughter.
Shari Broder saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 8:10 am
A really great, inspiring message, Carla!
Lynne saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 8:52 am
It’s a great message and I love the quote about creating a recipe. I really feel like that is my job as mom to two teen girls. EVERY DAY I tell myself to be quiet and listen; not try to solve problems and it’s SO HARD
I am always there for them and I want them to be independent and make mistakes. I want them to choose their path AND recognize their limitations. Be unstoppable by continuing to try; and keep trying until you find what works for you.
As I fearfully look toward college for one daughter in the next year, I want to help her with the “recipe”. Her dreams dictate one path, but her expectations, motivation, and limitations are all there with her too… think bad student, failed college experience, huge debts to carry…
It really is a different world for our children. Thanks for this thoughtful piece!
Jody - Fit at 59 saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 9:27 am
I constantly do this with my grandkids because I never learned it myself. I always thought I was stoppable & honestly the No’s i’ve gotten along the way reinforced that. I b=never want them to feel the way I di & struggle to get over it late in life like myself.
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 10:03 am
So much wisdom here! I always felt unworthy and like I wasn’t good enough. But I was told that a lot growing up. Every time I got an A, it was why didn’t you get an A+? I think that what caused me to turned to food sometimes because it was the only thing that made me feel better. I love that you’re helping your daughter see something in herself that many of us weren’t fortunate enough to experience.
Vikki saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm
Great post. It’s critical to teach our daughters that they are so much more than that image in the mirror and to find their core of inner strength.
Beth (GrannyBeth3) saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 5:52 pm
Girls have the ingredients for self-worth, but sometimes need the recipe.- Wow is this statement true. I try to model self-worth for my granddaughter. Watching me is a more important lesson than anything I could say.
Leanne | crestingthehill saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 7:14 pm
It’s tricky being a positive parent when you have your own self esteem issues. I am so proud when I look at my adult kids and see how strong their sense of self-worth is. It means I did something right while I was flying by the seat of my pants. A lot of my mantras were to do with NOT doing what my parents did – and treating my kids with respect but still expecting them to live honourably and with integrity – those were the most important life skills I wanted for them.
Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine saysFebruary 15, 2017 at 9:01 pm
I’ve definitely felt stoppable during times in my life, but that’s when I was really in a bad place. Now, I like to think that I’m unstoppable in my own little way. Maybe not in the ways I imagined as a child and younger adult, but definitely in ways that matter.
I think it’s critical to encourage other women instead of bringing them down. There really IS room for all of us to succeed. You’re such an awesome role model to your daughter and others!
Lisa Ricard Claro saysFebruary 16, 2017 at 7:41 pm
Great post! This is one I’m sharing.
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table saysFebruary 16, 2017 at 7:44 pm
I kind of want you to be my mom. Is that awkward? LOL! You kid is super-lucky to have you as a mom.
Side note: are you drinking beer from a straw in that first old pic?!