As I typed the title of this article, I cringed because I know oh so well how true it really is. Now, I don’t mean “dying to” in the sense of wanting, longing, dreaming, as some might think. There are some who are actually dying, being disfigured or harming themselves in other ways in an effort to transform their bodies to what they consider to be “beautiful!”
I am not quite sure when this all happened, but things have gone from small to big in a bad way. It used to be that women were dying to be thin, but now it is big posteriors, big lips, and big breasts that some are actually dying to have.
I am reminded of a conversation that I had with a parent not long ago, as she sought out advice from me. Her daughter had been begging her to get butt implants and the mom was very close to relenting. She said, “Some of her friends have done it and they haven’t had any complications so far. They have all gone to the same person and are happy with the results.” I actually wanted to scream through the phone at her, but instead I maintained my composure and asked, “So parents are really paying thousands of dollars for their teenagers to have these procedures?” Why would any parent do this?
She then revealed that a licensed professional had not done the procedures. They had actually gone to a “pumper,” which was much cheaper. I anger at the thought of someone who would take their child to anyone for such a procedure, but especially someone who is performing it that is not professionally trained or licensed.
There were so many things wrong with this, but I would have to begin with the parents. Why would one even consider putting their child at risk just to give them a false sense of beauty? No silicone or any other kind of “enhancement” will help them become a well rounded (no pun intended) and successful person. Beauty or fulfillment has nothing to do with how large or small any of your body parts are, except for the size of your heart.
Another issue is self-esteem. There are so many who know not their worth or the greatness they have within. Instead they choose to be in the copy-cat, cookie cutter mode and be content with other’s definition of beauty.
In a few weeks I will share the stage with a young lady who struggled with low self-esteem and negative body image. For several years she thought about getting implants and finally made the decision to do it. She went to someone who was not licensed or trained and did the procedures out of her basement. Although she did not die, she lost both legs and arms because of it. Due to major infections and numerous surgeries they had to do the amputations.
She and I discussed last week in a telephone conversation another case that is pending. The young lady in this case was not so fortunate and lost her life after receiving implants by a non-professional.
I am on a mission to empower women and teens to start and continue the journey of self-love; to stop defining themselves by the wrong body parts. I want them to know that where they will find true joy is on the inside of them.
Teresa L. Holmes, The Esteemologist
Executive Director, Bounce Back DNA Movement
If some took a huge chug of self-esteem like they did their favorite cup of Joe each morning, there would be a lot less insecurity, jealousy, bad decisions, and even crime, not to mention overall bad attitudes.
Many say that coffee is an essential and necessary part of living to them, which is fine, but so should be the overall emotional evaluation of his or her life. If some would take the time to brew up high self-regard and ensure that they are self-full just like they do their coffee cup each morning, eliminated would be that negative self talk and ongoing fear that keeps them from moving forward into their destiny. They would also be able to break bad habits caused by low self-esteem, to take better control of their environment, and who they allowed in it.
Personally, I am not a coffee drinker, but I do fill up each morning like the coffee drinkers do. I pour into myself the ingredients I know I need to have a fulfilling and prosperous day. The main ingredient is self-acceptance. It allows me to feel a general sense of happiness about myself, despite my shortcomings. Next I pour in some gratitude. I consider every day a new life and remain grateful for all that I encounter, even those tough times that I have every now and then. Then comes some “filter.” That is to keep out all the negative people. As I tell my clients and mentees, when you know, love and value yourself, the last thing you need is some Negative Nancy or Ned trying to bring you down. Ah, and then comes the attitude of servitude. It really gives some amazing flavor. It allows me to see other’s realities, all I have been gifted, and how fortunate I really am. In addition it enhances my sense of self-worth to know I can add great value to others in need. Fortunately, I have had a serving attitude from a very early age, but I was missing one of the main ingredients for many, many years…the one of self-acceptance.
I don’t always hit the mark with my “concoction.” Sometimes it is too weak or perhaps too strong. Sometimes I don’t mix in enough of one thing or another and I end up some days not quite my “norm.” Some would say that I am far from “normal” most days and that is quite okay. I don’t allow anyone else to define what normal is for me. Mine is unique and designed for me and not for everyone to understand.
I don’t have to have the “perfect” mix everyday. The important thing is that I know what is needed. I can have an off day once in a while and still be okay with it.
What about you? What are you pouring in “your cup” each morning? And no, not the one with your favorite morning beverage. What are you pouring to ensure that you are effectively serving others, to be your best self and to step fearlessly toward your dreams?
Teresa L. Holmes, The Esteemologist
Yesterday as I stood in a long line at the tax office, I noticed people glancing at something in another line and stepping around it with disgust. As I looked closely, I noticed it was a pair of shoes. Why were they there? I then scanned the room to see if there was someone with no shoes on.
In the sitting area, I noticed a young lady with a crying baby that she was rocking and four other children, two sitting quietly and two others who were quite rambunctious. I could tell by the look on her face that she was extremely frustrated, as she glanced from the crying baby to the pair of shoes that was supposedly reserving her space.
I left my place in the line to see if I could help her. She explained that she had been sent there by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Someone at her church had given her a van and she needed a tax receipt before she could get it registered and get a license plate for it.
I asked if I could hold her baby and keep an eye on the other children while she took care of her business. I told her to take the place where I was standing in line and the lady who had been standing behind me graciously nodded yes, when she approached her and asked if she could step in.
I rocked the baby, but how would I keep the other four occupied? I thought about what my toddler granddaughter liked and pulled out my phone to find some videos. “The Wheels on the Bus” was the first thing that popped up and as I hit play they all gathered around to watch. Yes Lord!!! The next video up was Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. I sat there thanking God for technology and a granddaughter who had those videos downloaded on my phone!
As the mom returned with tears in her eyes, she thanked me over and over again. I did not know her story, but I could tell by her eyes that she was someone who had been deeply hurt; someone whose self-esteem had been deeply crushed. I had dedicated my life to working with women just like her and I knew she was feeling helpless and like she didn’t matter.
I offered to help her to her car. She stated that she was walking, as she pointed to a stroller over in the corner. It was seated for three. I had never seen anything like it before, but was happy that someone had thought of it. As she had no car seats for the children, which is a state law, there was no way for me to give her a ride. I took her name and contact information then gave her my business card. I knew this was someone with whom I wanted to follow-up. I wanted her to know that there was hope, a better life out there waiting for her and those who were willing to help her find her way.
As I took my place at the end of the line, I thought about all the people in that place who had watched the young lady struggle. Not only that, they had looked at her disgustedly. They had looked at the shoes that she had left to mark HER space and thought to themselves, how dare she. Actually, I thought it was a brilliant move! She had done so because she thought others would respect her situation, but instead she got silently ridiculed and shunned for it. They had no idea what her story was or how she got into her situation, they simply decided to judge her.
Why do we judge, instead of lending a hand? Why do we assume we know someone’s story without really knowing it? Why do we not reach out to see if we can make someone’s life better in some small way, instead of being disgusted by it?
“We work on ourselves in order to help others, but also we help others in order to work on ourselves.”….Pema Chodron
I have always loved celebrations, but my greatest joy came when I learned to celebrate someone besides myself. This was not an easy feat for me. What I found when I truly started to self-reflect was that my selfishness and insecurities had me believing that when I celebrated others, I diminished my own self-worth.
As I grew to love myself, know my own value and stopped comparing my self-worth to that of another, I learned that honoring and celebrating others for their accomplishments was actually more fulfilling.
I am now the Executive Director of a movement called Bounce Back DNA. Within that movement, I, along with others, not only share our stories of triumph. We also have the distinct pleasure of honoring others at various honors program.
I personally don’t just stop there, however. I also honor my team for their accomplishments. This past weekend I was blessed to honor our teen movement leader, Taylor Smith, for her outstanding contributions. Taylor is also an overcomer. She has an amazing bounce back story. She is a victor over bullying, self-harm (cutting) and contemplated suicide.
Since joining the movement, Taylor has absolutely excelled. She is now a published author, public speaker, advocate against bullying and a positive example of where patience and tenacity can take you. Teen Bounce Back DNA is blessed because she chose to be a part of it.
If you are interested in learning more about the Bounce Back DNA Movement please join our Face Book page or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a teen or know a teen who may be interested in the Teen Bounce Back DNA Movement, please join or direct them to join our Face Book page or send an inbox message to Anita Inman, Director, Teen Bounce Back DNA or Taylor Jade (Smith), Teen Bounce Back DNA Leader.
Just as your reaction to personal victories defines you, so does how you respond to your mistakes. I used to be the Queen of beating myself up when I faltered. Not because I was striving to be perfect, but because I was so concerned about what others might think.
This went on for many years, until I attended a business conference for work. One of the speakers there said, “No matter if you tear yourself to pieces when you make a mistake or give yourself permission to do so, you are still going to make others. So why not just accept that your are not perfect, there will be missteps, and make a vow to learn from them.”
That speaker changed my entire perspective on how I looked at my mistakes and even on how I viewed those of others. I became more forgiving and as I began to learn more and more about self-esteem I found that putting myself down because of every little (sometimes big) mistake, I was actually diminishing my self-value. I also learned that there was value in making mistakes. They help you grow, teach you lessons and allow you to pass those lessons on to others.
Another thing I learned when I looked at the mistakes of my past was that I was reluctant to take responsibility for them. There was always some excuse (that I disguised as a reason) or it was someone else’s fault.
Now I own my messes, and believe me I can still make them. However, I have learned to take responsibility for my actions, no matter how much strife it may cause me. You too may be an “excuse maker” when it comes to your mistakes, but trust me it is NOT helping you when you fail to take responsibility. When (not if, because you will) you make a mistake drop the excuses, accept what you did with no regret, and go directly into repair mode.
I started out writing on a completely different topic, but then got into a conversation with a colleague and she asked THE question! The one that lights a fire inside of me and makes me want to talk for hours. “Why are you so passionate about storytelling?” Ha, too bad she couldn’t see that huge small that broke out across my face through that telephone. She was soon to learn that she had opened up the floodgates with that one.
I can talk for hours and hours about the power of storytelling. My number one reason for sharing my story, the good and the not so good, is to help others break ongoing cycles and heal from the pain of their pasts. I want them to know that there is an abundance of sunshine after the storm. However, they must push through to the other side to see it. My story, the one with all the obstacles, detours, twists and turns, will prove to them that they can go through some real life turmoil and still end up happy and fulfilled.
What I have found on this journey of transparency is that there are not many who actually see the value in it or share my deep rooted passion. Unfortunately, many want to simply bombard you with facts and statistics, but it is the compelling stories that are the most memorable and that get the most attention. Why? Because stories spark up emotion in others and as the saying goes, “People may forget your name, your face, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Stories also travel. When someone is touched by your compelling story, they will in turn tell it to another. And once they see how your powerful story is helping them and others, they gain the desire and the courage to also share their own.
As the founder and executive director of a movement that travels the world sharing personal stories, I have witnessed so many breakthroughs, healing, forgiveness and it is a feeling like none other. Through the Bounce Back DNA Movement, we also provide other platforms, through empowerment calls, live events, and social media where other women and teens can now “Speak Up & Speak Out.”
If you have a story that you would like to share and are searching for a platform, please message us at email@example.com and we will consult with you on how to do so. Also, if you are still searching for the courage to tell your story and/or are struggling with low self-esteem or low self-confidence, please reach out to us as well. We have team members that can help you.
When I look back, it was very obvious that some family members were struggling with low self-value based on the decisions they made and the consequences they endured because of them. However, I became very good at covering up how I truly felt about myself. The masks I wore were many.
Eventually the weight from carrying them began to wear me down and finally I was forced to remove them all deal with what was underneath. What I found when the masks went crashing to the floor one by one, was a broken little girl who had grown into a broken teenager and then a broken woman. A woman who had made one bad decision after another, but was able to hide them. One who had gotten involved in all the wrong relationships, and one who had accepted people into her world that were not there because they cared for her, but for what they could get from her. I found someone who did not love, value or even take the proper care of herself. And with that discovery, I vowed to change these things no matter what…no matter how hard it might be.
I went on a journey of self-discovery; one where I would learn why I thought, felt and acted the way I did and what I needed to do to change it. I learned about self-esteem, self-respect, but most of all I learned to love myself. I learned that I was put on this earth to give from my heart and my soul, but not to be taken advantage of by anyone.
My learning did not end there. I was renewed, refreshed, revived and I knew that there was a reason for it. This couldn’t be just about me. There had to be much more to his journey. I wanted to share what I gained through this process. I had to find a way to do it. There was no doubt to me that there were many other women out there who were also broken.
I started mentoring, teaching and sharing my storing with others and it left such an amazing feeling. I knew I had to continue it. Eventually, I established a coaching practice and I named it Full ‘Steem Ahead (major focus on self-esteem). I now knew how important it was to value yourself and without that foundation everything else would likely crumble.
Things began to evolve and evolve and I continued on my quest for learning and then sharing. Fast forward a few years and I am not only the Executive Director of Full ‘Steem Ahead but also the Igniting Passions Globally and Bounce Back DNA Movement.
One of the things I discovered was the power in my journey…in sharing my personal story. And I wanted other women and teens to feel that same power and to know that their story too could help others. Through both movements I continue to share my story, but also provide platforms for other women and teens to join me. I now travel the world speaking, networking and empowering others.
If you are hindered by low self-esteem, feel the need to be empowered, or would like to share your story, please visit us at www.bouncebouncednamovement.com. We are here to help you.
Teresa L. Holmes
Initially networking was something that I absolutely despised. In fact, I disliked talking to anyone that I didn’t know personally. At one point, attending business conferences, trainings and networking events would actually send me into a tailspin. Not only did I dislike communicating, I made every effort I could to avoid it, even going as far as to leave the room when I felt I may be asked to speak up about something.
What I later realized after doing an extensive deep dive on myself and exploring some of my issues, was that this was all the result of my low sense of value and belief that I had in myself. When I fixed those issues, I actually started to enjoy networking and attending business affairs, but more importantly than that I learned the true value.
If done properly, networking can not only open the door to career advancement, it can be business enhancing. It can lead to new clients, collaboration opportunities, sponsorships, and so much more.
I personally met my business attorney at a networking event and we have gone on to collaborate in trainings, work with non-profits and do a massive amount of other things. She introduced me to the director of a mentoring program in a neighboring city and several current sponsors for my movement. I can’t begin to tell you how much of a divine connection she has been and to top it off, she is a master networker a few and I have learned some very valuable things by just being around her.
I will share some of the tips with you that she has passed on to me. I am certain you will also find them of great value:
TIP #1: Give Before You Receive
One of the biggest mistakes that many make is expecting to receive before they give. If you want to form fruitful and long lasting relationships with others, you need to show them what it is in it for them rather than ask what is in it for you. Always seeking out favors and not giving is a sure way to lose some potentially valuable connections.
Tip #2: Quality Over Quantity
Instead of racking up the numbers, focus on cultivating deep personal connections. It is pointless to have an abundance of business cards and email addresses and not leverage any relationships. Follow-up is key after making the initial contact. Not all relationships will be fruitful, but you are sure to find some very beneficial.
Tip #3: Don’t Just Follow Those Who Appear “Shiny”
Truthfully, some people are very good at stretching their truth and over inflating their profile. And even if there is no exaggeration there is no guarantee that what they have to offer you, or you to them, is something that will be valued. Take time to get to know a person and don’t write someone off just because they are not bragging and boasting about. Subsequent conversations with them will reveal to you whether it is a relationship that you would like to continue.
When done effectively, networking can be the key that opens many doors and lead to many personal and career enhancing connections. And the great thing is that in this era there are so many different platforms to connect with others. You would be hard pressed to find a valid reason for not doing so. So no more excuses. It is time to get it started.
One thing that I have essential and I would also highly recommend is to develop a networking action plan. List some areas where you could use help and where you could help others. Also include in your plan the names of some of those you would like to connect with (I still have several on my plan and I find myself always adding). As you list your names, check to see if there is anyone with whom the two of you are mutually connected. Also check out some networking events that you would like to attend and place them on your calendar.
For many, many years low self-esteem held me in bondage and as I was coming out, I made a list of things that could help me. One of them was using positive quotes to help inspire and move me forward. To this very day, I have each of the following quotes on my wall to help keep me uplifted, driven and focused.
1) “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”….Buddha
2) “Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.”….Eleanor Roosevelt
3) “Self-care is never a selfish act…it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”….Parker Palmer
4) “Why should we worry about what others think of us; do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?…Brigham Young
5) “Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.”…Andre Gide
6) “You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.”…Yogi Bhajan
7) “If you are not good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.”….Barbara De Angelis
8) “When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits…anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.”…Kim McMillen
9) “It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.”….Sally Field
10) “There are days that I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself.”….Brian Andreas
Along with these quotes that I read almost daily, there is another saying that I recite when I am doubting myself. As stated by Oprah Winfrey, “Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgment of others.”
What I didn’t tell her, because this conversation really needed to be about her, is at that time, I also was not being authentic. I didn’t let her know that just like her I too was disrespecting myself by choosing not to be who I was meant to be. For me, one of the issues was allowing others to make major choices for me and/or to influence very important decisions in my life. The first major choice I ever allowed someone to make or have a major influence over+ was my career choice. My grandmother, who I spent much of my time with and a family friend/mentor found me to be kind and nurturing. Because of this they thought that I would make the “perfect nurse.” I loved helping others and respected their opinions, but the truth is that if it had been left up to me, that would have not been my career choice. What I know now that I didn’t accept then is that it was always my choice. However, I didn’t trust in myself enough to make that decision and found myself doing something that was not totally fulfilling for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love nursing, and I did get some joy out of it, but it was not my true passionate.
Then and throughout my lifetime I have paid huge prices for not expressing my true wants and needs and for not believing in myself enough to make my own choices. Throughout those years I put on a façade, making others believe that I was perfectly happy. I defined my self-worth by how “perfect” others thought I was and I continued to live my their “standards.” But one day I encountered someone who saw right through me and it didn’t take him long to call me out on him. So there I was stripped down to my fakeness and it was then that I started my journey to authenticity.
Believe me when I say that that this is a long, hard journey. There are absolutely no shortcuts. Finding your true self takes commitment and an extensive amount of inner work. It takes diving deep into your inner mess and feeling all the pain you have repressed. It takes forgiving yourself and anyone else who has hurt you. For me it also took stripping away that façade of perfection and accepting that neither I or anyone else was a perfect person. Through my journey of becoming a true and authentic person I found the strength to become bold an courageous. I discovered a level of self-respect that I had never known and became impeccable when I spoke about myself to myself and others.
I am scheduled to have lunch with my friend this weekend and I am excited about what I have to convey to her. Another friend, who will also be joining us, asked if I am concerned that she will be upset with me. The truth is, no I am not. I no longer concern myself with the potential of being rejected. I have made being authentic a daily practice and along with it comes embracing my truth and being brave enough to share it freely!