Wednesday, September 19, 2012



- What is your general opinion on self-esteem issues with Women and Girls?
Due to social pressures and the media self-esteem issues of Women and girls is significantly high. The pressures that they face from physical, educational, vocational, social and emotional standpoints are overwhelming. By definition I believe that individuals can “feel good” about themselves, having self-esteem, which may be contributed to by external factors, such as, beauty, career, material belongings, accolade, and accomplishment whereas the same individual can lack a deeper meaning of self-identity and worth. Self-worth is based on internal factors of beliefs, values, morals and connectedness to others.

-Do you think this is a International issue or more of an United State's issue?
I believe these issues are universal but may be more heavily laden here in the United States due the freedoms that are provided by our country. These influences are beginning to race across the world as the media stretches these ideas further and further.

- What is it about women/girls that make us constantly want to compare and bring down one another?
The world presents a message to concur and succeed at all cost, even if that is at the expense of someone else. Toxic Shame is at the core of these tendencies. When we don’t feel that we measure up to that which is put in front of us, good or bad, we feel shame. Many people are shame based, which is that when we make mistakes we mesh our identity with the mistake and experience feelings of worthlessness. One might say after making a mistake, “I am a failure” or “I am so stupid,” they may think they are the mistake. We all learn from a very young age a negative concept of bullying that if we are feeling bad about ourselves, maybe putting someone down will elevate how we feel about ourselves. This of course is false and ultimately continues the cycle of shame. There is a quote one once said that “The only person you should attempt to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”

- Being a girl and knowing how hard life and the pressures are on girls... why do you think we do not see that connection and want to help one another rather than compare, judge and bring down each other?

Toxic Shame!!! It takes a lot of effort to develop self-worth and properly manage healthy shame or guilt. An individual who has good self-worth, feels worthy of love and belonging, and can separate the mistakes they make from who they are as an individual and then turns their efforts of living to the needs of others and is based in Empathy. Another factor to consider is that many of the traditional values that women exemplify and have and the roles that they take on are being lost to the “new normal.” These traditional values and roles are not respected in our society.

-Is there a way you think we can approach this problem that would be more effective than what is being done now? How can we break the initial thought of pity and actually solve and help women with self esteem problems?

Turn off the TV, Social Media and return to core values and beliefs. The key to unraveling toxic shame is Empathy. Symptoms of the problem must be properly managed, networks of support must be built and service to others rendered. The fundamental principles of the gospel are to draw us to Christ. What better person to teach us of Empathy, than the one who truly understands us and the pain we experience in this life. By losing ourselves in service to others we serve God and in turn we find our self-worth.

- Why are men and women so different in dealing with each other? Is there something in our brains that are different then men's? Is it because we are wired to be more emotional than them?

I strongly believed we are created with different strengths and when unified in a healthy marriage these strengths are blessings to each individual. It’s as if men and women are on opposite ends of a spectrum and by working together they can migrate towards the center of that spectrum and create a balance. “Society Norms/gender roles” play into this to some extent.  For example, boys are taught not to show emotion while girls are taught that showing emotion is expected.  The strength that a woman has in her role as mother and nurturer demands that sensitivity to emotion. Communication differences between men and women are also major factors.

- What do you think media portrayals have to do with women's self esteem and how we treat each other?

As human being we mirror what is presented to us in social norms and by the media for acceptance and a sense of belonging. Every person on this planet is looking for a sense of self and identity. How men and women are portrayed in the media influences us from a very young age and we begin to develop patterns of what we believe to be acceptable behavior and the attitudes we develop. We need to be looking for these things in healthier places, rather than taking the worlds view as the know-all.

-What are some of the main causes of these problems?
Trauma and pain, generations of shame based individuals, lack of education, loss of values and morals, the world’s influence and pressures of temporary pleasure and false senses of happiness, abusive circumstances in all their formats, a lack of spiritual influences and a lack of obedience to healthy principles.

- What are some ways you treat girls and women with self-esteem problems? How can you dig deeper and actually help?
I follow a particular format knowing that shame is at the core of many mental health issues and addictions. The first of this 4 phase model is stopping the symptoms. Most people enter treatment in a Crisis phase. Our initial objective is to get someone back to baseline where they are better able to process core issues, where self-worth and esteem are located. It is nigh to impossible to simply stop something, especially deep seeded patterns of thinking and behaviors. There is no magic wand that can immediately “Stop It.” Tools and interventions must be implemented and symptoms managed to START something new in our lives, this is done by helping individuals change the frontal cortex of the brain by implementing dailies. Once a person is beginning to more appropriately manage their symptoms, they can begin to reach out and connect to others, Phase 2, building networks of support. One of our primary needs as humans is to have a sense of love and belonging, to be connected, yet shame destroys this connectedness and isolates us. Phase 3, is focused on self-esteem/self-worth. Individuals are better able at this point to begin assessing their value and accepting who they are. Finally, once an individual is in a healthier state they can do trauma work. Too often, unseasoned therapists start with trauma work, sending clients into a downward spiral because they are not healthy enough to appropriately deal with these issues. By this time in the work, individuals have developed tools and coping skills to manage symptoms that may arise when they are triggered by the experiences of trauma in their lives.

- Does this issue come from family issues or other outlets or more from within the individual?
Nature vs. Nurture??? I say both. I believe we come into this world, all at different levels of progression. We are then influenced heavily by the environments and circumstances of life that impact our identity and worth.

-Do you believe movies like Mean Girls and other high school type movies idolize/promote emotional and physical fights between females?
Yes, Movies/media create ideas that leave marked impressions on our ever developing minds. Our youth are being berated in every which direction by these negative ideas and they are becoming more widely accepted by our society. We must be vigilant at teaching our children from the very beginning, principles of love and belonging. 

-What are some types of tactics that girls use the most against one another to make the other feel bad? How are these tactics less/more dangerous than how boys handle fights with one another?
For boys, physical violence is primary. “You hurt me by taking my toy, I hit you, you hit me back, we say sorry, avoid thinking about this on emotional terms and we move on.” With girls, emotional games are generally the format because this is what hurts the most.
Girls are thinkers and feelers and these types of fights cut to the core.

-What are some ways that you recommend that women/girls can do FOR THEMSELVES to help their self-esteem, or stop their bullying?
We do what we know. Women must work to change the future by starting with themselves and what they know. This can be accomplished through education, treatment if needed, self-care, positive and healthy connections with others and developing values. Believing that we can change and break the cycles that are pasted on to us. As individuals become healthier they then model that healthiness to their children and the next generation.

-What can OTHERS do to help out girls they feel might feel depressed, bullied, etc.?
Reach out to them, get them help and model a sense of love and belonging.

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