Self-Love: A Vaccine

Written by Christy Whitman August 6, 2012

We live in a culture obsessed with physical appearance and a media that ceaselessly equates outer beauty with inner worth. Before they even hit their pre-teenage years, many young people have already internalized a powerfully destructive message: My worth is defined not by who I am, how I think, or what I enjoy, but by the way I am perceived by others. Dove, in its widely acclaimed Campaign for Real Beauty, brought to light the impact of these messages on girls in particular: Six out of 10 girls stop participating in hobbies like gymnastics, dance, and swimming – not because they lose interest in them but because they feel self-conscious about their appearance. Every time our kids relinquish a piece of their authentic selves – whether by abandoning a favorite pastime, forcing their bodies to conform to an unrealistic standard of beauty, or looking to an external source to validate their inner worth – they become more vulnerable to messages that are designed to prey upon their vulnerability.

Our children are inherently lovable, capable, valuable, powerful, and free to do whatever brings them joy. These are the truths that the Enlightened Kid Program seeks to instill in every child – as early on as possible. This inner foundation of self-love acts like a vaccine that protects them from the self-deprecating messages that exist all around them, while emboldening them to be who they are, to do what they love, to say “no” when appropriate, and ultimately, to discover the unique purpose they are here to fulfill.

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