Girls on the Edge…Actin’ Stupid!

In the middle of my 20’s I went through a break up that rocked my world.  It was the biggest struggle of my life getting over it.  I had lost all sense of who I was or where my future was headed without this boy in it.  I was a big ‘ol mess.  Having been raised with copious amounts of understanding who I was- I’d never really faced the challenges of a loss of identity, or had factors confusing that knowledge for me.  I didn’t even really know how to identify the problem, I just knew I was not myself, far from my best self, and extremely lost.  It was overwhelming and I wouldn’t wish that kind of nightmare on my worst enemy!!

Just like the book Dr. Sax wrote for the boys (see boys post here)…he wrote one for the girls and the four factors driving their crisis.  Again he supports a message that is extremely applicable for women of all ages.  Particularly one factor that I feel very passionate about…

Esteem; Where a girls self worth is coming from and where it should be coming from.  Girls act stupid because they don’t know who they are.  Fix this…and I think you fix the world!

Well months after this horrible breakup of mine, I was with my old Beehive teacher Debra, who had become a great friend of mine.  She taught me a lesson that day that changed my life.  A lesson that once I fully grasped and understood- was a turning point for me.

She told me that my self worth couldn’t come from a boy.  Things might not work out between us.  She told me my self worth couldn’t come from how much money I made or my job.  I might lose it.  She told me my esteem couldn’t even come from my husband because, – he could leave me, or die, or make poor choices.  She told me the source of my esteem couldn’t come from whether or not I was skinny, or pretty, or un-wrinkly –  what if something happened and I became deformed?  Debra taught me that the only place my self worth could come from was the one and only thing I had full control over…and that was… my standing before the Lord!  Everything else was out of my control.  Tragedy, misfortune, and unpredictability could strike at any moment with any other factor.  If my esteem were based upon those shaky foundations than I was going to be screwed when things didn’t go my way.  But if at the end of the day I could with full confidence stand tall before the Lord then I should and could- feel like a million bucks!

What a lesson!  It took a while for it to really sink in.  In fact for the next 6 months I repeated “My esteem only comes from my standing before the Lord.  It’s the only thing I have full control over!” hundreds of times in my head.  This was a principle that I knew to be true, then I began to understand it in a whole new light, and finally I began to live my life applying this truth in every aspect of daily living.  I came again to be able to discern fully who I was as a daughter of God, and from then on out have determined that to be the one and only source of my esteem.  There are a lot of other great things in life that I consider to be a nice cherry on top…but they are not the source of my esteem because I don’t have full control over them and they could be taken away at any moment.

If there was only one thing I could chose to share with the whole wide gigantic world, it would be this lesson!  So obviously I was obsessed when Dr. Sax had so much to say regarding the misplaced source of worth so many women struggle with.

“If your daughter can develop a sense of self that is deeply rooted, then she will grow up to be a resilient and self-confident woman.  …A sense of self is about who you are, not about how you look or what kinds of grades you get or who you’re friends with.  Emily defined herself as the smart kid.  Melissa was Jessica’s BFF.  Madison was the cute one.  Take that away, and each girl’s sense of self collapsed.”

This little excerpt is from the introduction of Dr. Sax’s book, “Girls on the Edge.”  The rest of the book goes into great detail of what factors he feels the loss of esteem can be attributed to and how to fix them.  Fascinating…and SOOO accurate.  It all boils down to esteem!  We gotta know who we are, and then act accordingly!  Trust me girls – you want to learn this lesson if you haven’t already.  And boys…trust me you wanna marry one that has!


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5 Responses to Girls on the Edge…Actin’ Stupid!

  1. Jenn Hoff says:

    Beautiful, sound advice.

  2. Nancy says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Ironically it is exactly what I needed to be reminded of. Earlier this evening in a conversation with a roommate, we discussed this very topic of self esteem and the constant struggle most women have with accepting ourselves… Bad hair days, awkward photos, laundry day outfits, tempers, obsessions, weaknesses and all. I discovered a few years ago that if I knew more about my relationship with Heavenly Father, and worked on building that up, along with becoming acquainted with the scriptures then all of that would help to wipe away the man-made doubts and negativity. With the knowledge that He is my creator and I am His friend, when I speak down about myself I am reminded that I am not showing much respect and or care for Him who created my very being. I love the Savior too much to just disregard my potential like that. Still… maintaining a healthy sense of self is a constant battle. Luckily for us, God is on our side.

  3. Jenn Hoff says:

    Hey! I know I’ve already commented, but this concept has really stuck with me and I find myself identifying instances and examples of it all around me. I’m supposed to speak at a fireside for the JCs/YCLs at girls camp this year, and I think this is what I should talk about. I, for one, really struggled when I was suddenly diagnosed with an incredibly painful life-changing disorder, and felt the loss of my identity. All of the sudden, I was in horrible constant physical pain and couldn’t get out of bed or take care of myself very well. I had to give up a wonderful career of photography that was my absolute passion, I couldn’t do any of my hobbies anymore (running, hiking, mountain biking, going for walks, going out with friends often, traveling), I couldn’t do service in the way I was used to (casseroles, dropping by for visits, watching kids), I couldn’t be independant like I always had been (moving back in with my parents and being on disability instead of having a job), couldn’t perform the typical church responsibilities I was used to (doing endowment sessions, going to all 3 hours of church, visiting teaching several sisters in their own homes), etc. This also began the year that I lost my sweet niece that I was helping to raise, and the year that I got a divorce.
    I have learned the concept that you outlined in this post, I’ve just never put it together quite so simply and eloquently. It is true- the only thing I have complete control of is my spirituality and my relationship with Heavenly Father. Everything else in life is an added bonus that really could drastically change in a minute. At the end of the day, it is extremely important to know that you are loved and valued by your Heavenly Father because of the person you are, and not what you can do. He is the one constant that never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever- while everything else in life is a variable.
    Thank you so much for writing this post, Tristen! I’m really excited to use this! I’m really grateful that you were so in-tune with the spirit to put this up. I know this message is for everyone, but I feel like you did it just for lil’ old me and the JCs of the Highlands Ranch Stake. 😉 Thanks! You are wonderful!

    • Tristen says:

      Jenn – it sounds like you’re going to do a great job speaking at the Young Women’s thing. Teach the girls this principle the sooner the better…you and I can obviously attest to what an important lesson it is. Thanks for the great comment and testimony of it all! xoxo

  4. Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing this one again. Always good to hear!

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