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Self Esteem \ Confidence / Positive Self Talk

I recently had the opportunity to teach a workshop with Girls Rock Detroit during a summer camp session. When I was presented the opporunity my mind went active with ideas. What would some one like me teach to a group of 16 young girls? I didn't want to focus necessarily on music or anything music related. I wanted to think of some universal truth to work on. That is when I remembered a motif in my work that I know humanity struggles with. A topic we all struggle with from time to time. 

Self Esteem.
Positive Self Talk.

There were short lived moments of doubt when I finally found a theme for the workshop.
Who am I to teach self esteem and confidence to kids?
When I asked myself this question the answer was a no brainer.

I work with people on their self esteem, confidence, and self talk anytime I do a photo session. These sessions always benefit my self esteem and confidence. Lately I've been doubting my images. I love photo sessions so much because I get to be around incredible people who teach me new things too. We learn from one another. We uplift each other. The best part of this planet is that we have one another. Why does it feel like I am the only one who just LOVES people? I can't help it. We are so amazing. I wonder why we don't get to celebrate one another more often. This is why I love birthdays. lol. Do we not have any time to celebrate ourselves and each other? That should be our first priority. 

It is incredible to see how little people think of themselves.
Who am I?
I am Megan LaCroix.
I can teach confidence to anyone and we are going to change the world with THIS WORKSHOP!!!!

The reality is we all need to be around confident people to learn confidence. I've spent the entirety of my adult life focused on these very topics. Evolution happened for me when I released the 'Something Real' photo series and exhibition. I knew I could have a very successful workshop knowing what I do now. The challenge for this workshop was finding activities or games that encourage self esteem and raise confidence. I started by asking myself if I knew the meaning of these words. Do I know what self esteem is? Do I know what confidence is? Can I identify my self talk? What perspective is it coming from? Positive or negative. 

My workshop brainstorming session turned into an iconic moment defining my week and prompting a lot of deeper thoughts. It reminded me why I make jewelry: To make people feel good. It reminded me of why I use specific materials and shapes like stars: To remind ourselves that we are stars. It reminded me of where I've been without much self esteem and confidence: Down in the dirt, playing a victim, never healing from my traumatic experiences. It reminded me how often we pay attention to the wrong things or don't give one another enough attention. It reminded me how early we need to talk to all kids about confidence and self esteem. Everyone needs it. Not just when we are kids though. As we get older friends are so important to have. We don't always need a parent or a person of authority. We need compassionate friends who don't judge us for feeling sad and can feel with us. Personally I struggle with friendship. It is hard for me to get close to people. I find that friends are who hurt you the most. I have a harder time keeping friends then I do having lovers. It's because we prey on one another. We suck each others energy like blood. We do it because we hate ourselves. Energy levels have been off balance for a while now. We need to give energy, create energy, not take and steal energy from one another. This is what I consider rape culture. How often do we reflect on elementary lessons that are crucial to how to we live as a community? How much energy are we giving to others?  When everyone has confidence and self esteem we are a lot less likely to be hurting or hurt others. There was nothing negative that could come out of me hosting this workshop except it not happening. 

Once I looked up the meanings of Self Esteem and Confidence and Self Talk the ideas started flowing. Looking at my pages of inspirational phrases and ideas I had to come up with a few activities that would encourage the girls to remember how important they are. I wanted these activities to be simple and effective. I had one hour of time for activities. At the very least I wanted everyone to leave feeling loved and smiling. I consulted a few blogs until I found one with prompts for kids that I could tweak for this workshop. I scribbled in my notebook and was ready for my workshop to take place. 

The day of I was nervous. I had a few moments where negative self talk tried to enter my consciousness. I saw this negative self talk as a reason for me to push forward. If negativity was trying to stop me from teaching confidence and self esteem that meant I was born to do this workshop. I let no form of negative self talk stop me from pushing forward. Now a days you have to push past the fears, the doubts, the insecurities just do what you want. When I got to the location of the workshop my nerves kicked in a bit harder. I did some breathing and kept myself relaxed. Then the tears were starting to collect. I thought to myself, NO. Be proud of this moment. But I realized quick as hell these tears are not because of fear or anything bad. I was proud of myself. I often celebrate my feats alone. I had tears of relief. Tears of joy. They were also tears of loneliness. Where is my team? Why do I feel so alone. I know we have to do things on our own to get anywhere. All I've ever wanted is a small team of people who care about what I do. Who care about the intellectual things I do. Who care about the work I do to empower people all over. Just to document how incredible putting a bit of love into something or someone sparks a growth that is not stoppable. I have a gift to uplift. 

Side note: I've always had this thing where I cry when I have to get in front of groups of people. As I get older I have worked so hard to maintain normal energy levels when I speak or have to perform in front of others. IT IS SO HARD TO PUT YOURSELF IN THE SPOTLIGHT. I struggle with having attention on me. I work on this struggle every day. Some times it feels like meeting with people is too much attention. There are so many ways we pay attention to one another. I feel like I've had a lot of the wrong things about myself paid attention. Now that I think about it though... Maybe it's because I haven't gotten the right attention at all. Does anyone feel like they have a serious emotional block that you can't quite put your finger on? Some times it feels so comfortable or nostalgic that what ever attachment I have to the behavior is rooted in my childhood when I was so young I can't recall the memory. I wonder what happened to me in past lives too. Why does it feel like I was born to cry? I often think about doing performance pieces where I just get on a stage with a microphone and just cry. Sob my eyes and heart out in front of a room of people. it's like we ALL NEED TO CRY. Maybe it's just me... I feel like  the world needs to cry together. So we can hold onto each other in a non sexual, non threatening way. Like can't we just admit we are afraid of one another and just hug instead of hate so outwardly in each others direction? 

I had to brush my emotions aside for the time being. There were more important happenings at hand. I had to host a workshop about confidence and self esteem. Standing on the ledge of my own insecurities I gathered the materials for the workshop with a couple Girls Rock Detroit Band leaders and we brought the girls outside. Everyone was invited to join the group of girls. It made me so happy to see the Band Leaders join in. Like I mentioned before confidence and self esteem need to be constantly worked on and molded. I started with a simple introduction and we did three activities. I wanted these activities to help mold a positive self narrative and encourage people to give compliments. A lot of self esteem and confidence in how we feel about ourselves is reflected into how we treat others. Being supportive of others is critical to how we feel about who we are. 

We did three activities:
1. Write a list of words that describe you. A list of positive words.
2. Write down something you are proud of that you accomplished.
3. Write your name on a piece of paper then give back to me.
    Mix the papers up and pick a new one.
    Give a compliment to the person whose name you picked. 

This is what I noticed about the first two activities. Almost every kid had a hard time making a list of three things they like about themselves and struggled to write a single accomplishment they were proud of.  A few kids had to leave the activity on the first activity. One girl started crying almost immediately. I was blown away. I had to push past the initial shock. What I was doing was so important and I was so thankful there were band leaders to comfort the kids who needed one on one attention in this moment. I mentioned before that confidence and self esteem are developing at an early age, this example is proof. In this little group of kids most were not comfortable using a loud strong voice let alone wanted to speak their minds about positivity involving themselves. I knew this was the most important thing I could be doing in the entire world. We need to spend more time congratulating ourselves for our smallest accomplishments. There is absolutely not enough celebration of our own lives going on. 

I made sure every girl in our group shared something off their list. Big or small. We used our stage voices and we complimented ourselves. We shared our love of self with one another. We celebrated ourselves. I found these two activities, while a bit isolating for anyone actually dealing with self esteem or confidence issues, to be very effective. There were people there for the kids who needed a pep talk and the rest of the group stayed together. 

The last activity turned out to be a favorite for the group. Amazingly we had the full group back together. Anyone who had to leave came back. We were whole! It was amazing that everyone wanted to participate. 😄😄 At first the girls were a little scared and worried about what we might do with their names. I assured them everything would be alright, that we were going to do something fun. Once everyone had a different person in the groups name, I told them about the activity. We are going to give the person on your piece of paper a compliment. Every girl gave a compliment to the person on their paper and it felt good to watch. Everyone was smiling and giggling by the end. The group enjoyed giving love to another person. It was beautiful to witness. The girls were asking if they could give each other more compliments. I had to hold back some tears. 

Before the workshop ended, I asked the girls to draw a smiley face on their piece of paper. I asked them to hold their smile up and everyone to look around at the faces. I told the girls to observe how everyone drew the same thing differently. I said appreciate yourself for who you are and that you do things differently. Everyone drew a smiley face but because we are all different we drew them differently. Don't compare yourself to others but appreciate that you do your own thing and they do their own thing. This workshop was full of little gems like this last one. It was an important opportunity to remind everyone of their importance. A reminder to be gentle to yourself. A reminder to stay loving in your experiences. Be yourself and that is more than good enough. 

I noticed the band leaders needed this activity just as much if not more than the girls. The first thing that was said to me as I checked in as the workshop leader was that they needed to sit in on the workshop. I smiled, giggled a little and happily invited this person to join us. We all need it. The girls needed to see their band leaders and how they celebrate themselves. We learn from one another and the girls obviously look up to their band leaders. AS THEY SHOULD. Every person involved with Girls Rock Detroit is an incredible person. You have to be to be involved with this kind of program. They are filling a void. A void created by a world with entities that wish to silence us and breeds self deprecation. Giving our young women a platform to not only express themselves but creatively! We need music. We need self esteem. We need more engagement with one another. It is up to us to lead by example for the generations to come, our generations and the generations already here. Believe it or not we can learn from people of all ages and appearances. 

No one is perfect. NO ONE. It is important that we express our emotions to one another. When we express our fears and doubts we are given the ability to overcome them. We have to trust one another enough to confide in one another. We have to love ourselves enough to build each other up. We have to express our fears and doubts without being afraid of judgement on ourselves or from others. These types of feelings go hand in hand with our confidence and self esteem. Maybe in another edition of this workshop I will work on expressing our doubts and fears and how to get over them. The first step is being honest with ourselves. Honest with ourselves enough to admit we feel these emotions and have these kinds of thoughts so we can grow from expressing them in a positive way. Keeping negativity inside is never beneficial. When we share our love it helps us feel better. We have to be careful though. There is a lot of toxic behavior out here. Remember I talked about people sucking energy out of us. We have to pay attention to the type of attention we are giving one another and our behavior. We have to be protective of ourselves. No one can take care of another person if they are not first taking care of themselves. Know when to walk away. Know when to take care of yourself. People are on their own paths. This means a lot of times they have to learn their own lessons. We can't always jump in and save people. 

It can be hard to watch people struggle but remain confident that they will learn the lesson. Don't judge or spread rumors. Just watch them grow. It is an important lesson for us all to learn how to observe people and let them be on their own time line. It is important for us to observe people growing because there is wisdom in learning from other peoples mistakes. having self esteem and confidence means you aren't willing to do things you don't want to or know you shouldn't. Having self esteem and confidence means you aren't going to be talked into doing things you don't want to do. It means the negativity taught to others has no impression on you. 

Over all this experience was a major point of growth for my entire person. It inspired me to have the courage to look at myself from the outside in and from another perspective. This workshop reminded me to be kind to myself and I am thinking of hosting other workshops like this one. There is a definite need in our communities to uplift ourselves and one another. 


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