Today was a good day. Despite the fact that I've had a wicked flu for a week. Today I watched as 20 seventh grade students looked at themselves in a bright yellow hand mirror and told themselves that they were worthy. Beautiful. Handsome. Smart. Strong. An amazing basketball player, dancer, video game player, friend, son, daughter. They told themselves that they mattered. I'd say that watching something like this certainly, in my eyes, constitutes a GREAT DAY.
We are into our 2nd week of the 14 week "love and kindness" Farley Project Friends Curriculum. We are currently working with 20 seventh grade students at a charter middle school in Inglewood, CA. Last year we did a series of larger assemblies with the school, and this year we are working with a smaller group, trying to change the culture of their behavior, trying to get them to love themselves so they can, in turn, be beacons of light within the school.
I remember the first time I was told to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that I was beautiful. It was not too long ago, a few months ago really. I was working with an NLP doctor so I could deal with all of the flashbacks I had been having from seventh grade -- a lot of them have been coming up over the past year since I've been running the charity and working with the kids, and I wanted to find a way to deal with them. I had a few sessions with the doctor, the first one he had me go back to the time when I was beat up at the end of my street. I had to look at my little self and give her confidence, I gave her confidence and put her back on the school bus and essentially "changed the story."
It's all been super powerful, but the most powerful for me, was when he asked me to grab the hand mirror on the floor. "Look at yourself and tell yourself that YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL," he said.
I started laughing like a little girl. I asked him why I was laughing, because I truly didn't know why I thought this was funny. He told me I was laughing because I was nervous. It took me a while to do it, to actually say it out loud. At first I would look in the mirror but I'd be looking at my nose or my mouth. And he finally said "look into your own EYES. Eye to eye, and say it out loud." So I did. I looked at myself, at the scared eyes looking back at me, and I said quietly "you are beautiful." And then the tears came. Not a floodgate of tears, but a single tear streamed down my face from each eye.
He told me to say it to myself every morning and evening until I stopped crying. Say it until I believe it. It took 5 days before I really FELT it and believed. Then I really started in with the affirmations! "I am AMAZING! I am the best publicist in the country! I am worthy of all of the love in the world! I am a beautiful dancer!" And on an on I went. I'm not sure WHY it's so damn hard at first and I challenge all of you reading this to try it.
I can't tell you how my days change when I give myself a positive affirmation in morning.
It's a nice change from years of beating myself up.
So that brings me back to the school...today was the week in our curriculum where we introduce self love and my goodness was it POWERFUL!! These kids are so brave, they're so strong. Imagine if every middle school student around the country was telling themself that they're worthy?! The world would change. This is how it starts and I will keep doing what I can to make a difference!!
Feeling loved, beautiful and worthy,