Comparing yourself to others, believing that they are smarter, prettier, cooler, and better at things is one of the severe consequences of a drop in confidence. This is especially concerning when you learn that the confidence levels in girls tends to drop significantly (about 30%) during the ages of 8 to 14.
There is a clear correlation between self confidence and comparing oneself to others. So, it is important to learn how we can encourage young girls to quit comparing and get to building confidence! Unfortunately, learning how to be confident is not always easy, for young girls.
Here are three ways that you can help your daughter end those comparisons for good:
#1 – Explain the meaning of ‘positive self-concept’
Creating a positive self-concept is one of the most powerful barriers against the urge to compare yourself to others. It essentially means – the way you see yourself. You can help grow a positive self-concept (a positive way you see yourself) by encouraging your daughter to compare herself with her own past, present, and future, rather than comparing herself to others.
How is this done in practice? Let us pretend that your daughter just played a game of soccer. Another girl on the team scored the winning goal. Your daughter spends the entire car ride home comparing herself to the other girl. Focus on the things that she did right during the game, like being a team player. You can also remind her how far she has come and tell her that a year ago she would have been overjoyed to play a game as well as this one! By looking at her own progress and not the progress of the other girl, she will start to learn how to pay attention to her own strengths.
Practising self-compassion is the greatest love you can show to yourself. We (females) are the hardest on ourselves and teaching your little girl to give herself a break and focus on and be grateful for her talents and natural strengths will help her love and appreciate who she is – have a positive self-concept – which creates incredible momentum in building sustained self-confidence.
#2 –Remember that the abilities of others do not diminish her own
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin. Everybody has the right and the ability to thrive. That doesn’t mean the person next to them can’t, too!
Let’s go back to the soccer game example. If your daughter focuses on the great assist she made, and how she helped encourage her team when things were looking down, she’ll have no reason to focus on the achievements of the girl who scored the game-winning goal! Everybody on the team is there for a reason, and they can’t succeed if everybody is too caught up in comparing themselves to others. Be inspired and not threatened by others’ success.
#3 – Recognize negative talk amongst friends
Peer groups are powerful influencers on the way our girls think about and see themselves – making it one the most effective gateways that negative self-talk and self-comparisons catches on and grows. Your daughter will inevitably end up with friends who compare themselves to others. The parenting challenge is to teach her to be able to recognize this negative talk and nip it in the bud. It’s about language and the awareness of it’s power. Imagine your daughter throwing in a compliment in a conversation where other girls are talking about being jealous, and “hating” on other girls. This is confidence at play – a superpower bound to serve her for life!