Striving for Perfection
Many women feel pressure to be perfect. We are led to believe that perfection equates to happiness. But, with more wisdom and life experience, we can see through this fallacious notion and choose not to succumb to external pressures to look or behave in a certain way.
For teens, it is different. Many do not have the ability to protect themselves from the message that perfection equals happiness. Teens are constantly exposed to images of perceived perfection, on television and social media, and most of those images are entirely focused on outer appearances- a sexy body, trendy clothes, luscious lips, and flowing hair.
More often than not, when teens see these so-called perfect people living ideal lives, they strive for the same. But in an effort to obtain something that is impossible to achieve, teens experience frustration, self-doubt, low self-esteem, or worse.
A Slippery Slope
The preoccupation with perfection takes girls down a slippery slope. It undermines their confidence and devalues inner qualities, like kindness, compassion, and gratitude. When girls start placing greater importance on how they look rather than who they are and what they are capable of, their sense of self-worth weakens and damages other areas of their life.
With a poor sense of self, girls are more likely to disengage from normal activities like going to school or going out with friends. They are less likely to speak up in class, more likely to be reactive or defiant at home, and more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol.
Promoting a Positive Change
If we want our teen girls to grow up to be confident leaders, positive role models, and happy individuals, we must support them in realizing that their inner qualities create their outer beauty.
We must teach them self-acceptance and self-love. We must encourage them to celebrate differences rather than constantly compare themselves.
A Powerful Practice
A practice that supports these positive beliefs is yoga. Introducing yoga or the principles of yoga to girls at an early age will help mitigate the overwhelming pressure they feel to be a perfect teen.
When teens learn yoga, they gain access to a more a positive set of beliefs and attitudes that support a strong self-esteem and positive self-image. The learn how to shield themselves from the pervasive message that a perfect image is everything.
How Yoga Helps
1. Yoga encourages a strong, confident attitude. Yoga promotes self-acceptance, non-judgment, and community. It teaches teens to respect themselves and make self-empowering choices.
2. Yoga embraces the uniqueness of every body. Yoga attracts people of all shapes and sizes and reminds us that strength comes in many forms. On the mat, girls are reminded that each day is different and their bodies are always changing. They are encouraged to find gratitude for what their bodies can do.
3. Yoga is free from competition. Yoga is not about winning, nor being the best. Rather, it is about honoring yourself and being open to other points of view. Yoga encourages compassion, kindness, and non-violence.
4. Yoga reduces stress. Yoga offers time and space to find balance and peace. On the mat, girls learn to use their breath to calm their bodies and relax their minds.
Almost all yoga classes end in a motionless pose called Savasana, which improves the skill of non-action and enhances the ability to relax.
If your teen is not into the physical practice of yoga, consider how you can introduce her to the principles of inner-beauty, self-love, self-acceptance, and celebrating differences through modeling and heart-to-heart conversations.
Encourage her to engage with positive role models both on and off-line. People, like life-coaches, who can reinforce your message and guide her toward feeling and being her best.