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The Cleft Self-Esteem Workshop          

Self-esteem is a huge issue for most teens, and especially those dealing with cleft lip or cleft palate... I know it certainly is for me. Confidence is something we all deserve. We are worth caring for ourselves and holding our heads high. Hopefully you keep these ideas in mind for boosting your inner happiness and security with who you are. Read on and take care!

  • Point out positive attributes of others that don't involve physical appearance. (Over time you and those around you will begin to notice different categories of beauty in others and in within.)
  • Keep the lines of communication open. If something feels bad or not right, it probably isn't. Letting go thoughts, worries, and questions to others is completely healthy and natural. Find anyone that you trust and just start talking.
  • Position yourself with your shoulders back, your head held high, or with a smile. This shows that you are confident. Even if you are insecure, over time people will see you as a strong person and you may see it yourself.
  • Acknowledge your feelings. It is okay to feel sad, angry, and overwhelmed. Don't fight them. Let them come and when they do, think about how you feel. Sit a while with the feelings, and quietly just concentrate on it. This was a type of meditation I learned a while ago. When some time has passed, take a deep breath, and continue on with your day. Remember: do not let it take over you, just let it be a part of you.
  • Express yourself. Express yourself through whatever makes you happy, whether it be painting, poetry, graffiti, music, cooking, etc. It is just as important to focus on reality and seriousness as it is imagination and creativity. They are just another way to let off in insecurities... So make time for yourself... and express!
  • Many people say that it is only the inside that matters. I don't believe that. I believe that the inside is very, very important... but so is the outside. One has to be able to accept themselves fully, not just partially. So, I learned this on Tyra to help feel okay with your appearance: take a few minutes once a week and just look at yourself in the mirror. Then, tell yourself one thing you physically like about yourself. Over time, increase the frequency that you do this. Personally, I liked to keep track of what I said, so what I was feeling seriously crappy, I would read about the great parts that make up myself. Tomorrow morning, start doing this activity, and you may see a change!
  • Take time to relax. Let go of the stresses and gross feelings inside for just a few minutes a day. It truly, truly helps. Want some examples of how to unwind? Take an oatmeal bath, read a book, lay outside, meditate, set calming music and lay in the dark, put your feet over your head (it sounds crazy, but scientifically, it works), do breathing exercises, go for a quiet walk, take a nap, etc.
  • This tip I found on Oprah: don't just focus on what your body appears as to you or others. Instead, take time to give thanks to it, not because of your features, but because of what it does for you. Your body keeps you alive. It pumps blood through you, sends signals down the nerves, gives you air to your lungs so that you can still be here on Earth, and so much more. You are a magnificent body, taking millions of steps to keep yourself healthy. Thank you, Body! Think about it. Praise the body! 
  • The last tip I'm going to share with y'all today is one that you are probably told at least 25 times a year... eat healthy and be active (yoga or window shopping, even!). It scientifically is proven to make you happier. Do some research and find it out yourself! It is an amazing idea, and even the smallest changes can make the largest improvements.

You are an AMAZING person