Our thoughts about ourselves constitute the basis for self esteem. Everyone has self esteem whether they are low or high. Having healthy self esteem is crucial and it’s anchored on the decisions we make in life, the courage we posses in every situation, helps in accepting who we are no matter what the situation is, therefore, it helps in confronting every situations we are faced with in life.
Low self esteem should be and it can be avoided. If we make valuable choices and admire and love who we are, think positively about life and we endeavor to follow tips that help in discovering our life purposes; we can avoid the harmful effects of low self esteem that are generated by our own thoughts. Low self esteem generates mental health problems, anxiety, fear of criticism, withdrawal from social life, lack of self trust among other consequences.
To Brenda, one of the participants, “Self-worth is a result of self-esteem when you have understood who you are, that you are worthy and that your life matters. Therefore, self confidence is a factor to self-worth”
Fridah defined personal or self-worth from a religious perspective: our self worth comes from our God who created and placed us here on earth with a mission and all of us derive our self-worthiness from Him”
The shared position by every Girl who participated in A Girl of Purpose Session on 14th October under the theme: “Personal worth and self esteem in Girls” was that: Parents have crucial duty to assure, appreciate, and encourage their Children as much as possible, and it is from this that self esteem and self worth grows naturally as the child grows. This is critical factor for A Girl of Purpose in order to ensure the growth of self esteem and personal worth, therefore, enabling her eliminate cases of fear, and insecurity in her mind.
Lack of self-esteem also arises from lack of sex education accorded to young girls by parents. Right from ages 12-15 years, it’s important that young girls are told about their reproductive rights and health, what they need to do to protect themselves as echoed by the participants of this session. That cases of teenage pregnancies could be avoided if parents educate their children especially girls about dangers of premarital sex.
In our communities, sex education for girls is not a subject that is being talked about. If parents tell young girls; do not get pregnant without telling them what makes them get pregnant and how it happens, this doesn’t help them at all. Parents stop imposing rules on their children without telling them the reasons for such rules because this equally cannot help them, when they do not understand what makes a girl or woman pregnant.
The participants of this session gave some pertinent recommendations to the government:
That more emphasis on girl’s education in general is needed but more especially on girl’s sex education that empowers our young ladies with knowledge and confidence in fighting against low self esteem,
That it is only through education and appreciation that a Rwandan girl will be confident and able to understand that her life matters, and has great value for the development of self, community and country despite the fact that a girl child has been despised in the past.
There were some common understanding by the participants: personal worth is felt within self, no one can show you are worth if you can’t see it or understand it in your own life, most of the time in life, girls do not know their personal worth, so when so called boyfriends try to seduce them and tell them they are pretty; they think it’s a miracle from Heaven because they don’t believe in themselves.
You often find that less serious young men deliberately make it a form of happiness to manipulate our young girls because they know these young ladies do not believe they are worth anything at all.
“We would like to tell all of you who are here that you are worthy and you matter, believe it and tell it to all your girlfriends” said Purpose Development Strategist while concluding the session. She further reassured them that they should be confident for their future is bright and worthy.