HOW TO ENHANCE
This video helps young adolescents:
Become aware of how their level of self-esteem affects their lives.
See the relationship between their self-esteem and the kinds of choices they make.
Become aware of many of the things that they and other people do that either enhance or undermine their self-esteem.
Learn some ways to enhance their self-esteem.
Become sensitized to the ways they affect the self-esteem of others.
If your school or organization does not have these videos, you can purchase them from Live Wire Media, or request them from your local library.
If you are using the video, ask the first three questions before viewing.
1. We hear a lot of talk these days about self-esteem. Who can tell me what self-esteem is?
2. Is there a difference between self-esteem and smugness or conceit?
3. When we say someone has high self-esteem, what does that mean?
4. The kids in this video said they think everybody is entitled to have high self-esteem. Do you agree? Why (or why not)?
5. Do you think you have to "prove yourself" in some way in order to deserve high self-esteem?
6. Where does high self-esteem come from?
7. What causes low self-esteem?
8. When you make really good choices for yourself, how does that make you feel? (ask for examples)
9. When you make really bad choices for yourself, how does that make you feel? (ask for examples)
10. Have you ever made yourself feel bad by comparing yourself with others?
11. Can we sometimes be too critical of ourselves?
12. One girl in the video said that if people put you down enough you can start to believe it. Has that ever happened to you? How does it affect your self-esteem when people say insulting or unkind things to you? (ask for examples) What can you do about it when that happens?
13. Is our self-esteem permanent, or does it change?
14. What was most meaningful to you in this video? Why?
Other teaching guides in this series:
1. Self-esteem has been compared to a bucket of water. It starts out full when we're born, but whenever we develop negative beliefs about ourselves, it's like poking little holes in that bucket and our self-esteem drips out.* Have the group brainstorm a list of things we do or say to ourselves or to others that pokes holes in the self-esteem bucket. Put this list on the wall to serve as a constant reminder.
2. At the top of this column is a list of things we can do to protect, raise, or reinforce our self-esteem. Go through this list with the group and discuss each point. How might each of these things contribute to a higher self-esteem? Can they think of any additional suggestions of their own?
3. Eleanor Roosevelt said "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission." Have a group discussion about this quote. What does it mean? How true is it? Can you think of cases where it might not be true? In what kinds of situations would this quote be most useful to remember?
4. Have everybody in the class bring in one or two advertisements aimed at teenagers. These can be cut out of magazines or taped off of TV. Have a class discussion to evaluate the ads by asking the following questions: How is this ad attempting to appeal to me? What assumptions does this ad make about me? How is this ad intended to make me feel about myself? Is there anything about this ad that's intended to make me feel is ad intended to make me feel better about myself, or bad about myself? In what way is this ad attempting to appeal to me? Would I be most vulnerable to this ad if I had high self esteem, or low self-esteem?
*Water bucket metaphor borrowed from Beverly Boz.
1. Imagine that some day you will have a child. Write a letter for that child to open when he or she reaches the age you are right now. Tell the child how you felt about yourself at this age and how those feelings changed from elementary school through middle school. Tell this child about the kinds of things you experienced that made you feel bad about yourself and about the things that made you feel good about yourself. Finally, offer some advice that will help your child have good self esteem at this age and throughout life.
2. Watch a television program and write about one of the characters. Did this character exhibit high or low self-esteem? How can you tell? Give some examples of how this character's self esteem showed up in his/her personal choices and behavior.
3. Having high self-esteem means that you value yourself. What are the things you value most about yourself? What are some of the things you do that show that you value yourself? Are there things you do that indicate you don't value yourself?
4. Is there something about yourself (or perhaps something you have done) that you feel very good about? Why do you feel good about it? How has it (or how does it) affected your self esteem? What does it tell you about yourself?
5. What we believe about ourselves is usually reflected in our self-esteem. Positive beliefs make us feel good about ourselves and raise our self-esteem. Negative beliefs make us feel bad about ourselves and lower our self-esteem. Make a list of positive beliefs you have about yourself and a list of negative beliefs you have about yourself. Would your friends agree with your lists? Where do your negative beliefs come from? How accurate are they? How important are they? What can you do to get rid of them?
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