An Open Letter to Teen Girls- 5 ways to choose your thoughts (and why you should)

Erin M. Tarr, Be the Benchmark

CHOOSE YOUR THOUGHTS? What does that even mean?

  • It means you don’t have to succumb to a life of teenage angst.
  • It means you don’t have to listen to all the crap people talk about teen girls.
  • It means you don’t have to believe every negative or critical thought that crosses your own mind.
  • It means YOU (and you alone) have the power to choose what kind of life you want.

Sean Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, calls it “being proactive,” AKA Habit #1, and many psychologists call it “mindfulness.” At Be the Benchmark, we call it “Choosing Your Thoughts,” and here are some tips to help you do it (with a little explanation as to why):

  • Choose to be grateful. Before you step out of bed every morning and before you fall asleep each night make a list of three things for which you can be grateful. Bonus Points if you WRITE IT DOWN. Studies show that people who focus on things they are grateful for have a whole host of positive benefits … just ask the smart people over at the University of Pennsylvania – they have all sorts of studies to prove it.
  • Be a critical thinker. When you see a magazine ad, billboard, or instagram post with a beautiful person, and you start to think, “I wish <insert self-critical-body-talk here>,” instead STOP and ask yourself, DOES THAT PERSON even look that way? (hint: probably not.) Lighting, angle, photoshop, etc. are all in play here. Think critically about what you are actually seeing before you go down a self-deprecating spiral.
  • Get a mentor. Sharing your thoughts, feelings, circumstances, dreams, and goals with an older and wiser person who isn’t your mom – can often help lend much-needed perspective that is difficult to have on your own. Regular talks with this person can help you to make wiser decisions on a day-to-day basis as she provides the OTHER voice in your head that helps you stop and consider alternatives that may not naturally occur in a teenage brain.
  • Stop ALL comparisons. REALLY…ALL comparison? REALLY. ALL comparison. To your sister, your friends, your mom. Stop comparing yourself to them. Stop comparing them to each other. Stop comparing famous people. Just. Stop. Comparing leads to either self-aggrandizement (thinking we are way more awesome than other people and thereby writing them off as insignificant) or jealousy (thinking there is no way we will ever be as awesome as them and making ourselves feel bad about it). I think we can agree that neither of these lead to good things, not in our own heads nor in how they might manifest in our real lives.
  • START encouraging everyone. Committing to do this will forever change the way your mind is wired. If you have a goal each day to encourage the people around you – you will have little time left for negative thought patterns, as you will be searching for the good in each person. The good that DOES exist. Not only will this choice change YOU for the better – it will change the people around you who feel uplifted, encouraged, and appreciated by your kind words.

Be the Benchmark exists to help ALL girls (at all ages) learn these basic skills to choose their thoughts, so they can create a life they love, and ultimately change the world. Through a monthly membership that provides a strong community, awesome resources, accountability, and FUN – girls are empowered to become the best version of themselves and crush it at life!

(We also have a group for the moms who are raising these amazing “Benchmark Girls” to make sure they have the support and encouragement they need to raise FIERCE young women! Join us in the Benchmark MOD Squad for support, advice, and community while we raise daughters who are going to change the world!)

Come find us:
Snapchat: benchmarkgirl