“No mirrors, just affirmations!”
It’s no secret that high school can be hard for young women. Beyond the pressure of school work and SAT exams, their appearance can become more of a focus than the subjects they study. But one high school in California is trying to combat all of that starting right in the heart of it all: the girls’ bathroom.
California mom Shannon McKinney Lob attended a Girl Scout event last weekend at Laguna Hills High School when she saw something in the bathroom that made her emotional.
“I had to hold back the tears when I saw them. They were all over every stall,” Lob tells Scary Mommy. Standing in the bathroom, she didn’t see her reflection, she saw radical love. Signs with positive messages were covering the walls and stalls. “I walked into the girls bathroom at a local high school over the weekend and was so amazed and overjoyed at what I saw. No mirrors just affirmations!” she originally posted in the private Facebook group, Pantsuit Nation.
This is the bathroom experience we all need to have.
The signs on the stalls read:
You are important.
You are enough.
You are valuable.
You are smart.
You are beautiful.
You are loved.
Near the sinks – no mirrors, just affirmations and positive vibes.
The signs say:
You are doing better than you think!
You are extra-ordinary.
Believe in yourself.
Sure, not being able to see parsley stuck in your teeth could be slightly frustrating, but we think this is a nice trade off. Especially considering the numbers, which paint a pretty stark picture on the state of self-esteem among our youth.
Among high school students, 44 percent of girls and 15 percent of guys are attempting to lose weight, according to DoSomething.Org, a website that helps young people become active in advocating for positive change. Additionally, over 70 percent of girls age 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks.
The Do Something website encourages young people to participate in activities like Mirror Messages, which encourages tweens and teens to post notes on public mirrors to help improve people’s self-esteem. They suggest kids post these messages in their school bathrooms to brighten classmates’ days and fight against body shaming.
It’s a small action, but one that could have a powerful impact on our kids. According to Psychology Today, our minds have been programmed by a lifetime of patterns and reinforcement. How we’re programmed impacts our choices and attitudes. If we’re programmed by our culture to hate how we look it will permeate other areas of our life as well. This is where positive affirmations come in – to help reprogram our brains.
If there’s an option to see our reflections in the mirror versus a positive message, we’d take the latter any day of the week. We don’t need to see that stray hair or healing zit nearly as much as we need to see positivity and reminders of self-love.