Tag Archives: self esteem

the cinderella project

prom - graduation partyon friday i went to a highschool graduation ceremony – my first one!  not having grown up in north america, and my older children having decided to skip grade 12, i had never been to one.

my first impression were the beautiful clothes everyone was wearing.  where did all these gowns come from?

well, some of them came from a fairy godmother, that’s what i just found out.  it’s part of the cinderalla project:

the cinderella project is a federally registered, 100% volunteer-based charity founded in vancouver, BC in 1999.

the latest statistics indicate that more than one in five, or twenty percent of all children in canada live below the poverty line. many of these children come from families with little or no formal education. without a high school education, employment opportunities are limited and this causes the cycle of poverty to continue.

the cinderella project was started to help encourage youth to stay in school and achieve the milestone of high school graduation, giving young people the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.

it is a magically simple concept; we know that youth in our community who are living in low income situations can not afford to celebrate the graduation festivities along side their fellow students and as a result many of them don’t see the value in completing high school. these students are referred to the cinderella project by their teachers, principals or social workers to participate in a day of recognition, self-esteem boosting and mentorship. on this day, “boutique day”, we provide these special students with formal attire so they can attend their graduation festivities with pride. without assistance these students could not afford to participate in celebrating this important milestone.

the cinderella project works to remove social barriers and promote inclusiveness and diversity. we recognize outstanding young people who have succeeded in the face of overwhelming odds and boost their confidence and self esteem through respect and positive mentorship. nearly half of all cinderellas and cinderfellas are chronically ill or physically or developmentally disabled. more than two-thirds of those students who are physically able to work juggle multiple jobs before and after school to help support their families. many are caring for ailing parents or raising younger siblings with little support. most have never had a childhood.

since its inception in 1999, the cinderella project has assisted approximately 1200 young people from around greater vancouver. the impact of the cinderella project extends well beyond graduation ceremonies. it’s truly remarkable how one day of encouragement and positive mentorship can have a long-term impact on a young person’s confidence, self-esteem and outlook on life.

image by whiskey gone bad

weight loss and the law of attraction: a dialogue

yesterday, we had a guest post by david about using the law of attraction to lose weight. since david’s and my views are a bit different, i promised you a dialogue about it. so here we go. i will start with some of the ideas with which i agree:

i completely agree that our expectations are an important part of how we each create our own unique worlds. there is a lot of research that supports that, e.g. on self-fulfilling prophecies and other expectancy beliefs such as self-efficacy beliefs (the “i can do it” factor).

introducing more self-love into our lives and stopping harmful self-judgment are very important; personally i believe that they are a significant ingredient in not only improving our personal lives but also in improving the lives of those around us (hence my tagline: making lives better, making better lives).

appreciating and loving our bodies is a crucial element of this. currently, denise wilfley at washington university is working on finding out whether improved body image can have an effect on weight. it is well-known that a disturbed body image is connected to low self esteem.

lastly, i also agree that paying attention only to negative statements (“if i eat that, i’ll get fat”) is counterproductive. we shape our reality according to our attentional biases.

now let me point outwhere i don’t share david’s point of view.

we can’t deny that eating certain things on a consistent basis will make most people fat; that’s one of the main reasons for the obesity epidemic in north america. i doubt there was a big change to the negative in terms of body image in the last 60 years; but we know that the arrival of fast food and an insane amount of choice of overly fatty, sweet and salty food coincides with the rise of obesity.

also, research points to the fact that obesity does have a genetic component, and most people who’ve tried would say that “it’s hard to lose weight” is a statement of fact. i think it’s important to keep these things in mind (without dwelling on them) because they can help with weight loss. e.g. it’s useful to know that 2 cups of carrots have the caloric equivalent of one slice of bread.

david says, “when you love your body, then naturally your body will feel better and will become healthier. as this happens your body will naturally shift to fit the image that you are holding in your mind: a healthier, thinner body.” i am not sure how that mechanism is supposed to work. has it worked for you?

existing research does not show that a better relationship with one’s body results in weight loss (maybe ms. wilfley’s work will change that; we’ll have to see). also, the experience of fat acceptance people would refute the claim; people who are part of the fat acceptance movement often put much effort into having a positive, loving relationship with their body, without a resulting weight loss.

finally, david writes, “you will never lose weight while you judge yourself fat. that is rule number 1.” unfortunately, that is not true at all. the people who arguably have the worst problem with body image – people who struggle with anorexia or bulimia – do precisely that. so does just about every other person who diets.

summarizing all of this, i’d say that when aiming towards a healthy body weight, it’s useful to pay attention to how our minds shape our uniquely experienced version of reality, and to love our bodies. it is also important to keep in mind that a positive body image does not equal a weight that your doctor would be happy with; and that body weight is correlated with caloric intake, exercise, metabolic rate and genetics.

and of course, let’s not forget that much of this is very individual. i don’t doubt for a minute that improving one’s body image can be the solution to someone’s weight issues (which is different from saying that it is the solution for everyone).

it is interesting to note that a large-scale study on the effectiveness of various treatments for obesity recommends intensive counselling as the best approach. since the best counselling is counselling that is tailored to the individual’s need, i would hope that those for whom improved body image holds the most promise will receive exactly that type of intervention.

over to you, david and of course you, dear reader – what do you think? what’s your experience?

(this article was included in the 50 best blog posts on the law of attraction