Building Self Esteem for Health and Happiness

Originally published in Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine, August 2013

Michelle Kelley, LCSW, Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand StrongWhen I was a young girl, there were several running jokes in my extended family — all of which made me seem and certainly feel as though I was somehow not good enough. Looking back, I don’t know why it was so amusing but I went along with the jokes because I was a “good girl” — and going along with jokes, even if they are hurtful, is what “good girls” did — and still do, today. How many of us have laughed at dumb blond jokes when really, what’s funny about putting someone down because of the color of their hair?

Although I’m sure the intent of those jokes was not to hurt me, I took to heart their implied messages:

  • Michelle isn’t very smart.
  • Michelle won’t amount to much.
  • Don’t bother to envision or pursue a better, brighter future for yourself.

Years later, when I had to leave college and move back home due to my failing grades, I was demoralized, wondering if those implied messages were true after all.

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I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I left your office so inspired today.
To say Michelle changed our lives would not be an exaggeration. She was very empathetic and non-judgmental... She didn't make our daughter feel badly... She didn't make my husband and myself feel like incompetent parents.
I definitely owe my newfound confidence to Michelle. Without her, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to come out of my horrible situation as such a better version of myself.
People don't understand Michelle doesn’t just offer advice… which they seem to be afraid of hearing. I convey the message that the decisions you make are ultimately your own but Michelle will help you find clarity and sort through emotions.
We felt comfortable knowing that Michelle would be the kind of counselor that would help our daughter see the good in herself, but also question some of her choices and actions.
You have brought back the communication ability that I thought that I lost. You helped her understand what we were feeling and she is such a better person for seeing you.
Michelle, you are so right about [my daughter] and how she thrives off of feelings of accomplishment. All seems to be good now. She amazes me every day with the way she is learning to handle tough situations.
With Michelle’s guidance, I was able to accomplish in approximately 8 months what I hadn’t been able to over the past 15 years.
I am forever grateful for Michelle's help.
Thank you, Michelle, for giving me my voice and a new lease on life.
Retired Arlington County Teacher
She helped me focus my attention toward problem-solving issues.
Laura Clancy, Owner
MuffinToppled® Fitness Coaching
Michelle is the best life coach I ever had.
Michelle is an excellent listener and her insights and advice were always right on target.
(mother of a teen girl)
She helped me in so many ways!
Michelle Kelly saved my life. What more can I say?
Stephanie W.

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