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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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.
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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.
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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.
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Retired Arlington County Teacher
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She helped me in so many ways!
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Kelly
Michelle Kelly saved my life. What more can I say?
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