In celebration of Pride month, Robin CEO Sonny Thadani hosted Robin Coach Ebony Tutora on IG Live for a lively discussion of Self-love and Acceptance.
Q Why is self-love so important?
Self-love is everything. It is knowing that we are significant in this thing called life. That we are enough. That we are worthy.
Q Why aren’t we taught self-love in school?
Self-love is not formally taught in school but it should be.
I think children start their journey of self-love through sports, performance arts, or by taking classes that they love. When they feel like they’re good at something and working towards a goal, they are realizing their worth, their value.
On the flip side, we need to teach them to remove themselves from situations or people that make them feel bad about themselves.
In the classroom, teachers have such a great opportunity to model self-love. And our communities need to support teachers on their self-love journey. Teachers need and deserve to focus on their mental health so they can be their best for their students.
Teachers need and deserve to focus on their mental health so they can be a positive role model for their students.
Q What are your favorite techniques or exercises to teach self acceptance to young people?
Let me answer this by bringing you through an exercise right now.
- Think of a negative thought you have now or from the past.
- Identify the root cause of the negative thought. Many times it comes down to “Am I enough?” or “Will I be able to accomplish this?”
- Create a positive statement – an empowering affirmation – by flipping those thoughts upside down. Examples include:
I am enough.
I am meant to be here.
If I have it in my mind, it can be in my hands.
My dreams and goals are coming into reality.
If it is meant to have wings, it’s going to happen.
Commit to writing down your empowering affirmations every day. Having a stream of positive thoughts will put you in the right mindset to start loving and believing in yourself – instead of doubting yourself.
Words are so powerful. If we tell ourselves positive, self-affirming words enough, we will start internalizing and believing it.
Many people ask me how saying a few words to yourself can really change your mindset. I promise you it can. Words are so powerful. If we tell ourselves positive, self-affirming words enough, we will start internalizing and believing it.
Q At which age can you start teaching children positive affirmations?
It is never too early to teach positive affirmations. With my youngest son, I started it when he was still in my belly. I would take time everyday to say out loud, “You are so amazing! You have a great purpose in life!” Speak life to your kids as early as you can and show them the power of positive words.
Speak life to your kids as early as you can and show them the power of positive words.
Q As we all know, it’s Pride Month, such a great example of self-love, acceptance and resilience. What does PRIDE mean to you?
PRIDE is knowing and loving yourself just the way you are.
As I reflect on PRIDE month, I think it is crazy to judge people for who they love. We have to evolve and really think about why some people can’t accept others.
My advice is to own who you are. It doesn’t matter what your orientation is or what you dress like. If you are fed by the opinions of others you will starve.
Always remember that there is a whole tribe of people out there who will love you just as you are. Even if that’s not your family. I promise you that there are people out there who will love you for you.
Own who you are. It doesn’t matter what your orientation is or what you dress like. If you are fed by the opinions of others you will starve.
Q How do we talk or support teenagers struggling with their sexuality and identity?
I’d recommend that kids start journaling. It’s a great way to express themselves, get their frustrations out, reflect and start to learn more about themselves.
And they should definitely find someone that they can confide in. Seek out a teacher or a guidance counselor or a coach. It may not be a child’s parent and that is OK. But they should find someone to connect with and talk through all of their emotions and thoughts. This person can help guide and support them in their journey of self love and acceptance.
Q What do we do as parents when our kids won’t talk to us?
For me, parenting has the biggest learning curve of any job and I am still learning and growing everyday.
I believe that we shouldn’t take it personally when our kids don’t want to talk. We all need moments to be quiet. We need to be considerate of their feelings and their right to have their own space and time to be alone with their thoughts. In general, I think we as parents need to scale back our expectations and let kids figure things out for themselves.
Q Who are your favorite role models?
Nyeesha Williams (a fellow Robin coach) is one of my role models. She exudes love and beauty. My Grandma is also a great role model; she is so strong and loving. And she shows our family that to love others, you need to first love yourself.
In pop culture, I really admire Alicia Keys and her no makeup movement. She is really changing the narrative. Lady Gaga is not afraid to make a statement. Then there is Grace Jones who inspired the cross-dressing movement. I love Cardi B because she speaks her mind and she dreams big. She is so authentic and that is why people love her. Finally, I’d have to say my ultimate favorite is Maya Angelou. Wow! She makes a statement and has such a beautiful way with words.