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Self Worth Starts At Home

Studio 5 contributor, Courtney Orton introduces us to a family who makes self worth a priority in their home.


McKell Petersen thought she knew who she was, but before she’d even made it out of elementary school she was having feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. Her mom Kerri Petersen remembers, “She thought there were certain girls, or the ones she wanted to be like. She really is a girl at heart, but she was totally trying to be a tom boy.”

Worried about what others thought, she hid who she really was.

“You’d go to say something, then you’d kind of look at them like, Am I supposed to be saying this? Is this okay,” says McKell.

She also hid the fact that she took ballet. “It was embarrassing. I’m like, no one can know that.”

She was scared that group of girls would think differently of her, and wouldn’t want to be her friend anymore if they knew.

McKell struggled, and her mom struggled to know what to do. McKell recalls, “She just kind of pulled me aside and said no this is not okay, kind of shut me off from my friends for awhile.

At the time, McKell was mad, really mad. She didn’t realize it at the time, but she slowly started realizing that her mom had given her exactly what she needed.

“I look back now, and if I hadn’t have changed I honestly don’t know where I’d be now. I’m really happy with who I am, and the friends I’ve made, and with where I’m going, and I’m grateful my mom did take me aside and show me that,” says McKell.

McKell and Kerri are still learning, but they’re both grateful for that pep talk and others they’ve had through the years. Words in a mirror that hangs on McKell’s bedroom wall keep her continuing in the right direction. “It’s right as I walk in my door, so it’s like the first thing I see. It says, Don’t try too hard to fit in, you were born to stand out.”

McKell says it’s a major boost. “It’s not that we’re out of the woods. I think both of us know there’s still going to be struggles, and things that are hard for us, but it has been fun to see her become more comfortable with who she is,” says Kerri.

Karen Eddington works to give a similar boost to women and teens around the state through her self worth outreach program called the Cauliflower Retreat.

“Self Esteem is often our perception of how we feel about ourselves,” explains Karen, “and that can go up and down a lot. We want people to know that it’s constant. That your value is always there.”

She says it’s often those family bonds that can be the most powerful assets in establishing self worth at home.


To learn more about self-worth building techniques and resources you can go to www.cauliflowerretreat.org.

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