Puberty. A word that many preteens shudder at the thoughts of and that many adults would prefer to forget. Nothing is more daunting than standing by and watching your body change from that of a child into a woman or man.

Its not all bad though, its a coming of age thing that we all need to experience and one that equips us to stand tall and step into our adult shoes. But why then are so many young people afraid to discuss it and are paralysed by a lack of confidence during this trying time?

Always and Alesha Dixon has teamed up to form the new #LikeAGirl squad to educate, inspire and Build Confidence in young women. If you are not familiar with Like A Girl, it was a campaign formed by Always in June 2014 with the goal of reaching out to young girls who were starting puberty and encouraging them to have more confidence in themselves.

In 2015 a study performed again by Always found that 72% of girls felt that society limits them by telling them what the should or should not be. The goal of Always through these campaigns has been to ensure young girls are empowered and are not afraid to speak up, take chances or fail.

This is something as a society we need to be aware of; our young people are the future, it’s important they feel secure and empowered so they can become our future leaders.

The most recent survey by Always found that 64% of women aged 16-24 admitted to losing confidence during Puberty. They cited the reasons for this as social pressure and the expectation to be perfect. The thought of failing at something is overwhelming and to do so in a public way during your school years is even scarier.

Other interesting results were that 70% of females agree that social media contributed to the fear of failure, again highlighting how social media can lead to people painting unrealistic pictures of their lives. These percentages are worrying, and the overall perception that failing isn’t an option has inspired Always to tackle that issue head on.

Along with Alesha Dixon, Irish Author Louise O Neill and Influencer Leanne Woodfull are the other members of the #LikeAGirl squad, all of them stating they have persevered through failure themselves and they want to help others to keep going. It’s important that young girls, in particular, have role models who can inspire them to face their fears and have confidence in themselves, especially during the trying time of puberty.

Voices will change, skin will suffer, bodies will look different but it’s something that we all go through, teenagers need to know they are not alone, it’s the reason why campaigns like this are really important. Using her profile to highlight this issue is something Alesha Dixon is proud of. The Britains Got Talent Judge, and former Mystique singer says the Always survey results show girls feel that society rejects those who fail.

“This is sad, and it resonates with me. I have faced many challenges in life such as launching my solo career. At times it has been difficult to dust myself off and move on. It is important for young girls to understand that failure is ok, and that perseverance through it is how you grow”. Her words are poignant; we need to accept that failure helps us grow stronger and that there is nothing wrong with having to try again.

Author, Louise O Neill agrees adding: ” our culture is afraid of failure. It teaches young girls to be afraid too. When I was younger, I allowed certain dreams to waste away because I was too afraid of failing even to try to achieve them. It was only when I decided to that I would rather fail than to have regrets that things changed for me. Young girls should look at failure as a learning experience, something they can use in the future, if you’re not making mistakes then you’re not living a bold enough life”.

It’s not just the authors and Celebrities of the world who are backing this Always campaign, Film Director Lucy Luscombe has also come on board to make a video in conjunction with the #LikeAGirl campaign. The project involves following a group of girls around during a normal school day. It monitors them in rehearsals, classes, chess matches, and manages to catch them in real life situations where the possibility of failure is looming.

The video is inspiring and shows the strength and capabilities of young women once they let go of being afraid. It is the epitome of all those things that Beyonce and the Spice Girls have been promoting for years. Girl Power.

So what can we take from this campaign and from all the advice that Akesha, Lucy, and Louise have so kindly imparted? Don’t be afraid to fail, it will help you grow a thicker skin, and when you achieve your goal, success will taste that much sweeter. Remember Puberty is a short term thing and that too will pass, you’re becoming an adult, this will get you there.

Don’t compare yourself to others and their journey, everyone is different, embrace what is different about you.Confidence is key, always focus on the positive things about yourself. Don’t focus on the negative; it can consume you. Stay focused, stay positive and as corny as it sounds, love yourself, your relationship with yourself is the key to your happiness.

Check out the Always campaign video here: https://youtu.be/P_MhsbRiFyI

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