Gabrielle Union appeared on Good Morning America Wednesday (\May 4) where she opened up about her journey in overcoming low self-esteem and what advice she has for other parents.
The Cheaper By the Dozen star revealed that as a young girl, she was outwardly perceived as being confident, but internally, things weren't as they seemed.
"It appeared that I was sitting on top of the world, I had all the answers, I felt amazing about myself," Union shared. "But inside, as a Black girl in predominantly non-minority spaces, I felt like I was never enough of anything. I was ... I always felt way too Black. I felt way too intelligent. I felt too, I felt scrutinized," she added.
"It's a weird thing to feel invisible and hyper-visible all at once," the Deliver Us From Eva actress said, continuing later that feeling invisible and hyper-visible along with low self-esteem continued even into her forties.
At 49, Union said she's overcome the struggle with low self-esteem after realizing that the things someone believes will make their life better actually won't matter unless that person is happy on the inside.
One way she accomplished this was by building a self-esteem ritual that she's now passing on to her children. The actress revealed that she recites self-affirmations with her three-year-old Kaavia James Union Wade. They repeat statements like, "Your Black is beautiful. Your hair is beautiful. Your skin, your lips, everything that makes you you is absolutely beautiful and amazing."
Union is passing along this ritual and more advice to other parents through a new partnership with Dove. The beauty brand commissioned a research study that found that teens are consuming negative beauty advice through social media the negative impact of which is manifesting in low self-esteem and more.
The company's Self-Esteem Project is working to illuminate resources to address this ongoing issue.
"There's so many other ways that our children can be harmed, and especially our girls," Union said. "And they also have to understand that the people you're comparing yourself to, especially the people that you don't know, they don't look like what they present themselves to be," she added.
Children, especially girls, "need to understand that it's not real," Union said. "And it's okay to be exactly you because it will get you a lot further than pretending to be someone else and always feeling less than."