It Could Be Worse

  • Girls write a sentence about a physical or non-physical aspect of themselves that lowers their self-esteem. For example, "my legs are so fat they rub together" or "I am so shy I never make any friends". All the pieces of paper are crumpled up, stamped on, and otherwise creatively beaten up, then thrown into the basket.
  • Girls then sit or lie next to each other. The facilitator takes a random piece of paper from the basket and reads the sentence, e.g. "My hair is so thin, I can't stand it". The first person in the line then says "It could be worse" and says something that could be worse (e.g. "it could be worse, you could be bald"). Each following person does the same until everyone has a go, or the group runs out of worse things to say. If a young woman cannot think of something worse, another sentence is chosen from the basket and it begins again, starting with that woman.
  • Each time a sentence has gone through a complete sequence, the facilitator rips it once and passes it along the line for each young woman to do the same. At the end of the line, the last young woman puts the pieces of paper into the garbage bag.
  • Small Pieces of Paper (one for each girl)
  • Pens or Pencils (one for each girl)
  • Medium-sized Basket/Bowl/Container
  • Garbage Bag
  • Upbeat and/or Popular Music (optional)
  • Seats in a line
Time Required: 
One hour
  • To help young women feel better about the parts of their bodies and personalities they consider to be imperfections.
  1. Hand out paper and pens or pencils to girls.
  2. Instruct girls to write one sentence about some aspect of their bodies or personalities that make them feel bad. Assure them that it will remain anonymous.
  3. When everyone has written their sentence, tell them to crumple it up, pound it, stamp it and otherwise symbolically make those negative thoughts unwelcome WITHOUT ripping the paper. Play some upbeat, popular music during this period.
  4. When they are finished making the thoughts unwelcome, instruct the women to throw their paper into the prepared basket or container, and line up, either sitting or lying
  5. Place a garbage bag at one end of the line, and join the line at the other end with the basket of sentences.
  6. Explain to girls how the game ‘It Could Be Worse’ works. Give an example of how it could progress.
  7.  Every time a sentence has gone through an ‘It Could Be Worse’ sequence, pass the paper along the line to be ripped and finally thrown into the garbage.
  8. When all sentences have been ripped and discarded, discuss with the young women about how the exercise made them feel.