I was staring in the mirror as my 12-month-old daughter played with blocks on the floor. I audibly started talking negatively about myself. “You’re flabby. You’re skin doesn’t look good anymore. Wow you’re so exhausted, you look terrible.”
Then the room got quiet. And my innocent, little girl cast her big blue eyes in my direction and was listening intently. She’s at an age where she’s starting to understand small phrases. I don’t think she actually understood what I was telling the woman in the mirror, but one day, one day very soon, she will understand and will take note.
That’s when it hit me. This negative talk needs to stop. It needs to stop for me. It needs to stop for my daughter. Here are three reasons why:
- My daughter will learn a healthy—or unhealthy—self image from me before anyone else.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” -Psalm 139:13-14a (ESV)
Right now, my daughter looks to me above anyone else. Don’t get me wrong. She’s daddy’s little girl. She even says “Dada” when I ask her to say “Mama” just to get a rise out of me and a smile out of him. But when she wants comfort or snuggles or simply gets tired of others’ attention, she wants my arms, my kisses, my attention. Her head turns my way when she hears my voice, and I can see her truly listening.
That means some day soon, she will soak in my negative self talk. She will learn that’s how she is supposed to talk about herself. That’s how mommy talks about herself. I adore her, so I must be even worse. She will learn that habit from me, far before her fellow peers teach her the same. I should start equipping her now with truth to battle those lies down the road.
My daughter is a dream. She has been fearfully and wonderfully made by God our father. God created her. God created me. Why should we talk negatively of someones created by an all-perfect, never changing God? Isn’t that just spewing insults back at the Creator?
- I want to teach my daughter what true beauty is. As I bash myself in the mirror, I am being a hypocrite.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” -Proverbs 31:30 (ESV)
I do believe we need to keep ourselves healthy. I don’t want this post to be taken as an excuse to let ourselves go. I want to pass that mentality onto my daughter, most assuredly. But more importantly, I want to teach my daughter true beauty is what comes from the spirit. We’ve all heard that sermon or saying before, but if I am spewing negative talk about myself in the mirror, then what is pouring out of my heart is not beauty.
-It is not showing thankfulness for who God made me.
-It is not showing thankfulness for what God has given me.
-It is valuing my outward appearance more than my inward one.
-It is not speaking truth into my life.
- Speaking of truth: I was telling myself lies, all lies.
Lies I was saying:
-You’re skin doesn’t look good anymore.
-Wow you’re so exhausted, you look terrible.
Truth I can replace with it:
-You eat healthy and remain active. That’s more important than the perfectly toned body.
-Aging is natural. With age, comes wisdom. Always ask God for wisdom. Wisdom is more prized than jewels and far more prized than skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
-Yes, you’re tired, but you’re still beautiful. And your husband thinks you’re beautiful. He told you so. Believe him.
Most importantly, the truths I should utter and ponder are summed up in Philippians 4:8-9:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (ESV)
The next time you’re battling yourself in the mirror, try speaking truth to yourself. You never know what young eyes are watching and what young ears are listening. And if you have sons, speaking truth still applies. Teach your little boys what true beauty is and what uplifting talk looks like—lessons for which his future wife will be so grateful.
Our heavenly Father made you, loves you, and wants you to spread truth in your own life and the lives of others.