“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” – Evelyn Mary Dunbar
My daughter and her bestie chatter away in the back of my van. I’m not paying attention to every word of the conversation, but mommy ears can always tune in when necessary. When I hear something about a website about beauty, the mommy ears instantly focus my wandering mind on their conversation.
These two have both recently been gifted their first phones. Of course, with that not only comes increased responsibility for the girls, but for us parents to keep up with what they discover in the internet world. I was about to ask for a repeat of what this new thing was when my daughter stated, “It’s silly. Everyone’s beautiful in their own way.”
Pride washed away my desire to delve into the specifics, and I grinned, thinking perhaps I was doing something right. The worrier in me couldn’t enjoy that small win for long, though. My thoughts turned to how do I keep her believing that as she enters the tumultuous days of middle school and puberty?
The bigger question, however, was am I modeling this for her? Not in respect to finding beauty in those around me, but in myself. How am I supposed to nurture this seed of self-confidence in her own intrinsic beauty when I question my own so often?
These two 10-year-old girls acknowledged the truth that we are all worthy and beautiful. Who am I to bring my baggage along to crush that?
I am over halfway to raising this child to adulthood, and I’ve managed to not let my insecurities about my own beauty and worth seep into her head. I know from experience, though, how the body changes that are approaching her can trigger the great killer of joy, comparison.
When I started a gym membership a year ago, I was intentional in how I spoke about my goals to my children. Always careful to state that Mommy was trying to be healthier and eat healthy foods, I was conscious not to say “fat”, “thin”, “skinny”, “diet”, etc. I spoke of getting stronger, healthier, and more energetic.
I know teenagers see actions. She will know soon if I mean it when I say that I am working to be my healthiest self. I must accept it deep in my heart and soul, because she’s coming of age, and she will know. She will see the tears of frustration, if I let a scale dictate my self-worth.
Oh mothers, there’s so much more at stake now for us than ever before. Our children are watching. We must finally stop fighting this “self-love” idea and model it. I want my beautiful children to feel as such. So, I must finally give up my addiction to negative self-talk. The critical voice that I’ve tried to motivate myself with for so many years and failed, needs to once and for all be given the heave-ho.
When I falter, because I am human, then I must have the courage to admit it. Dear daughter, I will do my best to gather the courage to tell you it’s normal to doubt yourself at times. We must always come back to the truth, though. The truth that you in your young, innocent wisdom spoke, “Everyone is beautiful in their own way.”