I’ve had this article saved for a while. It focuses on one woman’s thoughts about what we teach our daughters (not that I have any but use it in the proverbial sense) about beauty.
I knew I wanted to write about it for a long time but never got around to it. Well, the time has come my friends. My post last week got me thinking about it again and I wanted to make sure we all got the message. It’s a must read, even if you don’t have children.
I think we’re all well aware that our culture has a pretty skewed view of what qualifies as beautiful. I find myself fluffing off the compliments all the time because of my own insecurities and I hate it. My boyfriend tells me I look good and I start rattling off a laundry list of flaws that he definitely doesn’t see. Someone compliments me on an outfit and I downplay it with the “This old thing? I picked it up for $2 on sale…” routine. What’s wrong with just admitting that maybe I’m beautiful in my own way?
This is not about me being beautiful for not by the way. I’m not fishing for compliments. I just want to put a big reality check out there and make sure we’re all doing a little self-love.
Children know they are perfect, that they are gorgeous, that they are full of beauty in its true sense. I ran into a friend at Target the other day with her children. Her daughter had dozens of little braids in her hair, all falling out by the end of the day, but insisted on showing me them so I could see how pretty she looked for school. It didn’t matter that her hair looked pretty horrendous – the glow on her face, the sparkle in her eyes, made her the most beautiful person there.
When does this sense of knowing go away? Why does it have to?!
What scares me, as this article points out, is that we are the ones teaching our daughters that woman are not beautiful! Every time we put ourselves down in front of children they internalize that. Girls grow up and their subconscious tells them that once they are grown, they are never going to be good enough.
I don’t want my girls to be children who are perfect and then, when they start to feel like women, they remember how I thought of myself as ugly and so they will be ugly too. They will get older and their breasts will lose their shape and they will hate their bodies, because that’s what women do. That what mommy did. I want them to become women who remember me modeling impossible beauty. Modeling beauty in the face of a mean world, a scary world, a world where we don’t know what to make of ourselves.
-Excerpt from “I’ve started telling my daughters I’m beautiful”
Reading this article again breaks my heart as much as the first time. But it also gives me hope. Becoming aware that we do this is the first step to overcoming it. It’s not too late to change.
We have to actively make the change! We have to make an effort to find a way to see ourselves as beautiful. It isn’t going to happen overnight. Every single time I look in the mirror, I see that extra 30 pounds I’m carrying around that I really wish I didn’t have in the first place. I’ve started going to the gym a few days a week but I’m not crazy – I know those pounds are not going to drop off magically. They might never drop off. In fact, 30 pounds is a lot more weight than I probably need to lose. But you know what? More than looking better, working out makes me feel better. And that’s more important isn’t it? If I feel better, then I’ll start to see myself better. And then, maybe, if I’m lucky and I stop listening to the nagging voices in my head, then I’ll start to think I’m better. Which hopefully, someday, translates into me internalizing the positive instead of always hanging on to the negative. (Follow that logic?)
Are you with me, ladies? Think we can help shape the world by stopping this horrible cycle our culture is in, one small step at a time?