that I, too, feel strongly about. Her post about true beauty reminded me that I had intended to write on this topic too.
As a mother of seven children, five of whom are girls, I find myself horrified by the images that the media portrays as "normal." The idea of one of my children trying to achieve the size of a fashion model is actually horrifying. I point out to them often where the pictures have been airbrushed and digitally manipulated so they can know that the perfect skin, bright eyes, and shiny hair is not what the model really looks like. I worry that they will see these models or tv actresses as some ideal to try and attain, so I make sure they know that what they are seeing isn't even REAL.
I encourage my kids and praise them regularly. It's easy to do as they are all so clever, creative and kind. I tell them how beautiful they are and how much they are loved. Sometimes, as our kids get older, we assume they know that we love them, but they need to hear it, and hear it often. If they know that, at home, they are loved, then it helps them find the courage to face the rest of the world. Loving your kids and making sure they know it is like dressing them in protective armour against any negativity they may encounter out in the world.
In the world of weight loss, feeling beautiful can often be a tricky subject. I've lost 117 pounds so far. In 18.5 more pounds, I will reach a healthy BMI. That's how I chose the amount of weight I wanted to lose, by aiming for what should be a healthy weight. But having lost so much weight, I have first-hand experience on how difficult it can be to feel confident and sexy when carrying around so much extra weight. Sometimes people say cruel things, but far crueler are the things we tell ourselves.
That inner voice can really be an enemy to your self-confidence. But, with a little effort, you can make that same inner voice your friend. Catch yourself when you are being negative and change the negative thought to something positive. It is likewise with the things we say about ourselves around our kids. Do you want your daughter to hear you saying things like, "I'm too fat," "I can't do that," "It's too hard," "I have no control," "I can't eat that," "I'm stupid" and other comments along this vein, or would you rather they hear you saying things like "I feel great today," "Doesn't this dress look great on me?" "I can do anything," "Yummy! That looks great," "Nothing is too hard," "Let's go play outside today" and things along that vein? Change what you say inside and change what you say outside. Your children will emulate you. Give them someone confident and happy in herself to emulate.
There's a wonderful movement called Operation Beautiful. According to the site,
The mission of Operation Beautiful is to post anonymous notes in public places for other women to find. The point is that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. You are enough... just the way you are!
Women from all over the world are posting notes in random places with encouraging statements for others to find. I love this idea!
My body has changed a lot since my early 20s, and not all of it for the better. My belly has a lot of loose, hanging skin and is covered in stretch marks that cover it in fine lines that branch out resembling a roadmap. I have a huge scar reaching diagonally just below my ribs from a surgery I had after one of my pregnancies. But each of these visual attributes is a gift. My belly stretched out in order to carry my many babies. It developed those stretch marks in its attempt to make room for the cradling of all seven of my children individually. It housed them and nourished them each for nine months. It did it's job, and it did it well. They are marks of love.
My friend Barb talks about her laugh lines and states possessively that she "earned" them. I agree with her. Laugh lines are wonderful to see. They are a sign that a life has been a happy one, full of laughter and smiles. I'm earning some laugh lines of my own, and I'm glad to do so!
Everyone carries some insecurities. Wouldn't it be a great world if others bolstered our egos instead of tearing them down? Or the media decided to use real models with healthy-sized bodies and leave any airbrushing or digital manipulation out? We need to be each others' strength. We need to be the person who says to others,"You're beautiful." Because everyone IS beautiful. Everyone has their own form of beauty, and the important beauty, the beauty that can make the world a better place, is the beauty we find inside.
Everyone should get the chance to feel beautiful right now and not wait until they've reached some ideal in their head of what they want to look like.
In Barb's True Beauty post, she says,
True beauty is not simply what’s on the surface. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, when you carry yourself with confidence and self-acceptance, that makes you beautiful. Beauty is in the mind, not in the body.
I couldn't say that any better!