A few months ago I went with some girlfriends to watch a documentary by Rachel Hollis. In this documentary, 700 women filled out a survey and admitted some hard truths. One of those truths is that nearly every single woman in the room admitted that she “hated the way she looked.”
Where does that come from? Why and how does this happen?
The funny thing before I heard the survey – I was looking around at the audience noticing how cute everyone looked. Isn’t it like this all the time though? We notice other moms with gorgeous clothes and a smoking bod. Or maybe we imagine ourselves punching the skinny mom of 4 with the long gorgeous hair that just looks perfect. But chances are almost 100% that these women hate the way they look too. Then we pass by our own reflection we immediately feel that twinge of “ew” and we start knit-picking ourselves. Maybe our waist isn’t as small as we want, or our hair isn’t as long as we’d like, or our skin isn’t as smooth and glowing as we think it should be.
But why? And how do those women that are happy with every inch of their body, how do they do it?
I feel like this is where I need to admit that I am not one of those women that “hates the way she looks.” That immediately leads to feelings of “what’s wrong with me and why don’t I hate my body like 700 people in that room did?” <insert my feelings of insecurity about not being insecure>
I don’t feel this way because I’m perfect. Nope. I have acne scars on my face the size of small craters and pores the size of glaciers. I have short hair that only looks good with extensions because if it grows past my shoulders its looks thin, stringy and hay-like and I have to fill in a bald spot on my head with eyeshadow. My hips are 2 sizes bigger then they were before I had babies and my boobs feel just lovely as they sag on my not so small belly… but I love my body. I’m thankful for my body. But I didn’t get to this place of happiness about my body easily, or alone.
It all started with my mom. My mom has always taken great care of herself. She ate healthily and taught aerobics back in the ’90s, but aside from that, I NEVER remember her talking about her body in a negative way. I never heard her talk about needing to lose a few extra pounds after the holidays or about the things she didn’t like. I never heard the word “fat.” She just taught by example what it meant to take care of and nourish the body God gave her that was beautifully and wonderfully made. The body that carried babies and that has all the wounds and scars of a hard but extremely fulfilling life.
SHE is the reason I grew up as a woman knowing how to take care of myself and feel happy with who I am and the body I’m in despite all my flaws. It’s my turn to teach my daughter this. It starts with us, moms. We shape the person our daughters (and sons) become.
How do we speak to ourselves? Do we call ourselves fat? What kind of faces do we make when we’re looking at ourselves in the mirror? Do we smile? Do we put effort into fixing ourselves up and making the body we do have look nice? Do we teach our kids that exercise is a form of punishment because of the junk we ate instead of something we get to do to take care of our bodies?
We will never stop this cycle of hating ourselves unless we are intentional with teaching our daughters differently. It starts with us. Our kids are watching EVERYTHING we do. They’re learning how to be functioning adults and what they learn from us will impact their lives more then we can even fathom.
So in a world where lash extensions, hair extensions, and microbladed eyebrows are everywhere; and women can’t feel beautiful without expensive botox treatments and harsh, fad diets to become a size 2… be the mom that shows her kids what true beauty is.
Its to love your body for the warrior of a person that’s inside of it. For the battles you’ve endured. The scars that are too many to even count. Love your body for the babies it grew and the babies you nursed and rocked all night. Love your body through the crazy hormone changes from pregnancy and then years of not sleeping. Let’s show these little girls to walk tall and proud of the person God made them to be, just as they are.