Last year I made a list of birthday wishes for my three girls, which continues to be one of my most highly read posts. Today, I want to share with you, what I’ll be teaching my daughter’s about body image and beauty.
There is nothing wrong with admiring physical beauty.
Beauty is in nature. Beauty is in art. Think paintings and flowers, modern architecture and historic ruins.
We are surrounded by beauty. We are pleased by aesthetics.
The same applies to the human form. We are genetically programmed to be drawn to good looks.
Please don’t feel guilty about that.
Revel in it. Enjoy it.
Despite what the media and western popular culture insist – there is not ONE feminine (or masculine) beauty ideal.
You will be told again and again, that thinness is equated with female beauty, and that physical appearance is one of your greatest assets.
Don’t believe it my darlings. As you have already shown, you are far, far more, than your jean size.
Perspective is as varied and skewed as the individual observer.
Take Gummie Bears for instance – some people have a strong inkling for the red ones, while others prefer the yellow, or the green.
That’s just the way it is.
Have an opinion, but judge kindly.
It’s more than likely, that you will be inundated with socially constructed, homogenized images of what is currently considered beautiful.
I encourage you to be mindful of these messages and to ask yourself -‘What’s really going on here?
Doesn’t Taylor Swift have freckles? (Why did they remove them?)
Look at all those young women on TV and compare them to the people we know and meet.
How many girls do you personally know that actually fit that ‘mould’?
Is that a fair representation of life as you know it?
Why is that?
Focus on feeling good, rather than looking good.
As you have already discovered, fashion is fun! Getting dressed up and donning five different hair-bands makes you feel like a goddess!
If you want to over-accessorise and wear eye-popping outfits – I’m not going to battle you.
Express yourself creatively through fashion if you want to. Just don’t take it too seriously.
Focus on accepting all aspects of your body and developing a feel-good attitude.
That’s why we eat healthy food. That’s why we encourage mindful eating.
There is a direct link between experiencing inner health and exuding beauty.
When you nourish your body with whole foods, notice how you have more energy.
When you learn to live IN your body as much as you do in your head, notice how grateful you feel just to be alive and breathing.
You’re more alert. You’re stronger. You get to experience all the shades and hues of life.
Feel good about yourself and your body image will instantly improve.
Understand that there will be many days where it appears that your body has betrayed you.
Times when, for no discernible reason, you will awake feeling self-conscious and a little bit gross.
I’m here to tell you that’s ok too. We all have days like that!
When this happens, be extra kind to yourself. Let yourself feel whatever it is that you need to feel.
Focus on ways to nurture yourself, rather than paying too much attention to negative self-talk.
Understand why you might feel like numbing out with food, or technology, or consumerism. Learn to decipher your true needs.
Be gentle with yourself and understand that it will pass.
Know that your Daddy and I will continue to tell you that you are beautiful, every day. Because you are!
We will focus on the strength and suppleness of your limbs, as you practice splits and cart-wheels.
We will comment on your gorgeous smiles and the magical way that your eyes are visibly softened by love.
We will laugh and be challenged by the fearless curiosity of your minds and pray that you keep them as open as your heart.
Everyone has beauty if you look for it.