Thursday, September 25, 2014

How to Help My Daughters Feel Beautiful?

Having self-confidence and feeling beautiful are things I feel I've struggled with my entire life. Now I have two daughters and like most parents I have the feeling of wanting better for my children. I want them to feel beautiful. I want them to look in the mirror every day and feel happy with what they see there.

I read an article yesterday saying that 4% of women think they are beautiful. 4%!!

It's difficult to feel beautiful when we're surrounded by such a high ideal of how we should look. We're taught from an early age that we should spend time, effort and money to look externally attractive. Often made to feel guilty or unworthy if we don't.

 Except you can't help but fail. The high standard of beauty is unattainable. Models are digitally altered to look slimmer, lines are removed and any blemishes are smoothed out. No one can look the way magazines would have us believe a beautiful woman should look. Not even the model posing for the picture looks like that. It's impossible to.

Adverts do more than sell a product, they sell an idea of how you should look, how you can be happy, how you can be sexy and what your life could be like if you buy their product.

Leigh and Erin are aware of this since JD and I have talked to them about it. It's hard to know how much they believe it though or if they really take it in. Erin is confident about herself and her body in a way that amazes me every day and I hope she continues to feel that way. Leigh is shy and always seems nervous about how she looks. I wish she could see how beautiful she is. They both are. So beautiful. ^_^

So, what can I do to help them feel beautiful? For a start I've decided to stop shying away from the camera. I'm usually the one taking pictures so I'm less often in the picture. When pictures are taken of me I'm quick to delete unsuitable ones that don't show me to my standard of acceptableness. Which seems ridiculous the more I think about it. I look the way I look. Taking a picture doesn't change how I look, anyone spending time with me will see me in various ways and expressions.

I'm going to stop censoring my pictures or saying out loud that I look bad in photos. It's a negative reinforcement that underlines the need to look attractive all the time. I'm not going to say negative things about my body but instead say out loud things I like about my body. I'm going to use the word beautiful to mean kind or thoughtful or use it when the kids show empathy. All those things make for a beautiful person. I'm going to show Leigh and Erin that I'm happy with my body/face AS IT IS RIGHT NOW and not be constantly striving to change myself into someone else's ideal of beauty.

Here is a picture of me I've always thought is awful but it's really just a picture of me, a Mum with her two daughters having fun taking a selfie (before that word existed)and feeling happy.

I want to be as beautiful as I can be to MYSELF first. THEN to whomever has the SENSE to see me. -Maya Angelou

Do you feel beautiful?

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