Ever since I can remember, my mother has always told me that I am beautiful.
I never really believe her when she tells me this, though. I always think that she’s just biased. I’ve never really been completely happy with the way I look; I’ve always wanted bigger eyes, a smaller nose, clear skin – and now that I’ve had a child and my body has changed in ways I don’t even recognize…the list is now longer.
I have to be honest – when Olive was born, I was disappointed that she inherited my flat, button nose instead of my husbands higher, more refined one. Don’t get me wrong, I think Olive is absolutely perfect. And just like my mother thinks of me, I too think my daughter is beautiful. But because of the way I feel about my own nose…I’m worried that Olive will inherit the same insecurities, too. I don’t want her to think that she isn’t good enough, or pretty enough, or….not ‘anything’ enough.
I guess I want to know how to raise a daughter who is self confident and self accepting, when I don’t yet have to ability to do so myself?
I’m not sure I have this bit figured out yet.
But until I do, here are a few promises I want to make to myself – For Olive – to set us on the right path of raising her to have self confidence and self worth:
1. Be Positive: Sometimes I catch myself looking in the mirror, and making comments to my husband or my friends that I look fat. Or that I hate my hair…and more often than not, Olive is in the room. While she’s not actively listening to our conversation, one day she’s going to understand what I’m saying about myself, and mimic those same things. So, if I don’t have anything positive to say about myself, I’m not going to say them out loud. Perhaps not saying the words will take their power away as well, and I’ll be able to let those insecurities go.
2. Emphasize Intelligence, and not just Beauty: Often times, I tell Olive that I love what she’s wearing – “That’s so pretty!” comes out of my mouth often. When I see other kids too, it has unfortunately become my default greeting. I’m going to start veering away from that and emphasize praising her in other ways; like for her creativity, her intelligence, and her actions. Hopefully, Olive will start to recognize that these other parts of her personality are worth being proud of, too. Looks aren’t everything, and beauty is defined in more ways than outer beauty.
It’s not a lot, but it’s a start for now – to hopefully raise Olive to always feel that she is my beautiful daughter, both inside and out.
Photo Credit: Sadaf Murad Photo