Beautiful Like Me – Self Image
Ok, this week the question we are looking to answer is “Does how we look at ourselves effect how the next generation (your kids, grandkids, stepkids, friends kids, etc.) looks at themselves? Why or Why not?”. I started and stopped this post 100 times. I wrote, erased and wrote again because I couldn’t get a good handle on my feelings on this, and I stray hopelessly from topics.
My answer? Absolutely! How I view myself very much comes through how I act, how I take care of myself and how I feel – which translates into my children on many levels. If I’m unhappy with myself, it shows and kids are very perceptive. I’m very careful not to make negative comments about myself in front of my kids, because I don’t want them to think that they are any less than perfect, their own version of perfect. If they see me examining my cellulite in the mirror, I can guarantee they will be doing the same in short order. Nana is already noticing ways that she differs to me, and I make a point to reinforce that different does not equal bad. Your children want to BE you, so if you hate part of your body, they will too, and think this is normal and acceptable.
Now, all that is good in theory, but in practice, it’s a lot harder. I’m not a fix-my-hair-wear-make-up-daily person. I stay home, and just don’t make it a priority. Is that a mistake? I’m just not sure. On one hand, it’s teaching them beauty does not equal products. I know when I do put forth the effort, my kids get all excited and tell me how pretty I am. Have I done something wrong here? Is it wrong that they think I look nicer with make-up on? Have I done something inadvertantly to encourage this? Maybe when I ask McHusband how I look? Am I planting the evil looks-are-so-important-seed? I’m afraid I might have, so now it’s time to pull some weeds. This is why I joined in this project. My biggest, most important goal in life is to raise good, kind, smart, happy people. Part of being happy and kind is loving yourself. But, do I love myself enough to teach my kids properly?
I think if a parents wants their child to have a healthy body image, the parent has to live it themselves. Our children do as we do, not as we say. So, if you don’t love yourself, look in the mirror and try to find small things that you do love, and focus on those. Everyone has something to love, and let’s make sure our kids figure out how to find and embrace them! And maybe teach ourselves to do the same in the process. I’m already learning here.