Now you might first of all think I don’t deserve an opinion on this particular topic and maybe you are right. I am not a mother, this is very true. However, I am a daughter and I have been a teacher, where every day I was teaching children just like your daughters, so please, humour me and hear me out.
You know those negative, hurtful remarks you make to yourself throughout the day? When you tell yourself you are fat or you need to tone up or you are ugly or you need more make up on or you aren’t good enough? You know the thoughts and comments I mean, right?
So how would it feel if you were to go up to someone and say those things to them? You wouldn’t dream of it, right? So let me ask you this; If it isn’t an acceptable thing to say to somebody else, why on earth would you say it to yourself?
The negative thoughts that go through our minds on a daily basis are most likely to be the harshest, darkest thought we have all day. We don’t deserve to be spoken to in this way by anyone, not even ourselves.
How would you feel if someone came up to your daughter and said something horrible to them about their image or personality? It’s a horrible thought, right?
Yesterday, a friend of mine shared a video on Facebook entitled “When your daughters hear you criticising yourself” and there lay the inspiration for this blog. It got me thinking of the children I taught, of the language that they used, which I often refer to as ‘learned language’ meaning that it is not something children just say. It is things they have heard from someone else.
Something that stands out to me is a situation I was in a little while ago, when teaching in Ireland. A 10 year old girl in one of my classes said something to the group during a class discussion around healthy living, about her diet beginning the next Monday. I literally couldn’t believe what I was hearing from such a small child. She continued to tell us she needed to diet to make sure she looked good in her bikini at the swimming pool on for their weekly lesson with school. I mean… Come on, she was 10. That poor little girl has learned to be self conscious before she’s even cracked long division. In this situation I managed to turn this into a classroom discussion about what a healthy balanced lifestyle included and we agreed that we do not need to go on diets.
Mothers, what are you saying to yourself in the mirror? Are you loving your bodies? Are you telling yourselves you look good? Because, believe me, your daughters are watching you and they are learning from you. They are mimicking your words and your actions and your beliefs.
Make a list of the things you love about your daughter. She’s beautiful, she’s funny, she looks out for people. The list will go on, you know it. Now, where did your daughter learn to be these amazing things? She learned them from YOU.
Why can’t we be the women who stand in front of the mirror and recognises all of these fabulous things that we can see in other people so clearly but struggle to tells ourselves? Self love is the most important love of all and once we begin to understand the value of the love that we give to ourselves, we will go far. If you struggle with telling yourself how amazing you are, work on it. Tell yourself every day that you are smart, courageous and beautiful. That you are confident and capable. Keep on repeating it until you believe it.
So, empower your children, allow them to believe that they can be and will be everything that they want to be.