I've started telling my daughters I'm beautiful

November 13 2012 | Guest post by Amanda
By: LeyCC BY 2.0
I've started telling my girls that I think I'm beautiful. It's been so easy to tell them how beautiful THEY are, because it's obvious. They are the thing beauty is made of. They are the reason we started worshipping beauty. They sparkle and dance. When they're sleeping, they turn into soft cloud babies, little perfect tufts of white on the moonlight.

There are a lot of people like me. Women who know things. Women who have seen things. Women with diseases in their livers. There are a lot of women with scars on their arms and words that carry themselves like sparrows. There are women who were too big for this town, who had their backs bent carrying things like religion and a history that originated somewhere in the crook of a branch that extended over a stream. A place where a patch of the sky was visible through the leaves, where a little girl let her bare leg dangle too far down.

There are a lot of people like me, because we're all the same. We're all blood and electricity. We're lonely under the gaze of god. We're all wet with dew and swallowing hard against DO THIS, CONSUME, SHUT UP and BE AFRAID to die.

All of you women with lines on your brow, with cracks between your fingers… it's been a long winter. All of you, you are beautiful and so am I.

Long Island Children's Museum
Photo by Barbara Reggio

The thing is, my children are perfect. I am the grown up, so I'm supposed to show them everything about life. When they wake up in the morning, though, I stare at them and they're new. They teach me everything. They are babies and they teach me what it means to be a person. It's easy to see that they're beautiful.

I am slow and I am tired. I am round and sagging. I am harried. I am sexless. I am getting older.

I am beautiful. How can this be? How can any of this be true?

I don't want my girls to be children who are perfect and then, when they start to feel like women, they remember how I thought of myself as ugly and so they will be ugly too. They will get older and their breasts will lose their shape and they will hate their bodies, because that's what women do. That's what mommy did. I want them to become women who remember me modeling impossible beauty. Modeling beauty in the face of a mean world, a scary world, a world where we don't know what to make of ourselves.

"Look at me, girls!" I say to them. "Look at how beautiful I am. I feel really beautiful, today."

You Are Beautiful print by Etsy seller iolabs
You Are Beautiful print by Etsy seller iolabs

I see it behind their eyes, the calculating and impression. I see it behind their shining brown eyes, how glad they are that I believe I am beautiful. They love me. To them, I am love and guidance and warm, soft blankets and early mornings. They have never doubted how wonderful I am. They have never doubted my beauty. How confusing it must have been for them to see me furrowing my brow in the mirror and sucking in my stomach and sighing.

How confusing it must have been to have me say to them, "You think I am beautiful, but you are wrong. You are small and you love me, so you're not smart enough to know how unattractive I am. I know I am ugly because I see myself with mean eyes. You are my child and I love you, but I will not allow myself to be pretty, for you. No matter how shining you are when you watch me brushing my hair and pulling my dress over my head. No matter how much you want to be just like me, I can't be beautiful for you and I don't know why."

It's working, a little bit. I've even stopped hating myself, a little bit.

I'll be what they see. They see me through eyes of love. I'd do anything for them, even this.

I am beautiful.

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  1. This is an absolutely lovely post, and well written. I don't even have children, but it made me feel inspired to think more kindly of myself and to model beauty for other girls. Thank you for sharing this with the world.

  2. This is what I just wrote on my FB sharing of this article: It's funny, hey? How you sometimes have to see things over and over before you finally go and take a read… but this is an important one for anyone, especially somebody with kids. Not just daughters. I think it's high time we start taking
    responsibility for the fact that boys who watch us grow up hating the way we look post-kid, which, face it, is the only way they are ever going to see us… will then grow up and quite possibly MISS the fact that women are still beautiful after children. Sure, it's easy to say guys are shallow and pathetic because they lose interest in a woman once they get older and have kids, but it's bound to happen if 1) WE hate the way WE look after kids and pine after our pre-kid selves… and 2) they grew up listening to us tell them how we aren't worth as much once our body is "used up" by childbirth and rearing. It's a ridiculous concept, but we are one of the few cultures who see having kids as making you LESS of a strong and beautiful woman… what IS that???

  3. This is a wonderful reminder to be kind to everyone but, first and foremost to the person reflecting back to us in the mirror, our beautiful self! As mothers and role models we owe this to our daughters and sons who are silently watching and waiting to emulate us, whether we know it not.

  4. Do I ever love this! I remember the day I walked into the office of (who would've been) my plastic surgeon. Excited for my breasts to be larger, fuller, what our society considers 'attractive'.
    Before surgery, I chickened out. I was afraid of what could go wrong.
    My fear of surgery saved my self esteem and the self esteem of my daughter (who is just a wee-human, 15 months young).
    Who would I be to say she's beautiful and she should accept herself just the way she is while I spent thousands on a superficial surgery because I myself couldn't accept my own body for what it is? A hypocrite. I would've been a hypocrite with an invalid and confusing message to my own child. I'm forever thankful that I decided no. We are all fine examples of beauty, my fellow lady-earthlings.

  5. the irony of an ad screaming "win a $10,000 modeling contract, click here!" in the middle of this beautiful story is not lost on me.

    i still struggle to make my mom believe she is beautiful. it's never been a question to me. i am now 20.

  6. I wrote a post about how I don't tell my daughter she's pretty (so she doesn't use her beauty as a crutch). But I like this perspective JUST AS MUCH! (Maybe more!) I have to share this.

  7. amazing – we are survivors are learning to live in our own bodies with the light that snines from within – someday we will be young girls with grandmother faces – beauty is in the eye of the beholder(s). Blessings to you all xo you are beautiful in ways you may not know.

  8. It is so important to try to mend broken wings from our childhood. It is crucial that we dont bring negativity to our children because of anything that happened to us. when we become a parent we are given a brand new journal in which to write..a better , warmer,loving story of our own as we raise our children. we are affected by our upbringing but what we do with our experiences is up to us. I chose to love my daughter,tell her she is beautiful, for she is.I tell her every day I love her. I did hear that all my life, but that is what it is, what I am now is what I have chosen to be..and I chose to be happy, thankful to be a mom. for every moment . My daughter is the confirmation that angels exist.

  9. Wow. I cried as I read this. Your article is so honest. So true. So real. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can't I be beautiful? My children think I am, inside and out, which is really quite amazing because I think I'm neither! Once again, they are teaching me another important lesson. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  10. Love this. I may even say this to my son. I was just remembering today babysitting a little boy once who told his mother that she looked terrible. I knew even then that he was only parroting what he had heard her say. What a sad message to send to our children when we can't even honor ourselves enough not to put ourselves down, especially when they come from us.

  11. Wow. Thank you. Just beautiful — your words, your sentiment, your heart, your mothering and your womanhood. I am humbled and inspired. I will try to follow in your footsteps because it is too important not to and I will share this with everyone I know as well. <3.

  12. My father taught my sister and me two very important things. He said "If I had 10 kids I would want them all to be girls." and "If you act as good as you look you'll be okay."

    We need to learn to speak the language of virtue with children. We need to tell them how much we appreciate their patience in xxx situation. How kind and generous they were with their little brother. How, maybe, they can use a situation to practice sharing.

    This will balance all that talk of how we look.

  13. This is so beautiful, eloquent and necessary. We should ALL read this to remind ourselves how we self-loath (even a little) everyday. And this is what we teach our next generations … That perfection is a lie. Let's stop lying !! Thank you.

  14. I'm beautiful, down to my last gray hair! And I feel it. We all are. Aging means that you are still alive. How grand is that?

  15. What a great idea! I never worried about getting gray as I got older (which I have a lot of), or having wrinkles (which I have a few of), or about forgetting to put makeup on or having the most fashionable clothes. Because I saw my mom and her mom growing older, turning gray and wrinkled and pudgy, not wearing makeup or fancy duds. And I thought they were neater'n sliced bread. Too bad we don't all relax and enjoy ourselves and one another like that! But your post is a start!

  16. This is one of the most beautiful things I've read in a long time. Thank you for writing it. I don't yet have daughters but I often dream of it. I have a fuzzy idea that something will click magically when parenthood comes and I will be a perfect role model who manages everything much better than I do with my solo life now. No? Not gonna happen? Shucks well at least I can learn from you mommas about what will come up. All the best to you and your family.

  17. To the writer, I want to thank you for the honesty in your perfectly written article. You have inspired me to work on believing this for my son.

  18. I read this last week- a friend of mine posted it on FB- I have come back and read it three times since- this is so lovely and a great reminder! I want my kids to exude confidence and not even question their appearance no matter what- I have these expectations for them well then why not for myself? I think I lost some of that sparkle I used to have- that girl who could get air off of any wave or climb and cliff has become lost as I age. I need to find her again- thank you for the beautiful reminder!

  19. Amazing post. I love how its beautifully worded and the positive message it gives people.

    I think this will be my affirmation this week: "No matter what, I am beautiful" While I'm not a mother yet, it's still a reminder that irregardless of the illnesses/allergies, weight gain/loss, etc, I'm still a beautiful person inside and out. =)

    :hugs: Thank you for writing this. :extra hugs:

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm the Clinical Director of an eating disorder treatment center and I read this in group this morning. We were able to have a great discussion about the messages we received about beauty and the messages we give to others when we're not able to see ourselves as they see us. It gave us an opportunity to define beauty (as not just physical) and why our self-acceptance is healthy for the people who love us. I challenged each of the group members to share how they would tell themselves they are beautiful today.

  21. Wow, I was.. floored by this post. I'm a deeply insecure woman, for many reasons, and have always been the kind of person who can't hear a compliment without denying it or brushing it off. Even when it comes from my children. I've always just felt that its more.. humble, I guess. But I don't want my children to grow up thinking that being humble means being secure, and confidence means cockiness. I can't believe how blind I've been to things like this, how I've been influencing their idea of beauty. Starting today I'm going to be so much more aware of all the self-deprecating comments I make in a day without even thinking about it

  22. Amanda, you are an amazing writer. I have read this post twice and cried like a baby both times. I read it aloud just now to my husband (after forwarding it to a few mama friends) It is such a moving piece. And so so true how women must be beautiful for their children so they grow up different from how we did… With all the fake beauty in all the magazines, we have to show them what REAL beauty is.

    Thank you for sharing your brilliance.
    Love and blessings,

  23. I worry about this. I am not a mother but I want to be, and I worry about how I can avoid doing to my daughters what my mother did to me. Not on purpose, but because that was how she was, how she thought. I know I have the same habits of thought, the same neuroses, the same hang ups, and I desperately want my children not to have them, or at least not to inherit them from me.

    So thank you for this post. It gives me hope.

  24. The true beauty of a person is when they smile so deep that it shows into the joy in their heart. That is where beauty lives in love. God bless!

  25. I had to share this ! How wonderful ! I was always fairly thin and after my first 2 babies, my body bounced back in a matter of weeks. After the 3rd though, it didn't. Along with the fact that I began to comfort myself with food, especially sweets and after 2 years I'm almost 200 lbs and having to get used to my new plus sized self. I still feel beautiful although there are parts I'm not completely happy with. And when my children tell me "Mommy, you're beautiful !" and "You're a hot rockin' mama !" (my favorite !)who am I to argue !? All women are beautiful…even if some of us don't fit society's standards of beauty,thank God for those of us who can see past that and see the beauty in ourselves and our flaws and in others.

  26. this makes me cry every time i read it. thank you thank you thank you for your wonderful way with words. my two girls are 6 and 8, amazingly beautiful, sweet, creative….. i want them to always feel beautiful, worthy… and this is how. thank you.

  27. Thank you so much for this! Most of my life, ie spent time and anxiety trying to be the most beautiful girl on the room. Why? Having children has changed my body and though my mind has struggled to reconcile the intellectual appreciation for the power and beauty of my female body, my emotions have wrestled with insecurity.

    But to and for our children we are all beautiful Mamas. We shouldn't be a part of the culture that is obsessed & immersed in commercial, unattainable beauty. We should embrace our bodies for all their beauty, which may no longer turn all the heads in the room. But who cares? Why is that still important, if it ever was??

    I am beautiful because I birthed children.
    I am beautiful because I nurtured them at my breast.
    I am beautiful because my body is soft and comforting.
    I am beautiful because I grow and sustain life.
    I am beautiful because I have glorious stretch marks.
    I am beautiful because I love with my whole heart.
    I am beautiful.

    We are beautiful. We are all beautiful.

  28. AMAZING.

    This post has massively opened my eyes to the questionable approach I've taken to beauty all my life. I've always vehemently batted back any compliment I've ever received about my looks in an attempt to remain 'grounded' and free from relying on my appearance as a source of self esteem. I've even treated attention to my looks as greatly insulting, as though it implies that nothing else about me matters. I had believed that such a stance would in my own small way help to shift society's focus away from women's bodies to their brains.

    But is it possible to embody the empowering confidence talked about in this brilliant post without succumbing to vanity, or to grant physical appearance more weight than it is due?

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts and kind words. I feel that, by ignoring the subject appearance and refusing to bring up beauty, we're not doing our daughters any favors, since they're growing up in a beauty obsessed world. That's why it's so important to me to acknowledge my appearance, and to praise myself for the way that I look. Of course, I praise myself and other people for their other qualities much more often, but I don't deny that I have a body and a face and that I am beautiful, in their ways. I am, by no means, a stereotypically "beautiful" woman. I want my girls not to ignore the way that everyone looks, but to celebrate the diverse and multidimensional beauty that is all around them, and believe that it comes in all shapes and sizes and ages and races etc.

    • I've even treated attention to my looks as greatly insulting, as though it implies that nothing else about me matters. I had believed that such a stance would in my own small way help to shift society's focus away from women's bodies to their brains.

      I totally have to reply to this, because I am the adult daughter of a mother who took this same tact! In an attempt not to crush me with beauty issues, my mom worked hard to model NOT CARING AT ALL about how she looked. With the exception of one ill-advised perm in the '80s, I can't think of a single time she expressed caring about her appearance at all.

      While I totally respect and applaud her decision, I also turned out to be kinda a froofy/girly girl who had zero modeling for how to deal with, well, CARING about how I looked. For me, caring about appearance isn't always about caving to societal pressure — it's always been a bit theatrical, as much about sub-cultural costuming and expressing yourself through personal style as it is about "looking good."

      I think there's a huge opportunity for parents to cultivate showing kids the fun & joy of personal style and dressing up, without feeling like they're caving on their feminist values or sending the message that kids will only be judged on your looks.

      With my three-year-old, I use a lot of language about "extra sparkle" and "getting fancy" as a way to make beauty about adding and having fun, instead of caving to pressures.

      I could go on and on — but I'll stop myself now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. i just got my newsletter from lunapads and there's always a section of articles from around the web listed – this is the first one they recommend. i love seeing how this has taken off <3

  30. How about telling your SONS that THEY are beautiful? In my work with youth, boys grow up feeling that only girls can be beautiful and they struggle silently with bodily shame and feelings of being unattractive. If you truly want to parent "against the grain", stop following stereotypes. Treat your sons with the tenderness, love, compassion and affection that you treat your daughters.

  31. Amanda – totally valid point and thanks for helping me to look at the whole issue with a new perspective! It's really food for thought.

    @Laurie, the consensus throughout these comments is that this post is equally, if not more pertinent to raising sons, but the author can't help the fact that she only has daughters! As a consequence the focus is on how beauty is perceived through the eyes of young girls, but nowhere is it implied that the concept applies to females only, and I've no doubt that the sentiment would enhance any human's appreciation of beauty.

  32. This is amazing! The world needs more women like you, who inspire the best in children, and who want to create and cultivate more beauty! I'll share this with my friends for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lots of love <3

  33. Last week I was trying to convince my 7-year-old daughter that she needs to wear her glasses when she's reading. I wear glasses and was using that to try to get her to wear them.

    Finally she says, "…but you are BEAUTIFUL…"

    Wow. I'd never considered that she felt that she WASN'T nor that I WAS!

  34. I'm crying. All I can think about is a moment in the summer when I was maybe 7. I BADLY wanted to go to the beach and was in my parents' bedroom begging them to take me.

    My mom grumbld and my dad said mom doesn't want to go. I boggled (why would ANYONE EVER NOT want to go to the beach?) and she looked embarrassed and upset. I pressed.

    Dad said "your mom doesn't want to wear a swimsuit. She thinks it doesn't look good."

    My eyes must have been huge, I was so confused. "REALLY?" My mom said she hadn't taken good care of herself nd she wanted to look better.

    I furrowed. I looked at my dad. "but… mommy's beautiful!"

    He laughed and said "Well that's what I keep telling her, but…"

    I've never forgotten that. My mom instilled a lot of good stuff in me related to body things, but never seemed to really like herself and be kind to herself.

    I don't plan to have kids but this post reaches so deep.

  35. thank you – i decided my mom was beautiful when others would say i should be ashamed of her – i decided not to let other people tell me how i should or shouldnt love the woman who gives me everything – and she loved herself more because i was 12 and telling her i loved her no matter what anyone said – and i meant it.

  36. Such a beautiful post and such an important decision. The first time I ever heard my mom criticize her body I was probably about twenty. I was shocked to hear the typical, "I hate my thighs" from her, but it made me realize how lucky I was that she had never said that kind of thing in front of me when I was a girl. That sort of negative body-talk just did not exist in our home, and I'm so grateful to her for that.

  37. This is one of the most important things I have ever read. It is forcing me to admit I am beautiful, always have been and always will be. The most significant people in my life know I am. Even casual friends reflect our shared beauty. Strangers sometimes even think I am. Why has it taken this beautiful confession to see that I could actually believe it too. Thank you.

  38. YES! This is so important. I grew up in a culture and household where women did not embrace their beauty. I grew up seeing my mom, who is wonderful and strong and a model in many ways, be afraid of her body. It took me a long time to crawl out under that. I know now that if I am lucky to have daughters I will teach them the opposite – to not be afraid of their bodies, to not feel as if they have to perfect.

  39. Awesome post! I have two little boys but as I was thinking about it, I think it's probably just as important for me to put this on display for them also. THEY need to know what a confident, beautiful woman looks like…and no, it's not like those Victoria Secret models! I want them to love a woman comfortable in her own skin! Their future wives can thank me later ๐Ÿ˜‰

  40. Wow! Awesome idea, and one that should already be natural and make so much sense! Women are neurotic as FK at the best of times, but I hadn't even considered all the "Look how fat Mommy is" type stuff that can have such a massive effect (or is that 'affect'?) on our children! They see you as The Best whatever, and it's only us who beat that out of them by saying THIS girl is beautiful – you Mom is wrinkled and has stretch marks…"

  41. I saw a link come through a few weeks ago on Facebook, but failed to read the blog entry, mostly because I have a boy. However, it stuck in my craw: why shouldn't I tell him that I am beautiful? It's just as important to raise men who see *real* women for their worth as to raise women to see their own, right? So, I've started telling my *son* that I'm beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Thank you for writing this. Thank you, thank you. I can't wait to talk about this with my beautiful spouse (and to model this way of being in the world with my beautiful daughter!). Peace to you and yours.

  43. This was beautifully put. I know in my heart I shouldn't be commenting on my weight or my unhappiness with my looks in front of my three daughters (ages 7, 9, 10) but Im guilty. I need to challenge myself and compliment myself in front of them, show them my confidence. Thank you for this great reminder… Priceless words

  44. For many months, my son had been calling me "Squommy." It's short for Squishy Mommy. One day I said to him, "Dear son, I'm not certain that I like being called Squishy Mommy." He looked very confused and a little sad, and this little boy who adores all things squishy said, "But I *love* my Squommy." So now we're both a little older, and I go by "Squom."

  45. This is exquisitely written. Absolutely perfectly articulated, and works out the complexities that it SHOULD in a way that drives it so deeply home that it is now real enough to employ. THANK YOU. THIS. This thing you have created with your word magic. I am now ready to do the thing I knew I should but didn't feel right about doing. Now I know I will. And why. And boldly. Thank you so much.

  46. I am so glad you wrote this article. I don't have enough words to express how true and wonderful this article is. You have renewed my desire to keep fighting to "model impossible beauty " not only for myself and my daughters, but also for my son, husband and everyone I meet. I will challenge them to do the same. Thank you for this… Truly inspirational.

  47. Dear Amanda,

    Thank you! Thank you for your beautiful words, for the tears that are now running down my face and the reminder that MY beauty is in the eye of the beholder – starting with me.

    What a beautiful way to start my day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  48. I was agreeing with you 100% until the end. "I've even stopped hating myself, a little bit". I am really concerned about this phrase. NO ONE should hate themselves, whether they are beautiful or not, or are told they are beautiful or not, or think they are beautiful or not. This is not healthy, and believe it or not, your daughters will pick up on the fact that you hate yourself. I strongly suggest you get some outside help with your self-loathing.

    I myself have struggled with that a lot. But I finally decided that even though I may not be beautiful I have a lot of other things going for me and I love myself for that.

    • Something about this is that I'm a writer. I'm not an expert on beauty or parenting or anything. When I wrote this, I used a turn of phrase to express how I was feeling, not believing that the whole world would read what I'd written. I don't believe this piece is something to be agreed or disagreed with. It is just something that was true for me, when I wrote it.

      I am beautiful, even conventionally. I don't "hate myself" because I'm not beautiful. I was saying that I believe that every woman in America believes terrible things about themselves, whether it's ongoing or fleeting. We all "hate ourselves" when we look in the mirror and think, "I look disgusting." There isn't anything wrong with me that isn't wrong with everyone. I don't hate myself, especially, or any differently than everyone else.

  49. Thank you. Really, really thank you. I have two daughters who are so wonderfully confident and certain of themselves and I am terrified they will grow out of it. I need to be their role model.

  50. Wow what a wonderful post, you are so insightful and truthful. Why is it so hard for women to embrace their beauty? All of us need to grab hold of our womanhood and revel in it.

  51. Such a fantastic post!! I try so hard to lead by example with my perfect son, but for some reason I didn't take the same route when trying to teach him about inner beauty! I'm forever telling him how beyond gorgeous he is, but you've now inspired me to teach him to love himself by following in the footsteps of his Mum. Saying "I am beautiful" is easier said than done – but you've inspired me to try harder!

  52. I cannot properly expressed how much I LOVE this blog. I suffered through severe body image and eating disorder issues for most of my life before finding recovery and can tell you that believing that our beauty comes from WHO we are and not what we look like is so powerful and that our "flaws" are what make us special and unique. I am a body image advocate and just wrote my first book "The Body Image Survival Guide: Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive" (The book I wish my mom had had when I was struggling and she felt so helpless). I am so moved by the strength and compassion in your words. Thank You! :o)

  53. Yes, loving my little 4-year old girl is easy; loving my own self is hard. Great conversation the other day: "Mommy, your boobs hang way down!" "Well, that's what grown-up lady boobs do." "I want MY boobs to hang down! Why don't they hang down?" "You're just the right size for you. Your boobs will hang down when you're a grown up." I WANT THEM TO HANG DOWN NOW!! WAAAAAHH!" (Tears!) Needless to say, I was snorting with laughter, but tried to cover it with sympathetic mom-noises. Still my favorite story. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That is a great story! Boobs hanging down means you have lived a good life, possibly supported little people's livelihood through those hanging boobs. Hanging boobs are a good thing. What a perspective changer!

  54. This is something every woman needs to hear. Even those women we see in the world who seem to have it all together, the ones that judge us because we aren't wearing the latest styles or can't fit into a size 00 or shop at discount stores for clothing. In fact, I would say some of these women need to hear it even more. Many of them judge us because they do not feel pretty themselves so they feel the need to bring us to their level in their eyes. It is how they feel pretty and worthwhile. However, there is more than one way to do this, and we all need to realize that if we lift ourselves and each other up instead of bringing others down, we will all be better for it.

  55. It's funny how when I feel a certain way about myself, I suddenly stumble acroos posts that mimic my new found perspectives.

    I'm 33 with an 8 year old son, who tells me daily that "I'm the best Mom in the world" and that "I'm beautiful", yet no matter how many times he tells me this, I could never quite honestly believe him. He's my son, my child, he doesn't know any different is was I would tell myself.

    It wasn't until I actually started looking at myself in the mirror nd no matter what I looked like, whether my eyes are bloodshot from not getting enough sleep, or my stomach is rather large one day because of something I ate, or my breats are starting to sag a little because I'm getting older, as long as I started telling myself that I am beautiful and that I love and accept myself, everything else seemed to be okay and I could deal with myself with a better level of understanding.

    At first it was really hard for me to look at myself, I would want to turn away, I wasn't feeling what I was saying to myself. Eventually it became easier for me to look at myself and actually believe my own words..and feel what I was saying. Vibrationally, at a completely different level.

    My mother had 8 children with my father. 6 girls and 2 boys. Yet, she never loved herself – we all knew this. She struggles with loving and accepting herself, and in return, has a difficult time loving and accepting her own children. We understand, yet, we all want to be loved. You can't fully completely love someone else if you don't love yourself fully completely first.

    Some people may see this as being selfish – loving yourself first and doing things for your self first – but we have to take care of ourselves first before we can take care of anyone else.

    Thank you soooo much for this, for bringing this important topic out into the open and talking about something that sooo many of us feel inside. I am so grateful! XO

  56. Beautiful piece, but jarring to see an ad for "Spanx" plunked right in the middle of it; reminds me of why I keep an ad-free blog. I will try to do as the author says, although for the mother of a 17-year-old who already tells me I'm a bad example of body image, it may be too late.

    • Thanks so much for flagging that ad, Brenda. The banner should be filtered out now.

      Also, while I'm all for ad-free personal blogs, as the owner of a small publishing business, I gotta say that filtering out a gross ad here and there feels like an ok trade-off to be able to continue paying my editor to produce this site and support her family.

  57. I love this post so much. I've been a girl who has struggled with her self image in part because my mom struggles with hers. When I tell her she's beautiful, she always waves me away, so I feel like how can I accept my beauty when she won't accept hers? She tells me I'm beautiful, but I can't believe her. This article has made me realize that I need to stop perpetuating this cycle and really learn to love myself and think of myself as beautiful! It's hard but I'll try ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks to whomever wrote the article, it woke me up. When I have kids I'm going to stick with this advice too.

  58. Thank you for writing this post. Thank you for opening my eyes and helping me realize what message I am sending to my girls. No I'm not skinny, I
    am lumpy but I am BEAUTIFUL!

  59. thank you for this! i only have 1 daughter, but i also have 2 boys. and i'm going to imply this new philosophy not just for my daughter, but so that my sons will know that a curvy woman is beautiful and won't try to search in vain for something that is airbrushed and not truly real. thank you for putting this out there!

  60. What an amazing post – what a life-changing thought! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom! You have made a huge difference in so many female lives – women and girls (women-to-be). How did I never see what I was doing to my daughter before, what message I was giving her? I am flabbergasted that so many of us just accepted as truth that we left beauty behind with our youth. No more!

  61. Shitting here with a shocked look on my face, not even really knowing what to comment, but knowing that I must. I think mostly, I will just say THANK YOU for writing this and helping me to look at this from a different – and very important – perspective!

  62. Thank you for your post. I have seen how I needed to live what I wanted my children to be in other areas, but not this one. It makes me weep. I needed a good reminder of why I must do the hard things to change – my children are watching.

  63. I would like to hear more from fathers, husbands, grandfathers, brothers, uncles about how they feel. I heard from only one male, and he was on track….I applaud him!

  64. Thank you for this. I needed this. It is so true and I need to live by this for all 4 of my children. My sons, as well as my daughters will benefit from this. My daughter was just asking me today about my "beautiful" stretch marks on my belly. What a great lesson for her to learn they are marks I bear with love and embrace because of what they brought me, and that I am beautiful just the way I am. Maybe like you I will start believing it, even just a little.

  65. What beautiful writing. This gives me a sense of peace inside, and makes me feel okay for today. You spoke to my heart. I want to cry. This is a very important reminder for me. I have a son, and sometimes I think that my body image is not as important since he is not a female. But in moments like this, I want to love myself so that he sees a woman with a healthy body relationship. He should grow up knowing that beauty is a feeling, not the visual images we are constantly sold.

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