Yesterday, I posted some photos of my daughters on social media. They’d been out of the country for a few weeks, so when they returned a few nights ago, I posted their photos like the insanely thrilled mom I was, to see them, spend time with them and hug and kiss them.
Aside from my two daughters encompassing inner beauty – depth, compassion, philanthropic awareness and serious smarts, they are also beautiful on a base external level. I don’t think I’m biased just because I’m their mom, I’ve noticed that the physical attributes of my daughters receive a great deal of attention from a large and diverse audience.
For every compliment on their physical appearance I receive, (which has little if anything to do with me), I just smile and try to say, “Thank you,” without saying,
Their looks aren’t what’s most interesting about them and I wish more people would focus on who they are from the inside out.
And things like,
They’re going to drive the boys crazy.
LOCK HER/THEM UP.
These generous complimentary people are kind and very well-meaning and most of them, I love and respect very much. Plus, I agree that my daughters are physically beautiful. I also realize that if photos are posted by me, I expose people to their physical looks and not their clever wit, charm, genius brains and huge hearts. Their compliments are lovely, but I don’t share any of them with my daughters and that is intentional.
I never want them to think their value is tied to their physical appearance. Our society dictates enough of this. Let me be a safe haven from that.
When people kvell over my daughters’ looks, there are times, where I find myself wanting to scream or at the very least, protect them. For far too many years of my life, I became almost totally reliant on my outer shell. So much so, that my innards became atrophied. This is something I intentionally stress with my daughters because I know how empty it feels to think being attractive is the most important part of me and if I lose my looks, I am nothing. or, a man is only interested in me because:
- He thinks I’m pretty/cute
- I have a flat stomach and 9% body fat
- I am a dancer and contortionist
- All of the above
My youngest daughter is comfortable with who she is, and my teenager, continuously finds the flaws in her skin, hair, body, etc. It hurts me to the core when I hear her saying negative things about her physical appearance. The rub is that I totally understand it and empathize with her. While I was considered cute, or pretty or whatever, I never actually thought it about myself. I never felt thin enough, my nose wasn’t perfect enough, and my hair was enormous and curly, etc. So basically, I put all of the weight of my own self-value into something, (my outer shell), I didn’t even find all that pleasing.
When my teenager beats the crap out of her looks, I often find myself thinking, “I wish you’d put this energy into apologizing to your sister for being mean to her.”
Now that I’m older and definitely wiser, I understand that I couldn’t really appreciate my outer shell because my insides were totally stunted. Now, my insides are pretty great and my outsides have shifted and aged. I feel more beautiful today than when I was seen as really beautiful. I’ll take it any day over how I felt as a young person.
Several years ago, a blog post changed my life and how I parent my girls. If you have daughters or people in your life who struggle with their self-worth, I highly recommend you read this and then practice at it. It literally changed how I talk to my own daughters and frankly, how I talk to myself.
How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body
The suggestions in this article are incredibly helpful. I hope it helps you and anyone else who doesn’t know in actuality, how really beautiful they are.