Growing up I was always on the chubbier side. My sister on the other hand was as slim as you could be. We had the same mother and father, ate the same food, but for whatever reason I was the way I was and she was the way she was.
Being chubby as a kid wasn’t easy as I was an obvious target for being picked on. It wasn’t that extreme in my case but I certainly knew that I was chubby and that was not ideal.
It wasn’t just about what people said directly to me but how the women in my life spoke about themselves. As women when we look at ourselves we tend to see and focus on what we don’t like rather than what we do like.
When was the last time you put on an outfit and walked down and said “I feel fabulous and look great”? Most of us walk down and check things like … do I still look pregnant in this? …. do my thighs and butt look big? … do my toes look terrible in these shoes?….the list goes on.
Recently while I was away camping with my family I overheard my mother say “I would never wear that it makes my thighs look huge”. Now my mother is nearly 60 years old … weighs around 60kg … does not have one grey hair on her head and looks fabulous for her age.
As she spoke these words I looked at her and asked “when does it stop?”. So when does the self loathing and body hating stop? Mum is 60 and looks great for her age but if you asked her that is not what she would see. My mother wasn’t thinking much of the comment she made and I didn’t grow up with any huge pressure from her about the way I looked (which I am very grateful for) BUT it was still there.
It has been a very long journey for me to get to a point where I love and accept my body, chubby wobbly bits and all. But even still it is a daily battle to stop focussing on my imperfections and instead celebrate what I have been given as a gift.
My daughters are watching and listening. I know the research says that I as their mother am the number one influence on how they view themselves, and that the media is secondary (although a very strong second). If I do leave it to the media they are going to have no chance and will spend the rest of their lives listing off the things about their bodies that aren’t good enough. If I let myself be impacted by media and the opinions of others than I too will become another voice in their head telling them they are not ok.
By speaking, acting and vocalising my imperfections (even if it is around them and not to them directly) I am essentially communicating to my daughters that they are not ok either.
We are our daughters only hope (no pressure or anything :). Unless we learn to love and accept ourselves just the way we are our daughters will never believe us when we tell them they are perfect just the way they are. Instead they will learn to self-loath and focus on their imperfections.
This is a long journey and you don’t just wake up one day and completely love every part of who you are. It is a process of reframing what you tell yourself about those things you have come to hate.
So I have decided I am going to start a small mini-series on the blog called “Love Letters for My Daughters”. The idea behind this is to write letters to those parts of my body I have been hating on for years and reframing my thoughts…..so here goes:
Love Letters for My Daughters Part 1:
For so long I have looked at you and hated you. Chubby, stumpy weird little toes. Most people probably would not even notice but I do. EVERYDAY. I see you and I hate you and I wish you were different. Today I want to apologise. I want to say sorry for the years of hate I have sent your way because in reality you are actually awesome because you are a part of me and if I don’t love you then who will.
Together we have done some many amazing things. Some of my best memories involve you. Dancing the night away with friends, walking the Great Wall of China, travelling the world and the list could go on. You have taken me to places and always done your best for me even when I have hated you.
I am sorry toes. You and me are in this life together and from this moment forward I will try and remember to be grateful for your gift to me.
The Rest of Your Body
Let’s send our daughters a different message and give them the greatest gift of all …. A LOVE OF THEMSELVES JUST THE WAY THEY ARE but we have to show them how to believe it by believing it about ourselves.
*p.s. I would love you to send in your love letters to the parts of your body you have been hating on for years. I will publish anonymously but I think we as women need to start hearing from eachother about how we love our imperfections because we hear enough from eachother about what we hate.