Learning to love myself is an ongoing process. Some days I know that I am perfectly and wonderfully made, and other days, I would like to hide under my desk at work and not interact with anyone. For the most part, this has been an internal struggle of mine although something about today makes me want to put this out there on the internet – WHAT? I blame Brene Brown and all of her vulnerability talk.
For me, struggling to love myself started in grade school when there were the cool kids and then there was me … I was not in the group or part of the crowd. Maybe it is just me but I can remember vividly the names I was called on the playground at summer camp and those are engraved in me. I based my feelings of myself on the opinions of others. How THEY felt of me was how I felt of myself.
As I have navigated adulthood, I am constantly learning to love who I am. Loving myself for who I am, appreciating my talents and reminding myself that I do not have to perfect at everything. I am learning to love my body that gave birth to my two babies; it allows me to go to work every day and help support my family, and my body surprises me by what it is capable of. I repeat this to myself on the hard days.
This internal struggle became all too real when I saw my daughter standing in the mirror and twisting / turning to appear skinnier. Of course, looking at my daughter you would wonder why she would be concerned at all about the body fat on her body, but the truth is SHE was feeling insecure despite what any of us say or do. Growing up, that would have been ignored or my grandmother would say something like “Tiffy, you are perfect just how you are, don’t worry about what anyone says!” and man, did she try! I still struggled. Watching my daughter struggle, I just wanted to make the pain go away.
Instead of ignoring the situation, I chose to have a conversation with my daughter. We talked about how strong her body was, how much I loved her and her Daddy loved her and how one day, she would be as big as her brother. She confided in me that day; I validated her feelings because THEY ARE REAL, and we talked.
Mamas, not repeating the process of self-loathing is hard. We all have our own issues, areas of our life that we are insecure about and those old pesky comments from others in our heads, but we can make a difference. We can raise strong daughters who love themselves and share that love with others. We can all appreciate OUR differences and celebrate others’ differences, too!