Dear Friends and Family Members,
If you love my daughter, or if you love your daughter, or if you love any little girl.. Shut up.
Stop talking about your body as though it is ugly. Stop talking about your too-big feet, too-long toes. Stop making fun of my knobbly knees or my frizzy hair. Stop talking about needing to lose ten pounds. Stop talking about your ugly this, your gross that, your crash diet, your fat butt, your spider veins. Stop talking about your too-white skin or your too-dark skin or your too-freckled skin. Stop wishing that you were a supermodel. Stop wishing you were shorter or taller or skinnier or meatier. Stop forwarding pictures of “OMG isn’t this person GROSS?” and stop making snarky comments about strangers on the street.
Don’t talk about yourself that way. Don’t talk about me that way. Don’t talk about anyone that way. Not in front of a little girl.
Almost every woman in this country hates the way she looks for one reason or another, or only feels beautiful at certain moments in time when everything is just right. But for most of our lives things are slightly out of place. Slightly saggier, larger, smaller, or frizzier than we would like.
Why does it matter? Why do we have to spend so much time dwelling on the things we dislike about each other? Why do we have to speak of this in front of our girls who have never even realized that they could or should dislike themselves or others? Why do we force each generation to go through this?
Don’t talk about the bags under your eyes and how you have to paint them away so that no one will know how tired you are. Talk about healthy sleep habits and dietary changes that can help with under-eye puffiness. Talk about skin health.
Don’t talk about needing to lose ten pounds. Talk about making healthier eating choices.
Don’t talk about feeling “out of shape”, talk about feeling “out of breath” or “out of energy”.
Disliking oneself and disliking others is not a legacy that we need to pass on. Let it go. It makes no one happy.
And if you speak about such things in front of my daughter and try to pass on that legacy of self-disgust and shame, don’t be surprised to find yourself contradicted.
At some point in your life someone lied to you and told you that the unimportant things are what is important. At some point in your life no one stood up for your right to feel good in your skin. At some point in your life you internalized all the negative things that you heard other people say.
If you think I’m making too big of a deal out of this.. Ask yourself this: Are you comfortable in your skin? How do you feel when someone calls you ugly or fat or says your hair is too short too long too frizzy too curly? How do you feel if someone comments negatively about your feet, your hands, your legs, your skin?
If you love her, don’t do this to her. Let her grow up loving herself the way you and I should have grown up loving ourselves. Let her grow up feeling healthy and strong.
Let her be as beautiful as she is, without planting the seeds of self doubt.
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- Independent of Comparison:
Daughter, I can’t build you up if I tear myself or others down. Your beauty exists independent of comparison. No more, no less. Your intelligence exists independent of comparison. No more, no less. Your abilities exist independent of comparison. You are not another person. You are yourself. And that is what you need to be.
- When Do We Lose Our Comfort?:
You are beautiful to me, not because of the big blue eyes and curly black hair of your infancy, not because of what shape you may take as a child, a young adult, a woman, a mother, or a grandmother if I live to see you along that far. You are beautiful to me because I love the shape of your soul and how you are growing to be exactly who you need to be.
- The Truth About Your Body:
Through loving you, I look at all of the women and all of their daughters and I see nothing ugly, nothing out of shape, nothing wrong. I see many beautiful strong women who are being lied to by others about the beauty that they have, just as I was.