I was sitting in the living room, talking with my beautiful not-so-little girl when she said something to the effect of her belly being fat and gross. I stopped and instantly told her how wrong she was, that she was perfect, beautiful, and her body was just the way God created it. That she needs to love herself and be confident. That she was still growing, and her body will go through many changes but no matter what those changes brought she is to see herself as the beautiful creation she is. It broke my heart, but in that instant it hit me…
She learned it from me
There have been days that I complain about my body or looks (or even more often both) to my husband; I see Satan’s lies, the flaws, over God’s words, the beautiful creation I am. I’ll do it in passing not thinking about her listening to me, learning from me. At that moment, a thought hit me even harder than it has in the past. So many of us parents tend to go by the old “Do as I say, not as I do” when it comes to what we try to teach our kids. I’m guilty of this, of course, or this post wouldn’t have even come to pass. Our children are always watching and listening, so they are learning what we do and what if what we do conflicts with what we are teaching them to do or, in this case, believe about themselves. How do we expect them to have the self-confidence and positive body image when we don’t do that for ourselves, the ones they look up to?
As I sat reading my Bible study one morning, I was reading about knowing our identity in Christ, seeing our beauty rather than the flaws we think we have. Because chances are, others don’t see those flaws, I know that my daughter doesn’t. In fact, my daughter tells me I am beautiful every single day. She tells me I don’t need makeup, that my body is a beautiful body, that she thinks I am stunning, and she hopes to look as pretty as me when she grows up. She tells me just as much as I tell her, yet I still complain. What kind of lesson am I teaching her? How am I supposed to teach her and expect her to see the beauty she has if she sees my beauty and yet hears me complain about my body (or face, hair, or whatever). If she sees beauty yet hears me say “Ugh, I’m fat, I look bad without makeup, I hate my hair” then how am I expecting her to believe me when I tell her she is beautiful, especially if she is starting to have those moments of doubt as we all do when we are growing up.
When I realized what I had inadvertently been doing, I broke down and prayed for God to forgive me, in this area, for being a bad example for my daughter. It was then I realized that I need to take the time to see myself through my daughter’s eyes. She looks up to me, and she is going to be learning from my example. Do I want her to grow up with body image issues or to put herself down, complaining about herself? Absolutely not. I want her to be confident and see her beauty and know she is perfect just the way she is. Because she is perfect, she is God’s creation, and He is not in the mistake making business.
My daughter is going to have moments of doubt and less than stellar confidence; it’s something we all go through. But as her mom, I want to keep that to a minimum, but if I am always down on myself and talking negatively, she’ll do the same because she looks up to me. So, instead, I want to be an example of self-confidence (even if I have to fake it til I believe it wholeheartedly) so that she sees me look in the mirror and know I am beautiful, and follow that example. I want her to walk with confidence knowing she is God’s perfect creation.
Be careful how you talk about yourself, because your kids are watching you and what they learn from your actions is what that will take with them as they grow. Remember you are God’s creation, just like your children, you are beautifully made. Hold that head high and be the example for your kids, let them follow in those confident footsteps !
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