A contradiction? Perhaps. But that’s not my experience. Telling your child how cute they are does not raise self-esteem. In no way do I think NOT telling them will raise self-esteem, or telling them they aren’t cute (obviously). I’m not suggesting either of those as options. We have a 7 year old daughter who is pretty much the cutest thing ever. Seriously. We get stopped by people who tell her how cute she is regularly her entire life. Her gregarious personality and sense of humor make people notice her even more. On top of that she loves attention, has good pitch when she sings and if there’s music on it’s a guarantee that she’s dancing. Everywhere. You’d think this is all a good thing, right? Cute, musical, outgoing, loves attention. Continue reading
Years ago in what seems like another life, I volunteered my time teaching classes to adults through the Head Start program which offered daycare and meals to low income families. I enjoyed my seminars and I firmly believe that making a difference in a small way in one persons life is worth putting in some time and effort. That small difference in how a woman feels about herself can begin a domino effect of life altering changes. My classes were on Reducing Stress or Raising Self Esteem. If as parents we’re in a better space, our children will immediately and directly benefit from it.
I want my children’s inner voice to reflect how I feel about them internally. “I am smart. I am unique. I am gifted. I am loved. I am appreciated. I am treasured. I am a child of God. I am one of my Mommy’s most proud accomplishments.”
I’m still stunned by the utter lack of self esteem in women as a whole. We’re all so unique. We’re all beautiful. We all have different perspectives. Why is it so difficult to embrace our differences, unite to help each other and take over the world. OK… Maybe not take it over, but at the very least enhance it. We carry and deliver the babies. We nurse them and nurture them. Many of us stay at home to parent – I was a stay at home Mommy for 12 years. Others still are badass women in the workforce and have the capacity to come home and lovingly parent our children. We teach our children compassion and empathy. We teach them to love themselves. How can we adequately fulfill that responsibility if we don’t love ourselves??
In what now seems like another life, I had a modeling contract. I was 20 years old with the world at my feet. I was blessed with confidence and self-esteem despite an extremely dysfunctional childhood. Still, in the few short months I was with the company, with the exception of one photo shoot to get head shots, I was never drafted to do a paying photo shoot. My breasts were too small, I was too tall, not tall enough, too thin, too heavy, etc…. Then I found out I was pregnant with Brianna and I never once looked back and wondered “what if”. I just walked away from what “might have been” to “what will be”. What I value from that period of time are some of the pictures that I have of myself. To look back on. To compare.
My daughter, Brianna has grown to be an amazing woman who is breathtakingly beautiful. Her body, very unlike my tall, curvy frame, is athletically built and compact. I find her body type one of the most aesthetically stunning and in my younger years would have traded my tall curves for her streamlined physique. She is dark in coloring where I look like I came right off the beaches of Southern California. I’ve encouraged Bri, as I have all my children, to embrace who they are and what they look like. Bri is now that 20 year old with the world at her feet and has done some amazing photo shoots for her own personal files – which I strongly encouraged her to do – so that she can look back as I’ve been able to. So she can stand back objectively and realize her beauty, her uniqueness. So she can watch the changes in herself and love them.
The photos in this post are of me less than a year ago. I’ve held on to this post because posting them is personal – more so than telling you about a recent run or rating a running thong. The photos represent a piece of my journey, my willingness to work on myself but also to embrace myself. Do what you need to do to learn to love who you are. Do a private lingerie photo shoot, book a makeover by a professional artist, try a new cut and color, wear lipstick in your sweats but dedicate yourself to becoming a better you. Feel it, represent it and share it. Do what you need to raise your own self-esteem. After all, you can’t pour your light onto anyone else if there’s no oil in your lamp.