Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Beauty Within

Will Holden will be three months old tomorrow.  So I'm edging up on three months after having a baby and so this weekend/Monday I'm going to write an update on my weight loss journey.  I've had ups and downs and probably face a lot of the same hurdles that most of you do.  The good news I have lost some - it's just a slow process.  I will give specific details on that in a later post but I wanted to address something that so many of you mentioned as you commented on my original weight loss post.

So many of you showed concern that I didn't pass on insecurities/weight struggles to my girls.  And I so agree with you.  Having girls, I knew that one of my biggest jobs would be to guide them in a world that can be so image based.  I know that probably 90% of all women struggle with insecurity with their looks or weight and it starts earlier and earlier.  

I have always been very careful to never use the "F" word at our house.  NOT the one you are thinking (although we don't say that either) but "FAT".  I never say things like "oh I'm so fat" or "I can't have cake because I'm fat" or "this outfit makes me look fat".  I don't want the girls to see their mom constantly putting herself down.  They see me weighing myself but I always say "I'm just seeing how I've grown - let's see how you have grown" and that's what I tell them when I weight them as well.  I try to make it sound positive! We have been talking food choices lately and I've been working with them to make better choices.  We never say "that will make you fat" but "we are going to eat fruit instead of ice cream because we want to be healthy".  We talk about being healthy.  We have been encouraging playing outside and running and riding bikes because "exercise will make us healthy and strong".  

I think it's super easy to verbalize our insecurities in front of our children without realizing the long term damage we are doing to them.  I know right now they think I'm perfect (ha ha ha ha I'm laughing because in about 6 years they will be so ashamed of me).  So if their mom thinks she's ugly or fat, then they must be also.  Or at least that's how their minds will go.

My biggest desire in raising girls is to teach them inner beauty first.  There is nothing wrong with making the most of how you look.  Obviously I love to dress my girls up and they LOVE dresses and having their hair fixed and I think there is a fine line between trying to look your best and being vain/obsessed with your looks.  My motto is the one my Mam-ma and mom passed down to me and that is "Pretty is as pretty does".  I always tell them people will think they are beautiful because of how they treat them not for how they look.  The Bible states this in 1 Samuel 16:7 "Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart".  

In the south we often call someone "ugly" if they are acting mean.  I tell my girls all the time to not be ugly to each other.  And if I think about it, it probably evolved from the prior statement about inner beauty.  When I see someone's "ugly" coming out, it really taints their outer beauty to me. 

We love "Little House on the Prarie" and thankfully they have had several episodes lately with a lesson on teasing where kids have made fun of another because of their looks or intelligence and I love being able to use that as a talking point to never make fun of anyone because they are different.  

Harper just asked me the other day "What if kids in first grade don't like me because of my hearing aids" and we had a really good conversation about that.  Yesterday I found a pair of hearing aids I had bought for a doll a few years ago and she wouldn't let her wear them.  We have tried many times to get her American doll hearing aids but she has always said no.  But yesterday she got excited and she WANTED her beloved Samantha to look like her.  So we ran to Hobby Lobby and got special glue to attach them.  She is thrilled that they look alike and I'm so thankful she sees the beauty even in her differences.  

Beauty and Comparison are touchy subjects and something I'm afraid we will never get away from.  We are a society based on appearances.  The most important thing to me as a parent is to encourage my children to work on what really matters -  kindness, gentleness, patience, understanding, etc.  As long as they have those traits, people will be drawn to them and it won't matter what they look like.  

I have had people tell me to never tell my children they are pretty or to ever address looks with them and I disagree with this.  We spend 90% on inner beauty but I DO tell my girls they are beautiful and more importantly their daddy tells them all the time.  I want them to have a good self esteem (NOT pride) so that when the teen years come and they begin to struggle if boys don't like them or friend reject them - they will know that they are beautiful and feel secure.  I hope they find security in knowing that God made them exactly as He did for a purpose and as in Isaiah 61:3 "they are a display of His splendor".  

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