Today’s topic is very close to my heart. I’m going to get personal.
When I was a child, I would hear my mother say things like, “I’m fat.” “This looks terrible on me.” Whatever it was she was dealing with or feeling about her physical appearance, she would voice in front of me and my brothers.
As a kid, I didn’t think much about it. When she would say things like that about herself, I didn’t understand because, to me, she was none of those things. I did not think she was fat, I did not think my mother was less-than, but she clearly felt that way about herself. She was ALWAYS on a diet.
Fast forward to me in my early 30’s. No kids yet. I started saying the same kinds of things about myself. My mom and I talked about it and here’s what we realized: When you hear your parent say negative things about themselves, you internalize it. And the craziest thing about it is, you don’t even realize you’ve internalized it until much later in life. That’s exactly what happened to me in my early 30’s.
The other interesting part about all of this is that of course my mother was always very complimentary to me and my brothers. She always built us up and gave us compliments, but she never, ever did it for herself. Because of that, when I hit a point in my life when I was heavier than I wanted to be, it turned super negative.
I am a mom of two boys, but I still think it’s extremely important to break this cycle. So, in my house, my boys have NEVER once heard me say, “I feel fat,” “I am fat,” “I don’t look good in these pants,” etc. Nothing. Never. Not one time. And here’s why: I want them to grow up with the strongest sense of self-esteem possible. I don’t want anything that I do to ever make them believe that they’re less-than.
My mother did not do that on purpose. It makes me so sad that she felt that way about herself. I see her as an amazing woman. If I can walk around projecting an attitude of confidence, I feel like that’s the real determiner of my children’s self-confidence as adults. And y’all, I don’t feel confident every day. I don’t. But I fake it ‘till I make it. They are going to see me with a positive attitude about my life and my body.
20 years from now when my boys are struggling with whatever life has thrown them, I don’t want them to fall in that same trap. I don’t ever want them to feel unworthy or like they don’t have every reason to walk around confidently.
If you are a parent and you are down on yourself, and you are not feeling the way you’d like to feel, please don’t say it in front of your children. If you’re cutting yourself down, and when they look at you they think you’re just wonderful and amazing, they’re eventually going to internalize that. You don’t want that to happen.
My mom and I have had a really open dialogue about this. We’ve worked through it together and I’ve worked through my own body image stuff, but I’m so passionate about this. Your words matter. Whether they’re kind words or negative words matters. Sometimes we don’t realize that what we say in front of our kids can affect them years later. You’re not going to see the immediate effect of cutting yourself down in front of your children, but I guarantee you it will affect them.
This post is really about self-love. It’s about giving yourself grace and working on loving yourself exactly as you are. Even (and especially) if you aren’t where you want to be. If there’s something you don’t like in your life, about yourself or the path you’re taking, change it. You have the ability to make positive change. Don’t let your children hear you cut yourself down. You are so much better than that and they deserve to see a mom who loves herself.
If you’ve gone down that path of saying negative things about yourself in front of your kids, stop. Make today a new day. Make a new pact with yourself that you will no longer do that. We control what comes out of our mouths, we control what we share. Speak and breathe positivity into yourself and your children.
This page is called Progress Matters because it encompasses every aspect of our lives. We can make progress in every area of our lives every single day.
Y’all have a blessed day!