For most of my life, I have struggled with feeling good about my body, and I know I'm far from alone. Once you have a little girl, though, it becomes so important to find ways to be body positive for your daughter. I mean, the last thing any mother wants is to model hating your own body to your child, right? Right, but easier said than done.
My own mother was amazing in so many ways, but she was constantly unhappy with her body. From as early as I can remember, she was dieting, and while I didn't think twice about it growing up, looking back now, I can see how it shaped my own feelings of inadequacy. I basically dieted and binged for all of high school, well into adulthood. I'm not saying that that was a direct result of what my mother did or did not teach me (clearly, so many of the messages about body image that are cast onto young women are completely out of their parents' control), but my experience has certainly informed how my think about raising my own daughter.
Once I finally got to a good place, where exercise and eating healthy weren't goals aimed at losing weight but instead feeling good (and those were balanced with times where I indulged, guilt-free), it was amazing. Being pregnant — and subsequently learning to love my body again afterward — has been a challenging journey for me, but I refuse to let it influence my four-year-old daughter, or my teenaged stepdaughter. They deserve to believe that their worth doesn't come from a number on a scale or a size of clothing you can fit into.
Every Part Of You Is Worthy Of Being Loved
That's right, it is. The hair on your arms? Love it. The weird toenail? Love it. But it's still OK to change it, if you want to! Just know that you're no less perfect because it's there.
You Should Exercise Because It's Good For You, Not Because It Will Make You Thinner
Do it because you love it and it's good for you! Not because you're aiming for the ever-elusive (and completely unrealistic) thigh gap.
You Are Miraculous, Regardless Of Your Size
You are a human being who can think and love and create and move. Being a size 2 (or 12, or 22) has nothing to do with your incredible amazingness.
Someone Who Loves You Should Love ALL Of You
If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who suggests a few things you might do "to improve," then you need to understand that it's not love. Love is unconditional.
Most People Don't Notice The Flaws You See In The Mirror
Honestly, how many times have friends asked you if you could see the zit on their cheek, and you're like, "What zit?"
Never, Ever Starve Yourself
Just don't. It's not healthy and it's not worth it.
You Deserve Respect. Always.
From everyone, whether you go to school with them or work for them.
Never Judge Another Woman's Size
You have no idea what anyone else's journey is. Someone you perceive as overweight may be recovering from anorexia. Someone you think is too skinny may have a medical condition that preventing their body from absorbing nutrients. Someone can be any size and be perfectly healthy. You are not the owner of their body, nor are you the doctor tasked with helping them care for their body, so you pretty much shouldn't be evaluating their health nor worth based on what you see.
Beauty Comes From Within
Don't ever forget it.
Makeup Is Fun, But It's Not Necessary
Enjoy it if you want to! But don't think you aren't pretty if you aren't wearing it. And don't think it's your job to be "pretty" all the time, or that "being a beautiful human" and "fitting into conventional standards of prettiness" are even remotely the same thing. Makeup should be fun, if and when you choose to use it at all, which you should never feel obligated to do.
You Can Do Anything, No Matter What Size You Are
It's a hard job, raising a little girl in this photoshopped, celebrity-obsessed world. Encouraging body positivity, loving yourself, and being confident in everything that you have to offer are important ways to raise a strong, powerful woman. It's not an easily attained goal, but it absolutely is a worthwhile endeavor to keep up.