Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The negative impact of your own self image!

 For a long time, I've tried to stay out of photographs. I always thought my face was weird, I felt my nose looked too pointy, I've had acne for two thirds of my life, my face always was too round to me...No matter how hard I tried, I was never the weight, via scale, I wanted to be. My thighs always touched, my arms were flabby and I never had a flat stomach.I could criticize myself all day. 

Then one day, I saw photo of myself that was a few years old and I wasn't embarrassed about my physical appearance. It was taken less than a year from me giving birth, but looking at the photo, I realized I didn't look grotesque, as I often saw myself. I started to go through albums I've kept on my computer. I didn't start saving pictures until shortly before my daughter was born. Looking at body photos, that I use to be ashamed to look at, now seemed fine. Face shots, I couldn't stand, because how I saw my own face, now appeared young and vibrant.

I like many women struggled with these issues. Nearly all women I know, including my mother, have had to live with an unhealthy body image. Never once has my mother been happy with her body and that is truly tragic. Never once in my lifetime had she dawned a bikini at the beach, because her body didn't fit the image of social beauty and when it did, her mind didn't see it.

Being a mother of a little girl, one of my biggest concerns is how she feels about herself. I remind my daughter, daily that she is smart, but also that she is beautiful. However, as her parent, it is not just about how I tell or treat her that she is smart and beautiful, but how I treat myself. Being insecure in this manner can be harmful and chances are it has harmed you. The best thing you can give your child in this case is your own confidence.

A trend has been buzzing around, of women of all shapes and sizes wearing bikinis. Giving a diverse view of what beauty is. Before mass visual media, what was considered attractive had more diversity. Women of all weights and sizes, were considered beautiful to different people. Some wanted the style of beauty that is popular today, others wanted larger women from moderate too extreme. Body hair wasn't even an issue and poor teeth was to be expected. There wasn't plastic surgery to make things bigger, smaller or cut away. People worked with what they had and did so with a confidences few today posses.

People are tired of being ashamed of themselves and I agree with this logic. People have had enough of being critical over issue that are literally skin deep, that the internet has been flooded with all different kinks, preferences, personalities, physical appearances, etc. Returning our whole species to again a more diverse desires in regards to what is beauty, what is sexy, what is really important, etc...

Not only must we end our own insecurities, we as parents have to protect and build our children self-esteem. There are simple habits I picked up that helps. 

One I never buy, read or acknowledge the tabloids, fashion magazines, etc... all together. I don't care about celebrities personal lives and anything in a magazine can be found for free online, along with an immeasurable amount other options. Honestly, ridding yourself of this habit will greatly improve your self confidence. If you find yourself bored at the check out line, most people can just do anything they like on the phone. If you are like me and have a basic phone, I suggest to bring a book or if you have children with you use this time as a moment to give them attention. 

Two as a rule I never discuss my weight or any insecurities about my appearance around my child. I've gotten to the point to were I never talk about it. I'm not what most considered thin or even attractive, but I don't care. I realized I'm not so bad. I do yoga, body toning and some aerobics. I have a sweet tooth, but I keep it at bay. I've come to accept the body I'm in. I enjoy the loosening of my clothes, but I won't freak out when they begin to feel tight. I don't have a scale, because weight doesn't tell you body fat and muscle compositions. I eat mostly home cooked meals and keep portions at a healthy level. I exercise daily and do so in front of my daughter. I want to give her healthy habits, not low self-esteem.

Three, as a woman in my thirties I have found natural beauty to be more attractive than plastic surgery, Photoshopped images, makeup, materialism or the overtly thin woman. What many people see as flaws, like wrinkles, body fat, scars, etc... I  find to be a beautiful, unique difference in every person. I'm not sure whether I stopped judging others or myself first, the world is a less uglier place, when your mind is not busy looking for flaws in everyone and everything you come across. This is the world I would prefer my daughter to see.

Four make a point to watch with your children the process of how pictures are photoshopped, especially models. The more you watch these videos, you see how the person image in the picture is distorted from that of an oil painting. It's a likeness, but not what the actual model looks like. Put the science behind the image, in your child's head first, to avoid a false idol, metaphorically speaking.

Five try to expose yourself and your children to diverse groups of people. Encourage tolerance, acceptance and free expression for your children. This will expand their horizons in many areas, including different ideas of beauty

Six, be kind to yourself and others. Say someone in the family may need to lose weight for medical reasons, rather than criticize yourself or others, be open to solutions of expanding your palette to different foods and your body to exercise. Btw, even if it's not you, there is no reason not to offer to exercise with them. Regardless :/your actions are needed more than your harsh words. You also don't need a gym membership to exercise. On nice days go to the park or your backyard. Chase your kids on play ground, that's a work out, plus it's free and your with your kids spending quality time. On rainy days you can lifted containers of water or invest in weights. In the end, the point is pretty much, stop being a dick to yourself or others. Be a part of the solution not the problem. If your teenager gets pregnant, don't be the first to call her a slut. If you don't get a promotion, don't spend time putting yourself down. 

Seven, use anatomically correct terms for genitals. Penis and vagina are not bad words, but correct medical terms. We shouldn't encourage the notion that there is a part our body that is inherently wrong. It may take practice, but it gives your children a healthy and medically sound prespective of their own body.

Eight, don't ban make up or make it a requirement for personal happiness. Make-up is simply paint. It's an art medium, nothing more.  It is the mask we paint with make up to hide and run from our insecurities, that is harmful. If you wear make up that is fine, but never put down the face behind the mask. Let your children see your natural face as often as possible. Keep make up a ritual for special occasions or a for certain daily requirement, such as employment. Let your children of both genders play with it. Let them draw on their face and body a little. Simply make them wash it off when their done. Keeping makeup away, creates the desire to want it, then making it a requirement makes the idea of self image as dirty as we use to sex.

Nine, be aware it's okay not to be attracted to everyone and not everyone will be attracted to either and that's okay. Everyone has their own personal taste and we shouldn't be offended if we aren't some else's idea of beauty. It's no different than ice cream flavors and there is always variety.

When all is said and done, the rewards of giving your child a happy and healthy out look about themselves and the world around them. My daughter tells me I'm beautiful and I believe her. There is no opinion means more or is more genuine.

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