It’s time for real talk. Humanity makes us social beings that rely on physiological and psychological interactions to survive. How society perceives us is very important.
Body image is one of those things and in the recent past, the growth of media has shaped our perception of what is the acceptable way to look.
Which, of course, is not necessarily the truth or ideal for personal health.
It’s become a cycle that is breeding discontent and low self-esteem that is not only affecting us as adults but also our children.
And it’s time we do something about it.
Children pick up a lot from their parents. While we may be telling them how beautiful and amazing they are in a bid to boost their confidence and esteem, and general self-worth, we may be missing the point.
There is absolutely no problem in wanting to feel good about the way we look. The problem lies in our culture that believes to feel good, you must look a certain way or be a particular body size.
Here are five ways to deal with it:
1. Become a role model for your babies
It all starts with you. Treat your body the way you would want your babies to treat theirs by loving your stretch marks, belly fat and even those wrinkles creeping up on the corners of your eyes.
Let them see you love yourself.
2. Defeat the fear of food
Instead of putting strict rules and fear around meals, teach your babies to appreciate a healthy and balanced diet and don’t deny them a snack or two when they want. Your house is not a military camp.
3. Justify your children’s desire to feel good
Don’t tell them that it shouldn’t matter what they look like, instead, let them go through the feels and teach them how to do it positively so that they are able to approach you for help when they are struggling with it.
4. Teach them to listen, trust and respect their bodies
No, we’re not talking about avoiding sex till marriage (which is another topic we really need to talk about). Your body knows what it needs to stay in its perfect shape and learning to listen to it and respecting its demands will help us trust it because of the positive results it will give. After all, what will work for you may not work for someone else.
5. Broaden the definition of beautiful
Do a quick test:
Ask your children (you should participate too) to write their definition of beautiful. Remember to tell them that there is no right or wrong answer and finally see how closely it relates to your own definition. This will show you how your personal body image affects their own as a parent and will help you know what needs to be changed for both you and your children.
You are only as good as you believe you are and building a positive body image is a never ending practice but one that will definitely change your lives for the better.