This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and Dove #YMCBeautifulYou program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.
It was a few months ago, as we were heading down the highway, that I felt my youngest daughter, Bones, staring at me from the passenger seat.
Unnerved, and with my eyes still on the road, I blurted out an exasperated “What are you looking at?”
“I think you’re beautiful” she said.
“Whatever,” was my response.
Or maybe it was “yeah right”…or some other dismissive saying as I clearly rejected her comment.
“Mom!” she yelled! “You are!”
And suddenly, I had a million things racing through my head. She’s fourteen. Careful of your reaction here. Everyone is beautiful. Self-esteem is important. Teach her confidence through example. Don’t let her find out you don’t think you’re beautiful. Crap, she knows I don’t think I’m beautiful.
“You know you’re beautiful right?” she asked…breaking through my inner dialogue.
“Well…,” I started as delicately as I could. “It’s just that I haven’t heard it said very many times…and you kind of caught me off guard.”
It’s true. With the exception of the many times I’ve heard it from my parents, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I was told I was beautiful. One hand.
I’ve been told “you WERE beautiful” when someone sees a picture of me as a younger woman…a time when I truly didn’t believe it at all. I’m told I have “beautiful hair”…which is true…I really have really great hair!! I’ve been told a blouse I might be wearing is beautiful or a piece of jewelry is beautiful…but rarely, have I heard the words “You’re Beautiful.”
“I guess then,” she said in her 14-year-old I know better than you voice, “maybe it shouldn’t matter if somebody says it…maybe all you need to do is look in the mirror more often.”
And that one comment…rocked my world.
When Dove asked me to have my daughter create a video about what she finds beautiful about her mother and for me to write about my reaction, I knew it was going to be a tough one. I’ve never seen myself as beautiful. I’m surrounded by beautiful women…friends who are drop dead gorgeous turning heads as they walk in the room…but I’ve always felt that I pale in comparison.
These last few years, as I’ve seen a few grey hairs arrive, as I’ve seen a few more wrinkles and a few more stretch marks…as things are starting to sag in the predictable locations and a few not so predictable spots…as one or two hairs have popped out on my chin…quickly to be removed…I’ve seen myself a little differently.
For the first time ever, I’ve kind of thought of myself as beautiful but not because anyone said it…because I feel it.
There’s something amazing about aging…looking at yourself with a critical eye and seeing yourself for who you really are…not that shy and not-so-confident awkward teenager of years gone by…but the woman who’s faced challenges and came out smiling. The woman surrounded by amazing friends who make her laugh. The woman who tries her best to be kind and compassionate. The woman who’s trying to make a difference in her own life, and the lives of others.
I feel beautiful.
I think maybe, we just don’t hear it enough.
The other day, I posted a selfie on my blog page…my huge grinning face showing my joy as my kids went back to school. A photo I took quickly, without hiding behind anyone else in the frame, without checking to see if my ear was poking through my hair or if the grey was showing…if I had three chins or too many wrinkles. Just a quick snap.
The next day, a comment from a friend said simply…“You are beautiful.”
And because of that comment, I can start counting on two hands, how many times I’ve heard it.
Bones brought me the video she made and as I predicted, there were tears. She sees me as beautiful from the outside, but so much more from the inside. She listed personality traits that I’ve tried to instill in my children and as it turns out…they’re seeing what I’m trying to teach them.
The thing is…I’m doing exactly what my daughter told me to do so many months ago…I’m looking in the mirror. The difference being, my mirror happens to be the eyes of my three amazing children who are absolutely beautiful on the outside…but so much more from within.
During the month of October, Dove will be hosting a series of free workshops across Canada (find more info below). It’s all about creating a dialogue between mothers and daughters about self-esteem and the pressures they feel around beauty. If it’s anything like the video…where I was able to hear my daughter speak about what she finds beautiful about her mother, it will be an amazing experience. We all need to feel value…to see our unique beauty and to feel more confident to facing everyday challenges.
Did you know YMC is hosting 25 free Dove Mom and Daughter Self-Esteem Workshops across Canada? Join us to start the conversation with your daughter about the real meaning of beauty.
Then visit the ‘How To Find Your Own Unique Beauty’ page for inspirational stories and resources to help young girls learn about true beauty.
We need you to be a part of the Dove mission to improve the self-esteem of over 15 million girls by 2015.