Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mirror, Mirror on TV

Have you ever noticed that women great each other like this... "Wow! You look great! Have you lost weight?" Or some women think that comments like this are compliments, "Oh my gosh, you look positively anorexic. What have you been doing?" Has the media really brainwashed all women of the world into thinking that we aren't beautiful unless our bones are showing?

Our daughters and sons need us to break this chain of negative images. We are all strong and beautiful. The size of our jeans and the cost of our clothes is not what is important. Our values, drive, and outlook on life are important. Our self-respect and respect for others will make us happy and successful.

I have been fighting self esteem battles my entire life. I hate waking up every day and feeling that I am not good enough, not pretty enough, and not rich enough. Some of these negative feelings stem from the onslaught of images from the media making us all feel plain and boring. Some of it comes from my childhood and seeing women all around me obsessed with weight, looking "average", and their lack of money.

With all of this said, and as hard as I try, I cannot seem to stop comparing myself to others. Why??? I've been trying to build my self esteem for years. But it still seems to eat me alive. Every day I wake up tell myself that I am beautiful, strong, and have it all. I mean, I have the most incredible husband and child. My family is supportive and there when I need them. And the friends I've made as an adult are the greatest people on earth. If you were to meet me you would never in a million years suspect that I am fighting inner demons just standing there talking to you. I am friendly and seem confident on the outside. But in mind I am scared and weak and afraid that you won't enjoy our conversation and will think I'm an idiot. What will it take for me to feel truly proud of myself. Don't get me wrong - I do feel proud many times - maybe even once each day. But it does fade, and then I must fight the negative feelings in order to feel the thrill of a beautiful day once more.

I have vowed to never, ever, ever mention weight or weight loss or body types in front of my daughter. I will celebrate her accomplishments and her failures. I will support all of her choices. If we live honest, healthy, nutitious, active lifestyles our daughters and sons will mimic our actions. They won't have to worry about their "looks" because they will be fulfilled in so many other ways.

I'm not exactly sure how I will accomplish these goals. But I do know this...that my daughter will not inherit my low self esteem. She will feel so much love and security and joy from her father and me that she will never doubt herself.

If this is the one thing in my life that I can accomplish it will make me happier than anything in the world. It is the one special gift that I will gladly give her.

Let's break all the mirrors and fill our children's worlds with sunshine and windows instead.


morgan said...

I have the same inner demons. Crazy, I know.

I want my son to have none of them (though men don't really have the same ones, though they have some, and project others on women).

But I worry that no matter how much I work on it, our culture -- including our ads and our magazines, our movies -- will still be there, everywhere, projecting these images for all to see. I will try to be a filter, try to identify their wrong-ness for little Iz. But I fear I won't be enough to achieve it. Argh.

Kimberly said...

Before Harry was born, sure, I had high hopes for him. Doctor, physicist, astronaut...Ivy leagues schools, this and that...I spend a lot oftime with people who "have it all" and none of them seem to be happy or content. WHat I want for Harry is happiness. Maybe if we all keep working at it, some of it will rub off onto us as well!

The MOM said...

I could have written this post -- I feel exactly the same way. My biggest fear is that my daughter will somehow inherit the same self-esteem, self-destructive thoughts. What I want is for her to focus on eating healthy foods and staying active, and for being happy and confident no matter how she looks.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it curious that so many of us, although so very different, have so many of the same thoughts in common? I'm certain that by recognizing the destruction caused by poorly guided media, we are indicating our independent wisdom's strenth in regards to our images as women. Good for us for focusing on the basic and real ingredients to health and happiness. We are doing ourselves, our children, and eachother the wonderful service that no other person, or entity, will bring to us. We are all beautiful, even if the world around us is not in perfect order.

wanabruner said...

I'll bring the hammer! All the mirrors in my home are purposely just a tad too tall for me to get any real view of myself. I've retired from baby making becuase I discovered, the hard way, that my body doesn't do very well in the recovery process. It's a good thing those boys are so cute. You're a beautiful woman, mom2zayna. Many women would envy you for who you are and how you look. Be proud and walk tall! Easy to say and mean to others, hard to always remember to apply to yourself. I know far too much how you feel, I battle it all the time.