Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and point out the parts that you think are ugly?
One evening after taking a shower, I was standing in front of the mirror naked. I looked at my flabby tummy in dismay. I have put on some weight since the lockdown and gone up a jean size up. My son saw me looking at myself and sensing that I was unhappy, he said matter of factly, “Mom, I love your squishy belly!” I asked him, "Why do you love my belly?" And he said, "So we can do belly to belly!" in the most innocent loving way.
My heart swelled up! There I was being so critical at the way I looked, yet all my son saw was a beautiful being. I immediately snapped out of my over-critical mind and gave him a big hug. And said, "Thank you for reminding me that I'm beautiful."
When I was younger, I was nicknamed “Luo Han Yue” for my high forehead, see pic below for reference. And once a guy that I was dating said my nose looked like an aboriginal. It was so painful to hear those comments because those were the parts of me that I used to hate. It took me till my late 20s to fully accept the way I look.
So there I was standing in front of the mirror, berating myself at my post-partum belly that carried two babies separately for 18 months. A body that went through a huge transformation to nurture two healthy babies. I was going through the negative self-talk until my son pointed out that he loved me for who I am, squishy belly or not. It made me reflect on how harsh I talk to myself sometimes.
What if one day your kid comes up to you and starts criticizing the way they look,
“I don’t like the way my nose looks” or “I feel ugly in my fat body”?
How would that make you feel?
Now imagine if we all started talking to ourselves positively and loving ourselves wholeheartedly, we would have kids who will do the same. Our kids shape their beliefs and confidence after us. As their parents, we have to be very conscious in the way that we talk about our bodies if we want our kids to grow up accepting their bodies. Our society overly focuses on how you look like as the only way a person can be attractive and successful, and that is such bullshit. When you look at Kim Kardashian’s bubble butt and small waistline, does that even look normal to you?
In recent years, body positivity is rising, and more women feel liberated to show off their bodies just the way they are. Like Alicia Keys, she decided not to wear makeup. And just check out Lizzo, the singer, that girl is on fire! She is paving the way for young girls to feel proud of their talent, regardless of their shape and size. We need more women like that in our society and lives to change the perspective that being thin and a certain type of body is beautiful. But it is crucial that it starts with us, mothers.
So the next time you see your post-partum belly or stretch-marked thighs, instead of shaming the way you look, be gentle on yourself. Speak in a loving way like how you would speak to your kids and say, “I love and accept you just the way you are. You are a beautiful and sexy human being.”
What is one thing you can say to radically love and accept yourself, Mama?
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