Having a positive image as a girl can be very difficult. We are not perfect, and yet we compare ourselves to the airbrushed magazine covers, and the people who hire professional help, and make a living out of having a perfect body. This is something we all do, from the youngest girls in elementary school, to old grandmas. It is a negative cycle, and it can be hard to break, and the self esteem suffering that comes from it is not fun. So, even if you suffer from the negative body image crisis that faces females today, what can you do to encourage a positive body image among your girls? Try the following:
Help them to develop their talents.
One of the reasons we have negative body images is that we do not ever gain an appreciation of ourselves. We learn to appreciate art, architecture, and music, but what about ourselves? If you were to ask one of your girls to name ten things she liked about herself she would probably have a hard time doing so, but ask her to do the same about a music group and she would rattle them off. So, help your girls develop their talents, and recognize their potential and abilities. People who know they are talented at something find more value in themselves in other areas of their lives. So, help them find a sense of self worth that is not directly related to their body.
Positive self talk.
If you want your daughter to have a positive body image, you need to lead by example. Fake it until you make it if that is what it takes. You may not love your hips since having children, or your love handles, but that does not mean you are going to starve yourself to get rid of them. However, for your daughter, she might see how you loathe your own image, and she will follow suit, and having not lived with herself as long as you have, she might do something that is unhealthy to change her body. So, consider what the consequences could be for your daughter, and never say anything bad about your body in front of her; it gives her permission to think bad about her body. Even if you do not mean to, it is destructive. So, use positive self talk, lead by example, and you will do a lot to encourage a positive body image among your girls.
When a girl gets ready for a dance, and is all decked out with her hair, nails, and makeup done, her skin tan, her teeth white, and a great dress, she expects to be complimented. But, what about when she rolls out of bed in the morning and is wearing frumpy PJs and has bed head? If you want to encourage positive body image among your girls, you can’t reinforce their feelings of inadequacy. If you only compliment them when they try to look great, what are you saying to them the rest of the time? So, help them feel better about themselves by helping them realize that even without trying they can look like a million bucks. Compliment them often, but not with fake compliments. People can tell when you are being superficial and insincere, so be sure to make it real. If you tell them how wonderful they are enough, eventually they will start to believe it.
There are many ways to encourage positive body image, you just have to start with you, and never let your girls focus on the bad, or body bash themselves in front of you.