life · lifestyle

You Can’t Teach Kids Self-Confidence While Practicing Self-Loathing

Last weekend I went clothes shopping with my mom.  We happened to run across a lot of super cute swimsuits, and with our Florida trip coming up, we decided to try some on (with approximately 90 other clothing items).

I joked later on facebook about the experience- I’m really pasty white right now- but the truth is, it was a little deflating, and enlightening.  When I had the second swimsuit on, I wrangled up the courage to show my mom.  And I was not happy.

As I walked back into the fitting room, I said “I hate my body.”  I was nearly ready to cry.  But I was also stunned that I said that out loud, and at just how ugly it sounded.  I kind of felt like I had just slapped myself in the face.

As some of you know, for several years I’ve been struggling with hormonal imbalances that have prompted weight gain and inability to lose weight.  Basically, it doesn’t matter how much I work out, or how much muscle I gain, the fat and muscle co-habit quite happily together in my body.  A couple of years ago I even went through a (doctor-approved) process and was able to lose about 30 pounds, but the weight crept back on even as I was still utilizing the weight loss help.  Suffice it to say I’ve gained almost everything back.

It’s been frustrating,  ego-shattering, and mentally draining.  So when I looked at myself in those swimsuits, it was this horrid reminder that despite all my hard work, nobody will be looking at me and thinking “now there’s someone who works hard in the gym!”

Part of me knows this is completely ridiculous.  I’m an otherwise confident woman- I’m intelligent, {occasionally} funny, creative, and {mostly} a good person.  I’m relatively strong- physically and mentally {most of the time}.  And yet all I can focus on is the extra weight I carry in my mid-section.

My perfectionist tendencies have the unenviable super power of being able to negate the truly positive aspects of myself.

Confidence Kitty could teach us all a thing or two…

confidence kitty

Cut to a couple of months ago…

My niece overheard me saying something about how I just wanted to be thin again.  Guess what she said?

“But Aunt Carrie…I thought you were already thin…”

Wow.  Just like that.  She was so matter-of-fact about it, and like an idiot I responded, “No baby. I’m not.”

Since my nieces were born, I have wanted one thing for them- absolute confidence.  They both already have a major advantage because they’re gorgeous!  My older niece has the body of a ballerina, and my younger niece has more confidence in her little finger than most people will ever experience in their entire lives.

I’ve always told them how beautiful they are, and I want them to feel it in an inherent way that goes way beyond physical appearance.  I want them to never doubt how amazing they are, and never chalk their self-worth up to how they look.

But how do I have the right to expect that of them, when I don’t live it for myself?  How can I possibly help teach them to love themselves, when I insist on putting myself down?

You can’t define yourself by your imperfections, and expect to inspire positive self-image in others.  

This is definitely not an over-night process.  I imagine it’s going to take an awfully long time.  Maybe at some point my hormones will get under control and balance will be restored to the universe.  But that’s a whole lot of maybes to bank my self-confidence on!

If I live my whole life in “maybe mode,” who knows what I could miss out on.  And who knows what kind of damage could be done to how my nieces view their bodies and themselves.

They think I’m beautiful.

I should take a page from them and see all the incredible qualities I possess.  Not just sometimes- but always.  Because if I’m wearing that kind of confidence, who’s going to see anything else?

rock it

QOTD: Have you ever struggled with this kind of disconnect?  How did you handle it?

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5 thoughts on “You Can’t Teach Kids Self-Confidence While Practicing Self-Loathing

  1. Wow – this post hit home, lady! It’s so hard to put this into practice, but I believe that the first step is to recognize the habit before anything can change. You’re a beautiful, fantastic woman with a massive amount of gifts to share with the world – and being stick thin sounds boring anyways. Who always wants to say no to a glass of vino and a slice of cake?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s been the hardest part I think…what am I willing to give up, and what am I willing to live with? Just when I think our society is making progress, you hear another story about people body-shaming celebrities! How do we make the madness end?? We can only live our own authentic life though, right? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written, Carrie! I try very hard to keep the focus on health and self-love around my kids. I cringe when they hear me take a shot at my appearance. Old habits are hard to break. But it’s worth it to take a look at yourself through the eyes of the little sweethearts that look up to and love you. We owe it to them to embrace that beautiful version of ourselves that they see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, chica! Isn’t it crazy how used to putting ourselves down we get?? We forget that little ears are listening and little minds are absorbing! We should pay way more attention to what kids think…they’re so much smarter than us sometimes!! ❤

      Like

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