A successful friend of mine, who had self-esteem issues growing up, told me her parents never focused on her outward appearance, instead they reminded her of all the positive things she was good at like dance and art. This is sound advice. I needed to hear it.
My daughter was 7 years old when her best friend told her she thought she was really fat. I was there to hear it. I witnessed the stunned look on my daughter’s face as she absorbed her friend’s stinging words. I don’t know who was more devastated; my daughter or me.
As a family we talk about the importance of being healthy, no matter what shape or size your body is. God made us all different for a reason. If we all looked like Heidi Klum life would be boring. We stress the importance of being active and having fun, all the while knowing someday she is going to find out we are not telling her the truth. All of these things sound good in theory, but we all know, especially mothers of daughters, that in our society size does matter. People will judge you and make you feel less than and it’s going to hurt like hell.
As a mother, I can only hope to teach my children resilience, give them the tools to remain tenacious, not to be beat down by the cruel words of others, to remain steadfast in the knowledge that they are smart and beautiful and important.
In passing one day, my husband casually mentioned a woman who had been rude to him, adding “I don’t think she likes me very much.” My daughter immediately said, ‘That sounds like her problem.” Yes! Maybe it’s sinking in after all.
As for my friend, she said her parents’ advice saved her life. People were still judgemental, but she was able to laugh at herself. And if you can laugh at yourself, you’ve already won.