Today, I found myself in a passionate (lets just call it like it is,) lecture to my oldest daughter about self-worth, self-love, and setting healthy boundaries. It’s hard not to feel passionate and want to move the earth with your words in a desperate attempt to make them sink in when you’re watching your child hurt. In the end, I was the one in tears as I spoke the words, “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.” I wish she could see herself that way because if she did, she wouldn’t put up with girls in the lunchroom telling her that her place (as the new student) is at the end of the table. She wouldn’t worry about the girl on her cross-country team that gossips about her and does all that she can to get their mutual friend away from her. She wouldn’t test limits on becoming someone she’s not in order to fit in with those that don’t see her true self. She would see that anyone would be blessed beyond measure to be her friend, that she has a heart bigger than the vastest ocean, that she brings joy and kindness to everyone she encounters, and that she is worthy of love and friendship that is as strong and unwavering as she gives it away.
It got me thinking about what I would go back and tell my thirteen year old self. It got me thinking about conversations I had with my own mom and dad and what would have made a difference. Like I do with every important conversation we have with our three daughters, I crossed my fingers and toes and made deals with God that they’d listen and learn from my mistakes. But……I know that they have to go through much of this to become the fierce, loving, strong, genuine women we are raising them to be. I also know that I don’t have a crystal ball and that our oldest daughter is just beginning the road of adolescence and while we’ll keep treading the waters, throwing out the lifelines, saying all the things we hope are right and motivating, at the end of the day, the most powerful thing I can do or say, the most powerful gift I can give her right now, is to be the example. I have to be the example of self-worth, self-love and setting healthy boundaries. How can I ever expect my daughters to seek out genuine friendships where they can safely be themselves if I don’t show them the example of friends that love every cork about me, encourage me no matter what, are fiercely loyal, and love my family like their own? How can I ask them to extinguish the negative self talk and feed their minds positive fuel if I’m not showing them how much I love and respect myself with the words I use to talk about how I see myself? I need to show them how to use affirmations, how to plaster their mirrors with I AM statements, how to change their vocabulary to affirm and manifest what they want. If single women can create manifestation lists for the husbands they want, why can’t my daughter create a manifestation list for the best friend she wants? She is powerful beyond measure and she needs to learn that the universe is always working in her highest good. I need to remember to show her what loving herself looks like, what taking time for herself looks like, I need to take deep breaths, admit when I need help, talk about it when I’m not okay, do the things that make me feel alive, put on my favorite outfit to go the store, dance around the kitchen, stomp in the puddles and embrace my imperfections. I NEED to do all of these things because my daughters are watching, but most of all because, to be a good mom, I need to take care of and love myself. As women, whether you’re a mom or not, we all need to know that girls all around us are watching as we either embrace the God-given privilege of being a woman and choose to love ourselves and step in to our greatness, or we choose to be fake, stay in toxic relationships, use crushing words about ourselves or towards other women, act like we’re okay when we feel like we’re drowning and worst of all, do nothing to change any of it.
If we want our daughters to be inclusive, to not be bullies, to show compassion, to not call themselves fat, to believe in all of their juicy awesomeness, to walk into a room confidently, to build up other women, to know that they deserve everything they could ever desire, if we want our children to see themselves as brightly as the blinding light that we see when we look at them, we first have to see it, feel it and honor it within ourselves!