18 May 2015

Beautiful


I was putting Becky to bed the other night and – like every night – I said: “Night, night my beautiful princess. Love you!”

Normally this is Becky’s cue to give me a big smile and kiss, put her head on the pillow, cuddle up with her toy bunny and favourite doll of the day and close her eyes, ready for sleep.

But this time, as I turned to leave, Becky smiled at me and said matter-of-factly: “Mummy, you’re beautiful!”

Now, this may sound strange, but apart from getting an enormous gush of love for this little girl, so strong that it made my heart pop and my head go all dizzy, I was actually quite taken aback.

Because beauty is not a concept and definition that I ever apply to myself. It just doesn’t feature in the vocabulary that I would use to describe myself.

I do not consider myself beautiful. Quite the opposite, actually.

Those who know me are often surprised and horrified just how hard I can be on myself and how harsh I can criticise every aspect of my appearance. I have been like this for as long as I remember. It’s funny, because whilst I’m fairly confident in my abilities and generally come across as quite a confident person, my looks have always been the one thing where I totally lack confidence and where self-esteem is almost completely replaced by self-loathing.

I always look at other women, compare myself, and I always think they are prettier or thinner or more attractive than I am.

This isn’t a vanity thing. Paradoxically, even though I take pride in my appearance – I have to in my job anyway – I’m not particularly vain. I can go out to the shops without makeup or do the nursery run looking like a hobo without even flinching. And I’m not actually that shallow either that I would put so much value on my looks. There are indeed more important things in life.

It’s more like a perpetual, insidious mind-game with myself, in which I always seem to lose.

But my daughter doesn’t know any of this. She isn’t aware of this internal turmoil. To her, I’m just Mummy. To her, I’m a role model, and this I am taking very seriously.

Because I never ever want her to have those feelings about herself. I never ever want her to feel the kind of self-doubt that I feel. I want her to be confident in her abilities and her appearance (not in a vain, arrogant way, just as a healthy attitude).

And because of it, I’ve already been making sure that she never ever hears me run myself down or criticise my looks (even if I think it). I never let on just how much I hate the pictures of me when we scroll through our photo album together, and I never ever comment on my weight or my figure, or any other aspect of my appearance. Because I don’t want any of this to rub off on her.

But what I hadn’t realised until that very evening is that Becky not only doesn’t see any of these negative things, she actually looks at me very differently - positively - and in fact thinks that I’m beautiful.

And this is something that I have to take seriously, too. Accept. Embrace. And maybe change my own attitude for the sake of my daughter. So I can be a good role model. The right role model. The role model she deserves.

Because apparently, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.


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13 comments

  1. Wow, great post. I wasn't very aware of what I'd say with my girl in the room until she looked in the mirror and asked me if she was fat? Was she pretty enough? She's only six years old! it made me realise I should behave better. She's copying me (and some friends who are probably copying their mums) . And then she told me she wants to look just like me when she's all grown up. She thinks I look beautiful. She's sweet!
    So let's believe our daughters, okey? I'm sure they got more sense about this than we do. :-)

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    1. Yes, you're absolutely right, I think we should believe our daughters. It is worrying though how much little girls already pick up. Becky sometimes comes back from nursery and also asks about "fat" and "pretty". I guess all we can do is be good role models. x

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  2. I am ugly in so many sense of the world. My hands are so dry from washing the dihses and I have never ending supply of acne on my face. When I touch my face its like touching a rough wall. But with my son he always kisses my without flinching. In his eyes I am beautiful enough for kisses and hugs and it is when I am with his that I feel the most beautiful. #sharewithme

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    1. Aw, I'm sure that to your son you ARE the most beautiful person. I have promised myself to really try hard to see things through my daughter's eyes and embrace her innocence and unbiased outlook. Thanks for commenting! x

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  3. Aww what a beautiful post. I wish that we didn't get so self conscious with age. Children aren't at all self conscious PLUS they see the beauty in everything too. I love it that my babies think their mama is beautiful. — and yours does too. It make you feel a million dollars doesn't it?! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday.

    Caro | www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

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    1. Yes, it totally changed my outlook - or at least, I'm trying to, and will try really hard. It is wonderful to know that to our kids we are the best and the most beautiful people in the world, just like they are to us! x

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  4. A beautiful post. Amazing sometimes how the simplest things or the simplest words can make all the difference. Children really are remarkable as they cut through all the rubbish and just say things as they are. You ARE beautiful. Hopefully now you will start to see - what your daughter clearly sees in you- much more often :-) x

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  5. A beautiful post. Amazing sometimes how the simplest things or the simplest words can make all the difference. Children really are remarkable as they cut through all the rubbish and just say things as they are. You ARE beautiful. Hopefully now you will start to see - what your daughter clearly sees in you- much more often :-) x

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    1. Thank you Katie! This means a lot. I am really trying to see things through my daughter's eyes in the future, because as you say, they are pure and innocent, and just see things for what they are, whereas us adults are tainted by so many different opinions and influences. xx

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  6. Oh what a beautiful post. Our children see such different things to us don't they? I think most people probably feel a lot of what you do, I know I do. I'm not confident in my looks, I rarely leave the house without make up on and if I don't have my make up on, I feel weird and vulnerable. And yet, I bet my son thinks I am beautiful because I am his mummy and to him, I am hopefully (almost) perfect. Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTueday

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    1. You are guaranteed to be the most beautiful person and Mummy in the world to your son, and this really is all that matters, isn't it? We just have to remind ourselves of that more often! xx

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  7. Ahh what a lovely post and so amazing she said you are beautiful. You are beautiful and kids aren't tainted with media and unusual body issues from society they see beauty, true beauty and its lovely! Great post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round #sharewithme

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    1. Yes, you are absolutely right, Jenny! Kids are pure and innocent and their minds haven't been corrupted yet. We need to take more leaves out of their books! x

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