Ghandi said it best when he said “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Think about it, Be the change. What do you wish for this world? What difference do you want to make? What do you want to leave for the future? For your children, grandchildren, family and friends.
Is it money? Patience and kindness? Love? Openness and willingness? Motivation, drive and adventure? Perhaps grace and forgiveness? What about self love and self acceptance? Whatever it is, my question to you is, how are we going to leave it for them? How do we change the world when we live in a society that can seem angry, negative and judgmental? Everywhere we go we seem to be faced with someone being judged for their lifestyle, appearance and choices. With magazines, TV, and social media, Are we going to wait for society to teach them their values? Are we waiting for society to make the change that we want for our future?
I am a mom who taught my daughter how to hate her body. I didn’t mean to. You see, my mom taught me and her mom taught her. We are not born with Self Hate, it is taught. I could not understand for the life of me how a 15 year old girl could hate her body so much. She is beautiful and flawless. I remember thinking, “Shame on you society for teaching this!!” It wasn’t society, it was me. All those years of my daughter hearing me say how much I hated myself. Years of putting myself down, this is what she listened to. How can I expect her to be any different? I want my children to be their biggest fan in everything they do. I want them to learn to be their friend. I want them to be able to give to themselves what they desire in others. But how, how do I teach this? Change starts with me, right? I had to make a lot of changes. Very uncomfortable changes at that time. I began to practice self-love, self-care and self-forgiveness. I began to honor my needs and wants. I started to practice healthy coping skills and began to affirm myself and my body out loud. I became my own cheerleader. The coolest thing began to happen. What do you think that was? Through my actions, My daughter started to do these things too. I’ll never forget the day that she ran up to me to celebrate her “calves” instead of complaining of the large birthmark on her leg. Today when we have a bad day and our morning is a challenge, we encourage each other to self-affirm. I remember one morning when I was struggling and she asked me to self-affirm. With great sarcasm I said, “I love my fallen knees and saggy arms.” We both laughed and she said, “Mom, inside those saggy arms is my safe place. “And those fallen knees carry you to go shopping with me and eat lunch and they will allow you to run around with your grandchildren one day.”
Change starts with us. Right here, right now. If we want something different, we must do something different. The time is NOW. What role are we playing in our personal lives to help change this world? We can’t wait around for someone else to do it. We teach our children and loved ones to be kind and gentle to others. We teach them to support and encourage others. We lift, love and forgive others. Are we teaching them about the importance of SELF? Self-love, self-care, self-forgiveness. We have been taught to serve others. Why do we leave ourselves out? Why do we neglect our own needs? Putting ourselves first is not selfish, it’s a necessity.
Rosewood’s alumni program and I talk to kids at schools about the importance of self-care and we hear from them, “There is no time for self-care.” School, sports, activities, homework, planning for future, clubs, volunteering, friends, etc. We teach our children to be go getters but are we teaching them how to take a time out? Are we teaching them to honor their body’s needs by resting? We can’t “take the time” for there will never be enough time in our busy schedules. We always make the time for the things we love. Are we modeling self love and honoring our needs so that we make an impact on the future?
Now, I want us to go deeper with this thought. Behind closed doors. When you’re alone. Are you mirroring Self Love? Are you kind to yourself or are you your own bully? Do you affirm yourself or do you beat yourself down? Do you engage in self harm through words or actions? Do you honor your needs or do you neglect them because of feelings of worthlessness? Do you know how precious and loved you are? This world needs you and you are deserving of taking up space.
We only have one body. It’s where we live. It is an amazing machine. Think about it, it never stops running for our entire life! Do we show it the same love and compassion that we show others? Do we speak the same beautiful words to it as we speak to others?
We need to celebrate our bodies and everything it has carried us through. Good and bad, it’s been there. Victories, celebrations and heartbreaks. Sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste are a few of the gifts that it offers us. A beautiful beating heart that will teach you to feel love and pain. You may not like the way your body looks, but learn to love your body for what it does for you.
There is no greater lesson that we can teach our future than self-love. And in my opinion, what better place to teach this than in our homes? If you’re thinking to yourself, “It’s too late.” Think again. It’s never too late. Our future is watching us. Our actions speak louder than our words. Show self-love everywhere you go.
In a world where you can be anything you want to be, stop being your critic and learn to be your friend.