Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Teaching Girls Self Worth

One of my biggest priorities, as a mother of girls, is to instill a strong core of self worth, self esteem, self love, and self respect.  This harsh world, with it's intense focus on appearances, will constantly try to tear my beautiful babies down and I believe no other lesson I teach them will be as important to their emotional and mental health.

I'm lucky.  I don't have to figure out how to do this on my own.  I had a great example in the strongest woman I've ever known, my mother.

From a very early age, she fed me a constant diet of self love.  She would tell me over and over that I was beautiful, smart, kind, and funny.  Eventually, I internalized the words and it became the core of self worth I've carried with me my whole life.  Later, when I was a little older and was barraged with sexualized images and the unrealistic expectations of women in our society, she would constantly reiterate that there is more to beauty than appearance.  That is more important to be beautiful on the inside than the outside because beauty comes from within.   You have to love yourself before you can truly love others.  She also told me that there are many kinds of beauty, and that everyone is beautiful in some way.  She said I should always try to find the beauty in others and that beauty will be reflected back at me.

I can tell you, she was successful.  While I have my insecurities and dislikes about my appearance, nothing has ever shaken my belief in my self worth.   I want the same for my girls.

From the moment of my girls' births, I have whispered in their ears, almost daily,"you are beautiful, you are smart, you are kind, you are loved."  I give more praise for kind or responsible acts, than I do for being cute.  I am very hyper aware of the types of female imagery presented to my girls and do my best to turn the focus away from appearance.

Shuuueee, it's been a lot of work, but it's finally paying huge dividends.

Princess in da house!

While I'm less than enthused that Cinderella has made her way into our home, I felt a much better about it a few seconds after this picture was snapped.  I had some music on and Miss Chatterbox started to twirl and dance around while singing, "I am beautiful, I am smart, I am nice to sissy, I am so helpful, I am a good good girl, I am silly - hehehehe (as she drops unto her hiney) and I love me!!"

Smile. Sigh.

It was good for my heart to hear those words coming out of her mouth.

Just for fun, I'm including some of my favorite girl power songs for Y'all!

India Arie - Video  ( My favorite "love yourself" video)

"So get in where you fit in and go on and shine,
clear your mind, now's the time,
put the salt on the shelf, go on and love yourself
'cuz everything gonna be just alright."

Lauren Hill - Doo Wop (Relationships)

"Don't be a hard rock, when you really are a gem.  Baby Girl, respect is just a minimum."

Pink - Stupid Girls  (Society norms)

"Disease's growing, it's epidemic
I'm scared that there ain't a cure
The world believes it and I'm going crazy
I cannot take any more
I'm so glad that I'll never fit in
That will never be me
Outcasts and girls with ambition
That's what I wanna see"

Destiny's Child - Independent Women  (Don't depend on a man)

"Try to control me boy you get dismissed
Pay my own fun, oh and I pay my own bills
Always 50/50 in relationships"

Happy Hump Day to all my ladies who love themselves!