I can’t tell you how many times a day I say (ok yell) “Nice words PLEASE!” to my boys. At this point it would be more efficient to make a recording of myself that automatically plays every 10 seconds than to keep saying it.
Last night I went out to celebrate a new friend’s birthday. As I left I took a quick look in the mirror and I thought “Ugh, I’m never going to look as good as so and so!”
This was one of those times when my own negative thoughts stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to yell “Nice Words PLEASE!” to myself.
I hadn’t said anything out loud, but my thoughts were just… mean.
It’s true that I am never going to look like so and so and THAT IS OK!
But last night, I had reapplied my makeup, put on fresh clothes, and brushed my hair, yes, I looked tired, but let’s be honest I didn’t look terrible- for a tired mother of three I looked clean and put together (win!).
The terrible part was the narrative in my head, not my appearance.
How often do we do this to ourselves?
How often are our first thoughts negative?
How often to we compare ourselves to others in a way that just makes us feel crummy?
I often find myself dissatisfied when I look in the mirror.
I hate that I perpetually look pregnant and sleep deprived, and that I am almost always smeared with someone’s food. I hate that even at 31, I am still terrible at doing my hair and makeup, and picking out clothes. I hate that my clothes don’t fit right, that I have the hips of a 12 year old boy, and that my eyes are green.
I can find a million things that I’d like to change if all change took was a magic wand.
My eyes would be brown, my tummy would be flat, and the dark circles under my eyes would be gone.
But do these things really matter?
What if instead of fixating on the negative we looked at the positive?
What if we embraced our triumphs instead of our minor imperfections?
Yeah, I always look three months pregnant and gravity is a bummer, but I’ve had three kids! I can focus on these flaws… or I can marvel that I grew and fed THREE healthy babies. The mom tummy is totally worth it to have these three crazies in my life.
Yes, it is a bummer that I look 31 instead of 20. The smile lines are becoming more numerous and are sticking around, but I am 31. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for an unlined face.
It’s too bad I don’t know how to do my hair and makeup or pick out cute clothes, but there are some things I know how to do!
I know how to make a great key lime pie, teach difficult students, and do all the voices when reading bedtime stories.
These skills may not be beautiful or exciting, but they ARE practical in my life! And may I add that I am well informed on current events and a darn good conversationalist (ok this one may just be in my head), there is more to life than perfectly applied mascara.
I am positive that there will be days I look in the mirror and cringe, but I am going to make those days less frequent.
I’m going to work on changing what I can, and embracing the rest, but let’s be honest, the “rest” is pretty awesome.
I’m going to be a good example for my kids, but especially for my daughter. I want her to know that there is more to life than her appearance.
I’d hate for her to hear me complain about my curly hair or round cheeks and then look in the mirror and see the same dark curls and the same round cheeks and think there was something wrong with her.
I want her to look beyond her appearance and develop her talents. I want her to draw her self confidence and identity from more than what she sees in the mirror.
The best way to teach her isn’t by quoting scientific studies (though I totally will) or telling her what she should do. The best way to teach her is by modeling good behavior and using nice words. I want her to know that when I look at myself, I see more than what the mirror shows, and that it’s ok to be awesome!
Nice words for everyone!