The bedroom door slams and your daughter announces, “I’m not going!” You ask what’s up and she bursts into tears. She tells you she’s ugly and has nothing to wear.
Your immediate reaction: No You’re Not!
Your second reaction: Why would you say that.
And many more reactions like that follow, all out of good intent, but are they helpful?
When someone we love criticizes themselves, we want to make it better or make them feel better. We are programmed to respond with answers to reverse the statement or object to their negative thought; we want to change their mind to a more positive view. Especially with our daughters.
But think about it, If you are feeling [Insert any negative adjective here], for someone to say “You’re not [insert the same negative adjective here]” isn’t always helpful.
What would it be like if we could react differently? Offer a more empowering response; maybe one of empathy and understanding with no judgement.
Something like… I see you are feeling frustrated right now, do you know where it is coming from?
Being able to acknowledge where someone is at and have them feel you understand, in my mind, is the first step to empowerment. Creating a situation where the person first feels understood, and then challenging them to look at their belief or thought, to see what may be behind it, is giving them the power to change the thinking on their own. If we change our own thoughts, we are more likely to believe them rather than just listening to what someone else tells us to think.
These kinds of responses take practice, and it also helps to understand where these beliefs or thoughts may come from in the first place. Socialization, the media, and so many factors around us influence what we see as beauty. Today we are overwhelmed with images in media, online, social media, etc.… and the culture of comparison is rampant. But what are we even comparing ourselves to? Is it all real?
If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation as a mother, it isn’t easy to pause and think about how you want to respond. Your heart breaks. You want to make it all better. You don’t want to hear them criticize themselves. In these moments we may also realize that sometimes we make these same criticisms of ourselves in front of our daughters, or maybe it’s our comments they hear as we scroll through social media about “I wish I looked more like. What we do shapes what they do.
Can we be prepared for these moments, or better prepared for the next moment? Come on out to our “Girling It” event on July 27 to explore and discuss where some of our beauty ideals come from, whether what we are consuming and comparing ourselves against is realistic, and how Mothers, Daughters, Nieces, Sisters, etc.… can offer empowering responses when we find ourselves in these situations. We can build our toolkits together and begin to change the patterns of how we talk about beauty.
Girling It- Living Confidently as YOU
July 27, 2019
10am – 12pm
Tong Louie YMCA Surrey- Classroom 3
Tickets $45 / mother-daughter duo $20 / additional child