Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Maternal Messaging

Who's to blame  for a woman's struggles with body image?

Cosmopolitan Magazine?
The Internet?

No, the most dangerous enemy is much closer to home. When you were young, she probably lived in your house, cooked your meals, and taught you how to shave your legs.

Mothers are the No.1 cause of body issues for girls.

Did your mom affirm your inner and outer beauty, or did she criticize your shape?
Did she focus on your achievements, or zero in on your appearance?
Did she praise your looks, but criticize her own? "Sweetie, you look beautiful. It's a good thing you're not fat, like me."

The way your mother addressed this issue may directly influence the way you're handling it now.

Are you still carrying around baggage Mom packed and placed on your back? Or was it a mixed bag -- some positive messages and some negative? First, separate the truths she told you from the lies. Believe the truths.

If you have a daughter:
  • Focus on her accomplishments, not on her appearance.
  • Encourage healthy eating and exercise, not diets. Don't focus on your own weight or shape.
  • Discuss messages she hears from the media.
And, if necessary, forgive your daughter's grandmother for things she said and did to you. That may be a process and not a simple act. Some wounds are deep, and we need God's help to forgive. Don't forget to thank your mother for what she did right.

On Mother's Day, send her some flowers or take her out for Sunday lunch.

And thank her for teaching you how to shave your legs.

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