As I approach middle age, I am just as susceptible to insecurity as the next woman, but I have decided that I don’t want to spend my whole life feeling dissatisfied with my body.
When my 9 year old shares her insecurities about her appearance, I only know two things: I know how just how she feels—her vulnerability is such a gift!—and from somewhere deep within me, I know to tell her that her body will always be changing. We aren’t aiming for a static, fixed point of beauty, but instead, we are continually getting to know our bodies as they transform over time. I’ve watched in wonder as my body transformed during and then after adolescence, pregnancy, surgeries, mental health issues, and a pandemic. I watch as my body changes with age, and I’m trying to notice with curiosity and appreciation rather than judging and longing.
I don’t want my daughters to see me complain about, hide, or disparage my body. I don’t want to normalize obsession and dissatisfaction with my appearance.
•I want them to learn that their bodies are created by God, just like everyone else’s.
•I want them to give thanks for the miracle of all the things our bodies do and for the lessons we learn from our limitations.
•I want them to actively notice and reject the barrage of messages we receive each day that tell us we should look a certain way in order to be liked, accepted, loved, beautiful, worthy, and successful.
•I want them to recognize that we are all harmed by these messages, no matter where we fall on the very limited continuum of the cultural idea of beauty.
•I want them to learn to care for their bodies in ways that make them feel whole and authentic.
•I want them to spend a lifetime learning to love the bodies they have instead of wishing to have bodies they could love.