My parents rarely told me I was pretty or beautiful, at least that I can remember. I was quite insecure about my looks. So I make a point to tell Emma she is pretty (also smart & funny.) She takes it to heart. She often tells me, as she looks in the mirror, “I’m so pretty!” But then again she often says, “Mama, you’re so pretty!” (Even when I’m looking NOT my best)
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about raising a daughter and the world-view of beauty. It’s a fragile line convincing a girl she is beautiful, inside and out; yet teach some level of humility and understanding that physical beauty is not as important as the what she’s about on the inside.
How do you teach a girl to find her unique beauty?
As a society we teach: girls are beautiful, boys are strong. It permeates everything. My therapist and I have talked about this often. Many of the messages are disguised as promoting health, but they end up pushing these super skinny, only-found-via-genetics, uber thin models. The subliminal signals combined with the inner genetic drive are things we can not fight.
SO how do I do balance this message, while building her self esteem without creating an entitled princess?
The only thing I can do is to help her find her UNIQUE BEAUTY. The beauty that is being Emma.
I dont even know what that means yet. But I think that it will be a joyful journey to discover. It won’t be one thing or another. It will be comprised of her physical health, inner spirit and passions. I have developed a belief that what comes out of our lives is in direct correlation to what we put in to our lives. It is unique to each individual. Even if we have similar beliefs and hobbies and exercise programs; our individual essence shines to create our own unique form of beauty.
Some of you may be trying to figure out what the picture in my post has to do with unique beauty and raising my daughter. Just about everything.
The picture is of my new entertainment center. It’s an old cedar bench with decorative carving at the top created with a slightly distressed vintage black paint with slight red under tones showing through. It is not from Pottery Barn or Sprintz or American Signature. I’m not even sure there is another one like it. I found it at a shop in downtown Franklin’s antique district. As a part of the divorce, I was left without a main tv or couch. I’ve shopped online and at the stores, but as tempted as I was, I just didnt find anything that clicked for me. I wasnt sure of what I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t want – a cookie cutter living room. Blahhh!
Rooms To Go may seem like a great concept to some, but it just doesnt work for me. Maybe because I never like things to be packaged up all nice, neat and coordinating. I need expression and color and texture. That is the design drive in me that lead to the bench. My rug is black with a traditional print, my couch is a deep dark red, contemporary retro, tufted sectional, my painting is an original watercolor of the Tuscan landscape at sunset. Well, putting a squared off black entertainment center would take the entire room down a few notches in style and taste. So I needed to put some effort in to finding it. I looked at a few stores at tables, etc., then I found the bench. n The moment I saw it I knew it was THE ONE. It is here, unique to it’s own style and functionality, not being used in a traditional means, but seemingly designed to fullfill this purpose beautifully.
- It took time and effort to find it. I didnt just look in the trendiest or traditional shops.
- It is not the most expensive piece with fancy bells & whistles, but it is has solid foundation and a finish that make it a one of a kind.
- It was not exactly what I expected to find on the journey, but it is a perfect fit.
One of the many challenges of raising a child is not getting caught up in the latest trend, whatever that may be. The overscheduled lives of little girls in particular is just overwhelming. Not only are they to be schooled in the traditional girls activities of dance and gymnastics, but they are also supposed to prove their athletic prowess and become as tough as the boys in soccer, etc. Is there anything wrong with any of these activities? No, do they have to do it all? No. But I think you have to have exposure to it all to help you discover you passions.