Thursday, May 11, 2017

Will My Daughter Know She's Beautiful?

Prior to becoming an adult, I don't remember many things more mesmerizing than watching my mom put on makeup. She was already absolutely gorgeous, so watching her get dolled up was completely enchanting. The way her mouth stretched open like a fish while she applied mascara, how she dabbed on lipstick and then smacked her lips to blend it together.
...Pure magic.

If we are raised in at least somewhat healthy homes, we all tend feel this way about our moms, especially as little girls.
Back then, we didn't measure their looks or fashion sense against any societal standards of beauty, our criteria for them was much more pure and far more accurate.
Their warm bodies had given us life and lovingly held us.
Their gentle faces had smiled at us and whispered words of affection to us.
To each of us, these women held the title The Most Beautiful Woman In The World.
They might as well have worn a sash and tiara, World Peace style.

And as many mothers do, they would regularly beam at us and say, "You are so beautiful!"
And we didn't have any reason to doubt that.

But what happens when time goes on and our bubble bursts and we are exposed to their insecurities? It's a fairly common tale that little girls eventually start hearing The Most Beautiful Woman In The World say things that don't quite make sense.

"Ugh, I'm so fat right now."

"Don't take a picture of me, I don't have any makeup on."

"I look so ugly in this."

Maybe someone tells them they look nice and they roll their eyes and laugh.

There is something about seeing our heroes and role models hatefully self-deprecating themselves like this that is deeply confusing.
The painfully obvious question any girl is forced to ask once she has witnessed The Most Beautiful Woman In The World call herself fat and ugly is... "Then what does that make me?"


Suddenly it's hard to believe any of the affirmation they gave you, because they don't even believe it about themselves.


Of course it doesn't take long into female adolescence to develop these same kind of insecurities about our looks and our bodies, with or without someone setting an example for it.
Whether our insecurities deepen into adulthood or we push past them with confidence as we mature, the opportunities for self-criticism will never end.

Ever.

Especially after...*drumroll*... becoming mothers ourselves.
Our bodies change as we go through pregnancy and childbirth. Our weight shifts, our bodies stretch, and nothing will quite ever be as it was. This can be hard to adjust to and a major downer.

We have to be able to see something past the grief of our long-lost bodies and our aging faces.
More importantly than how we feel about ourselves, now there are these little girls of our own who think that WE are The Most Beautiful Woman In The World.
Little girls who watch US do our makeup and ask, with a twinkle in their eye, if they can try some lipstick just because they want to be like us.
Little girls who would never think that we're fat and ugly, and would be hurt to even hear it suggested.
Little girls who right now BELIEVE US when we tell them how precious and beautiful they are!
We have to realize what a sacred trust that is.
It is not a trust that we should take lightly just because sometimes we see Jabba the Hut when we look in the mirror.
It is a trust that is worth putting them first, and our self-centeredness last.
It is a trust that will make the difference with how they see themselves.

Because ultimately, beauty isn't actually the point, Truth is.

We were created by a God of beauty. This God made us in His image and He called it good.
He fearfully and wonderfully made us beautiful. And then He died to save us!
That will always be the most important thing that they need to trust us about.
We can't ask them to believe that what God says about them is true, if we are not willing to believe the same thing about ourselves.

Our daughters won't just believe they're beautiful because we tell them often. They'll believe they're beautiful by watching us genuinely believe that we are too.

So whether my daughter decides to tell me how beautiful I am when she's watching me "get fancy" with makeup in front of the mirror or when I just woke up with bad breath and greasy hair, I will always smile with appreciation and say, "Thank you! Do you know why I'm beautiful?"

"Because God made you that way!"
"That's right." I smile. 

Because as weird and arrogant as it feels to claim myself as pretty, I see in her eyes that she trusts me. So I will say it as often as it takes. 

"What about you, little missy," I say as I tickle her belly, "why are YOU so stinkin' beautiful?!"
And she giggles, "Because God made me that way!"

Thats right, He did. And who are we to insult The Creator's creation? Isn't that what actually is arrogant?

This next generation of women we are raising up will always have the same infinite amount of opportunities to criticize themselves as the rest of us do. 
If we can show them what it looks like to be kind to ourselves, then maybe they can give themselves permission to do the same.
I'm not at all worried that this will make her grow up to be shallow or vain. Quite the contrary. The less she is distracted and worried about how she looks, the more free she will be to love God and love people with her whole heart.

All of us are someone's Most Beautiful Woman In The World.
Whether we have daughters, granddaughters, sisters, or nieces, it is never too late to praise God for how creative He is, stand up a little straighter, and wear our tiara proud.

No comments:

Post a Comment