Loving Yourself: The Most Important Gift You Can Give Your Child

Loving Yourself: The Most Important Gift You Can Give Your Child

Loving Yourself - The Most Important Gift You Can Give Your Children - Joyfully Mom

This week, the airwaves have been flooded with Meghan Trainor’s public demand that her latest video must be taken down and replaced with the non-photoshopped version of herself. I think she’s absolutely fantastic. While I don’t know her at all, I suspect she is really saying, ‘Hey, that’s not me! What are you doing, creating — fabricating an image of me that is a LIE!’ She is also demonstrating, for her family, her loved-ones, and really the world of women, ‘Love yourself. Be proud of who you are the way you are.’

Since college I have not been confident about my “non-perfect” body. Regardless of the fact that my husband thinks I’m beautiful, and he always encourages me to to love myself–like he does, I am still troubled every minute, every hour, every day. All of this talk about Meghan’s video reminds me to keep trying to stop that. That it’s really important to love who you are and to model that for your children.

It also reminds me of last year when we went on a family vacation to Florida to visit my mother-in-law. At first, I was feeling very self-conscious, as I often do about being on the beach and how I felt (and often still do feel) about my body. I remember when we got to the beach, a feeling of “I just don’t care anymore” took over. Somehow, for a few hours that day, I was not self-doubting, worrying, and honestly trying to hide myself. I was free! I was released from anxiety! I had such a wonderful time that day. My son and husband don’t let anything hold them back and have a lot of fun. That day, so did I! We had a blast on the beach, and in the water, splashing, running, swimming, digging for beach animals like little crabs, and chasing the little schools of micro-fish that swim where the water meets the sand. While I don’t know how, why and where the sense of mental freedom came from that day, I did make the conscious choice to grab onto it with all that I had, and embrace it fully!

I felt so good about my choice to be present and enjoy myself that day that I wanted to share how happy I was about it.  I wrote a comment, uploaded the photo, and almost immediately had an anxiety attack as it posted to FaceBook.  I started to think about what people might think.  Again.
My personal Facebook post from May 19, 2015:
“Last week we were on vacation in Florida and I did what I thought I would never have the guts to do. I took off my coverup. I played in the sand with my three year old. I swam. I played in the waves. I enjoyed every single moment with my family. I didn’t not sit on the sidelines for any of it. I didn’t watch from my beach chair. I did not care one bit about what anyone’s judgement might be, because you know what? It doesn’t matter. Not. One. Bit. What matters are the amazing memories I made with my son and my husband. Enjoy every moment. Don’t sit back because you’re worried about what others might think. You’ll miss way too much that way. Xoxo”.

Loving Yourself - The Most Important Gift You Can Give Your Children - Joyfully Mom

It turns out that I had nothing to worry about.  People were cheering me on.  They were encouraging me.  They were “liking” the photo.  It felt good.  It was positive.  I put myself out there, in a swimsuit, on the internet because I wanted to encourage other moms to be fully present without worrying about the judgement of others.

Loving yourself is the most important gift you can give your child.  No, that’s not it. Loving yourself is the most important gift you can give yourself. And your children watch you every minute of your life, and they learn everything you do, say, and feel. As best you can, don’t embrace and welcome the fears of what other people may or may not think of you, your body, your beliefs, whatever it may be. Why embrace something negative?  Be fully present in your life. Let your child see the wonderful, fun, amazing person that you are. It really does go too fast, and you don’t want to miss any of it.

xoxo – Joyfully Mom

 


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  • This is so true! It’s not always easy, and I have definitely struggled to love myself and my body over the years, but I have learned to enjoy life, be positive, and be a positive role model for my daughter. I see way too many young girls hating their bodies and saying cruel things and I can’t help but wonder if it comes from the parents. I love this post. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.

    • Jeannine

      Thank you, Erin! I struggle with it more often than I’d like, but that day was a real turning point for me :). It’s hard to put it out there, but I don’t want my son to remember me sitting on the sidelines because I didn’t like myself. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Kids remember when they have fun. I like a lot of time, we put our personal feelings and self doubts onto our children unintentional. Great post on how you overcame this.

    • Jeannine

      Beth – thank you!!! You’re right. I remember all of the fun times I had with my mom growing up, and I want my son to have the same kind of memories!

  • Yes! Yes! Yes! Well said! I’m guilty of the same thing and I love how you let those feelings go and enjoyed your moment!

    • Jeannine

      Thank you, Christina! Honestly that day was one of my favorite memories with my family – and it’s all because I let go of what other people might be thinking!

  • I needed to read this! Most of the time, I hide away and get so down on myself. It is hard to love yourself sometimes!

    • Jeannine

      Dicia – it’s an effort, but it’s so worth it! Force yourself from hiding and you’ll LOVE the feeling of participating in the moment!

  • That is the best photo of you! You look like you’re having so much fun!! And so brave of you.

  • The Practical Saver

    Somehow, when I was reading your post, I couldn’t help but remember my wife. She’s been skinny all her life and she has her moments of not liking her body. I always remind her that she is beautiful the way she is.

    • It seems like every woman takes issue with her body at some point, no matter what her size. How wonderful that you are always reminding her she’s beautiful!

  • Yes. This needs to be said so much more…I absolutely agree with you! Thanks for writing this, Jeannine. Loving yourself will show your children what really matters — what’s on the inside.

    Emma | http://www.creativexplorations.com

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Emma! It’s so true. Every choice we make is so important for our children! If I can teach him the lesson of loving himself, I’ll be very happy!!