Pages

Ticker

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

July 30, 2012

Self-Deprecation

I don't respond well to folks who fish for compliments.

"Oh, I look awful!"  ...or...  "I'm so fat!"

It's darn-near impossible for me to take the bait and respond with a "No, you don't!  You look great!"

I like to consider myself a kind, compassionate person...but the smarty-pants response that most often pops into my mind is, "I'm sorry you feel that way."

I usually meet myself somewhere in the middle and say something along the lines of, "Please don't say that, you are a beautiful person".

And -- since having children -- I specifically want to scream, "PLEASE DON'T SAY THAT IN FRONT OF MY GIRLS!!!"

[As a side note, if you're in the throes of post-baby blues, or some other life situation, and you earnestly tell me, "I just don't feel good about myself right now," that's a completely different story.  I will shower you with hugs and make you a warm beverage and do my best to help you feel better.]

But...back to the girls...particularly at this young age, I don't want my girls to hear people talking negatively about their appearances.

You read statistics about how many three- / four- / five-year olds say they need to go on a diet...how many eight-year olds don't like their noses...how many fifteen-year olds would like to have cosmetic surgery.

At our house, we try our best to focus our energies on being smart and healthy, and -- although in today's culture it may be wishful thinking -- I would love for those such thoughts to never enter our girls' minds.

I'm very passionate about this subject, recognizing I have two radiant young daughters who absorb every.single.ounce of their environment like very porous sponges.

Then why, after meeting a friend for ice cream on Saturday, did I realize that I can sometimes do a pretty rotten job of accepting a compliment???

This friend lives out of town, and I haven't seen her in a couple of years.  I know I accepted her first compliment or two, but then she started denigrating herself.  At the time, it was completely unconscious of my part, but I know I volunteered something along the lines of, "Well, there's a reason I don't wear bikinis anymore."

Why???  Why did I allow the conversation to progress that way?

I know on some level I was just trying to make her feel better, but I know that was not a good example for me to set for my girls.

Lesson learned...I hope.

I think it takes a very high level of consciousness to raise our children with the self-worth that we all yearn for them to have.  It's easy to point to celebrity culture as the culprit...but I think certain tendencies far pervade that.

It's not just celebrity culture...it's everywhere.  Four sticky kids crawling over two multi-tasking mamas, on a hot day in front of an ice cream shop...we were a long, long way from E! News. 

A reminder to me to remain steadfast, and always AWARE.

4 comments:

Julia said...

I love this post, Mandy.

You're right---it's not always blatant----it's tiny messages, off-handed remarks, etc. You're so right, it takes a high level of consciousness to remain aware of those little nuances, that our smart, perceptive girlies can totally pick up on. :)

I find it challenging to accept compliments too. I always want to put an asterisk on it---thank you, but I'll offer you this piece of information __________ that knocks me down a peg or two....

It's hard to smile, say thank you, and move on---especially in the appearance department, for me.

I love your approach to asking them to not say it, because they are a beautiful person, which points to something other than appearance, and hopefully moving on to another topic. :)

Wise words here, friend!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Well, on a very shallow level, you totally have no problems with a bikini body! I looked through all the pics and there is not ONE that makes you look in the least bit unflattering.

Me on the other hand? I cringed when I saw two of Mandy's. OH MY WORD< I am not missing a single session with the PT this month!

On the not-so-shallow side... you're so right. I think we do this a lot... unconsciously because we don't want to appear vain.

And I only saw your comment about the foundation yesterday - I think D downloaded emails before I saw them on the ipad. thanks!

Barbara Manatee said...

Well said!! I will admit, I am not always happy with how I look and feel but I try really hard not to say anything negative in front of the kids. We talk a lot about being healthy, eating good foods, exercising and taking care of our bodies. We don't say "so we don't get fat" but explain that it helps us feel better and keeps our bodies working hard for us.
I've obviously tried hard over the last year to set a positive example for my kids and I hope I can continue to so as they grow. I know Sarah especially listens and I'm glad she's getting a good message about health and taking care of ourselves.

Cecilia said...

It's so hard raising kids these days. Especially girls. I always find myself thinking whether I'm being a good example for my girls. I want the, to be strong and kind girls. They don't have to win beauty contests or make straight a's. I just want them to be good, happy people. And to know they are beautiful and smart.