Do you remember the first time you didn’t want to look in a mirror? How about the last time you had a negative thought about yourself? It’s difficult to be positive when we live in a world of photoshop and “friends” ready to critique every picture you share through social media. A world of bullies and body shaming. Where every insecurity we have can be amplified at the push of a button. A space where others are more than willing to identify new concerns you hadn’t even considered.
Thankfully, there is also an increasing number of people standing up against this behavior. People choosing to love themselves and others based on who they are, not what they look like. For all of the voices (including your own) saying you are not good enough, there are voices emerging to shout, “You are incredible!”
I can tell you, it’s not the easy choice. Of course, it can’t be that simple! It’s one thing to be proud of those tiger stripes you earned. It’s another to put on that bikini and own those stripes like the goddess you are. You can believe you’re happy at your current weight and still wish you were ten pounds lighter. It’s easy to look in the mirror and find your imperfections, only seeing the little things you wish were different. It’s harder to look in that same mirror and say, “Damn, I look good! I AM incredible!” And believe it with every fiber of your being.
Learning to love ourselves is hard enough. Teaching this to our children and being a good example day in and day out is an additional challenge. After my daughter was born, I decided to make a conscious effort to never talk negatively about my appearance or the appearance of others in front of her. This has become easier as I work on my self appreciation, but it’s still something I have do with intention. It is not yet second nature. I do not avoid mirrors or pictures. There is no big to do about putting on makeup, it’s just something I do everyday. Yes, everyday. Even when I don’t leave the house. I know, I need to let it go. I’m working on it!
So I was taken aback when one night after her bath, she turned away from the mirror and told me she didn’t want to look at herself. What? What do you mean? She was two and a half at the time. I calmly asked why but didn’t push the issue too hard. She never did explain where this came from, but I knew I had to find a way to change it
I had recently finished listening to the book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero on Audible.com (affiliate link). By the way, I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read/listened to it. I started saying daily affirmations in the morning as I was getting ready and found that it had a positive impact on my attitude.
I decided to try this with my daughter after bath time each evening. In the beginning, she wasn’t always on board. She occasionally fought to look at herself in the mirror, but by the time we finished the affirmations, she was always looking in the mirror and smiling. Now we say affirmations in the morning, either after brushing teeth or in the car ride to school. My two year old son has also started saying them with us. It’s a great way to set the day off on the right foot. The affirmations we say have changed a little over the past year and a half, but we have been consistent over the past four months with the following affirmations:
I am strong
This isn’t really about physical strength, even if my kids flex their biceps from time to time when they say this. I want them to know they possess the strength to face anything that is brought into their life.
I am smart
This is beyond having books smarts or doing well in school. I want them to be confident in their ability to make good choices.
I am kind and loving
Speaking of good choices, in this world of negativity, I hope they choose to always being kind and act in love rather than hate.
I am beautiful inside and out
At least once a week my daughter will ask if she looks pretty in the dress she picked out for the day (it’s dresses or nothing for this girl!). When she asks this, I remind her that she’s beautiful because of who she is, not what she wears.
I am the best me I can be
This is our reminder to give our best in all that we do. This one and the following three are also part of my own daily affirmations.
No one else can be me
We are all unique. God created each of us in a specific way for a specific purpose. Just as we cannot be anyone else, no one else can be who we are. Even identical twins are unique individuals.
I am worthy
This is my favorite. It was a lightbulb moment the first time I heard it. We are worthy of the great things brought into our lives and the greatness God has prepared for us to achieve. Never let someone tell you that you deserve anything less.
I am blessed
This is a reminder for my kids to recognize how blessed they are.
Thank you God for making me this way
Finally, we give thanks to God for creating us the way he did and for providing us with all we need to fulfill our purpose in life.
Once we finish the affirmations, the kids will typically tell me that they will have a good day and we discuss anything special that we are looking forward to that day. How do you help your kids stay positive about who they are? If you say daily affirmations, how do your differ from ours? I’m always looking for new ideas!