“my daughter thinks she’s ugly, what do I tell her?”
No matter what age your daughter shares her insecurities, it’s heartbreaking to hear.
I’m not a parent yet, I don’t personally know what it feels like to hear this – but I do know what it feels like to say it.
Growing up, I felt ugly a lot.
All my friends had boyfriends except me. The thing I didn’t understand about it was…I was skinny, pretty, and popular.
So trust me, it happens to everyone.
Feeling ugly is a feeling – not an objective fact.
Since beauty and attractiveness are both subjective (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) the feeling of ugliness or unattractiveness is subjective, too.
There are millions of women who feel ugly – even though people call them beautiful.
When you live in a culture of impossible beauty standards, no one measures up.
I’m sure the first thought in your mind when your daughter said this was, “but you’re so beautiful!”
That’s a natural response to have, but here’s why it’s more harmful than helpful.
You’re not allowing them to feel validated in their insecurities.
The first step in overcoming addiction is admitting you have a problem, right?
You can’t fix something while pretending it doesn’t exist.
So if you want to help your daughter work through her feelings of ugliness or unworthiness, it has to start with validating the feelings she has.
I’m not saying to agree with them!
That’s different, but when your daughter comes to you saying she’s ugly or all her friends are prettier than her, respond first with, “I know how you feel,”
Because let’s face it, we ALL know how that feels.
But when you’re really struggling to know how to point her in the direction of confidence, that says there’s something going on within you that needs to be resolved.
If you’re struggling with body confidence, your beliefs are going to seep into your daughter’s beliefs and behaviors, too.
You have to get right within yourself before you can really set a good example for others.
You know when you’re about to take off and the flight attendants are doing the safety demonstration?
They say to put your own oxygen mask on properly first before assisting others.
This isn’t because they want you to be selfish.
It’s because you’re better equipped to help others when you’re getting enough oxygen.
The same is true for your body confidence.
When you’re supportive and understanding about your insecurities, you’re better equipped to help your daughter practice the same thing.
How do you start practicing body confidence for yourself?
Don’t be afraid!
Addressing your insecurities doesn’t give them more power or make them more real.
They’re real whether you’re reflecting on them or not – right?
So you may as well face them head on instead of ignoring them.
Speaking them, writing them down, and even sharing them with a coach or therapist helps dissolve the power they have over you.
Once you know your insecurities, you can “map” them to beliefs you have around who you are and what makes a woman worthy, beautiful, or valuable.
We pick up beliefs from our parents, friends, and influences in the media all the time.
If you’re not careful, you could be believing some really terrible lies.
One big lie women believe is that if they’re thinner they’ll be more attractive.
This isn’t inherently true.
But it’s plastered everywhere online, in our culture, and even in our own minds.
So start challenging these beliefs.
Who says being thinner equals being more attractive?
Can you think of examples where this wasn’t true?
When was the first time you thought this?
Who was the first person who said something like this to you?
Working through these questions with yourself helps you see these ideas did not come from you.
They came from other insecure people – or diet companies trying to sell you something.
So you might be thinking, okay – but where do I get the truth? How do I know what is true about my worth and value?
This is a tough question, and it’s kind of a question everyone asks in different ways, “what’s the meaning of life? why am I here? Do I matter?”
When I went through my breakup in 2014, I didn’t know where to go for truth.
I questioned everything about who I was and if I had worth because a toxic relationship taught me to constantly seek approval from him.
The worst part was, I never got it.
No matter what I did, how I looked, what I said, or how I acted – there was always something wrong with it according to him.
So when I left, I didn’t know whose approval I needed to seek.
I sought approval from men, authority figures, friends, and family members.
All along, just waiting for someone to tell me I was good enough so I might believe it myself.
It wasn’t working, though. I still wanted to fill that void, to believe them when they told me I was enough.
Instead, I fixated on the people whose standards I didn’t meet.
I tried to get EVERY guy to think I was attractive. I tried to get EVERY authority figure to be impressed with my work. I pushed myself to check all these boxes set by society so I could finally feel successful.
And when I met those standards, I felt empty.
It still wasn’t enough.
Because I was trying to fix and inside problem with an outside solution.
During a phone call with my mom, she mentioned how surprised she was that I was still hurting from the breakup after 6 months.
“How come you’re still hurt by someone who treated you so badly?
“Because he trained me to believe I deserved it. That every mean thing he did was caused by me. That if I tried harder, he would treat me better. That if I looked better, he would be more attracted to me. That if I made more money, he would be less stressed. He trained me to run a race where he kept moving the finish line. Now that I’m off the racetrack, I don’t know where to run. I don’t know what’s true and I don’t know who I am.”
“Honey, God knows what’s true. God knows who you are, you can ask him.”
I was raised in a Christian home and I knew God loved me. I had been looking to everything else for my identity and value, I forgot the one thing I could always count on to be true.
So I turned on a song my mom sent me and cried to the lyrics as I felt God pour back into my heart.