Parenting on Purpose

Bigstock photos

Bigstock photos

Face it — most people have parts of their bodies that they wish were somehow different. By different, it’s generally assumed that they wish these attributes were better. Maybe you don’t like the color of your hair or wish your arms had less loose skin on them. Maybe you want that toned stomach you see Iggy Azalea or Jared Leto sporting.

However, the concept of better is so subjective, it is often unduly influenced by the opinions of other people, many of whom you don’t even know. Images that you see on television, in the movies, and on the pages of magazines are rarely what they appear to be.

Many people think that a poor body image is something that only affects teenage girls, but this is simply not true. People of all ages, both male and female, can suffer the ill effects of having a poor body image.

Yes, young women often think they are fat and many of them diet to the point of poor health or even anorexia. On the flip-side, there are boys who feel like “90 pound weaklings” and believe they’ll never get a girl or will get sand kicked in their face if they dare show their bare chest at the beach.

This is affecting more children than ever and at younger ages than most would expect.

So what can you do as a parent to help your child recognize how beautiful and miraculous their body is no matter how they’re built?

One of the first things to do is pay attention to how you feel about your own body. Are you setting an unhealthy example, constantly monitoring every bite you eat, fixating on your weight, or analyzing your features? So often, people will say negative things about their bodies, which kids can naturally take to heart. Even if you don’t say it out loud, your children still pick up on facial expressions and emotions.

Here are some things you can do to help your kids love theirs, and if you have body issues of your own, you can practice them, too.

Find Something to Love

Identify something about yourself that you like. What do other people compliment you about? Do you have pretty eyes, nice hair, or a great smile? These are all fantastic places to start. It is easy to get so down on yourself that you shrug off the compliments you get as being insignificant or even insincere. Learn to say a simple thank you when someone compliments you and feel that positive energy.

Be a Baby

 Get a picture of yourself as a baby. Pretty cute, right? That is still you. Embrace your baby-self. Accept your natural in-born beauty. Over time, find pictures of yourself as you were growing up. Look at those pictures and love that little girl or boy.

What Would Grandma Say?

Forget about anyone who said anything mean. Think about a complete stranger or a loving grandparent. What would they say about your appearance? Most of us see tiny flaws that no one else notices. Think hard about it and ask yourself if Grandma or Grandpa would take issue with the flaw in question.

Turn It Around

Imagine your “imperfections” on your best friend. Would you be horrified by them? Would you expect them to be ashamed of their appearance? Would you stop liking them because their thighs were big or small, or if they had acne? Of course not! Try to be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend.

Feel it

 Check in with your Internal Guidance System. How does it feel when you are beating yourself up over your appearance? I’ll bet it doesn’t feel very good. On the other hand, how does it feel when someone gives you a compliment? Pretty nice, right?

Your IGS will help you to know what is true and steer you onto a healthy path. Your IGS will help you to know that you are okay, right now, just the way you are. It will help you to know if you can be even happier and healthier by making some changes. Some people may be guided to make a change in what they eat because it feels good to them. Others may take up some healthy exercise.

Recognize What You Control and What You Don’t

Not everyone is built like a model with long slender legs, big blue eyes, and straight blonde hair. The good news is that there are so many different kinds of beauty and beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder. You don’t have to try to look like anyone else. Some things you can change if you choose to. You can exercise and build up your muscles and tone your body. However, if you’re born with short legs, you can’t make them longer.

Focus on What Your Body Can Do

Instead of focusing on what your body looks like, focus on what your body does for you. Start appreciating that your body carries you around. Your eyes see the world and send messages to your brain. Your arms carry your books, laptops, puppies, and babies.

Once you let go of the idea of how you think you should look, you can start to be grateful for your existing health. This gives you the chance to notice how easily you move through the world, thanks to your wonderful body. You feel the wonderful sensations when you touch something soft, something fuzzy, or touch another person.

As your appreciation for your body increases, you’ll start to feel more beautiful. You’ll show the world your own unique, fantastic self. You will radiate your inner beauty and others will recognize it and be drawn to our positive energy.

Inspire your kids

Children often emulate how their parents think, act and feel. As you learn to appreciate how divine your body is, your children will have an easier time feeling positive about their own bodies. Being aware of what you’re projecting and deliberately keeping your dialogue positive will ultimately inspire your kids to the same outlook.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.



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