Yesterday I had an epiphany moment. A rare moment of absolute clarity that was triggered by four simple words spoken by my nine year old daughter.
And at the time I was completely rushed and not able to chew over what she had said until this morning, but I wanted to share the experience and why it was so important to me. Because many of us struggle with the root issue.
So, what were the magical words?
Mommy, you look beautiful.
Pretty simple, right? I mean, it’s not like any of our kids (yours and mine) haven’t said that at some point or other.
Most of the time I’m running around in capris and t-shirts looking sort of frazzled, so when I slap on some makeup and jewelry, it stands to reason that the kids are going to notice.
But yesterday was different. You see, I’ve been struggling with self esteem issues lately. I’m sure you catch it in my posts now and again.
A sarcastic jab at my boobs here and there, a lament over my waist line, and the occasional “I need Botox” comment.
And I’d like to chalk it up to getting older, but that’s not the case. I’ve always struggled with these types of issues.
Let me give you a practical example of how warped my self esteem is….
I weigh myself every single day. And on the days that I drop by any measure, I feel like a sex kitten.
On the days that I gain even a half of a pound, I see a grossly distorted blown up version of myself in the mirror. And my day is totally shot.
Clearly I have some issues.
But yesterday when my daughter told me that I looked beautiful, it made me take pause. She said it so genuinely that it pierced my heart.
Am I measuring my self esteem against what society thinks is beauty? I think the answer is yes. I think I always have.
I may not be a size two. My skin is no longer wrinkle free. My hands are starting to look thinner and veiny. But that’s not what my child sees.
She sees a different kind of beauty. One that I can’t see because I don’t have her perspective. Hers is wrapped up in the innocence of a nine year old who hasn’t been completely tarnished by society yet.
Her measure of beauty includes facets that society doesn’t take into account. Maybe it’s because I’m the one who comforts her when the mean girls strike at school.
Or maybe it’s because I make the best peanut butter and fluff sandwiches.
Perhaps she finds me beautiful because I shake my head along with her when we’re doing her math homework. Agreeing that it’s impossible and then breaking out the Hershey Kisses for inspiration.
She might even find me beautiful for holding back her hair when she gets sick, or my awesome Bandaid applying skills.
Or maybe it’s the lipstick. She loves lipstick. I could be over thinking this whole thing. It’s quite possible that I just really had a great makeup moment last night.
But that doesn’t matter.
Those four words were said with such purity that it made me take notice. My daughter thinks I’m beautiful.
I may not be beautiful to society’s harsh super model standards, but society doesn’t know my heart. It doesn’t know my soul.
Its judgement is on the outer packaging of our being, but doesn’t take into account the true gifts that lay beneath that outer shell.
My desire is to move beyond that superficial judgement that I subject myself to, and try to see myself from a different vantage point. To look at myself with the same loving eyes as my daughter.
Because in the end, that’s what really matters. That I’m deemed beautiful by those who love me. Because their judgement of beauty carries so much more validity than anyone else’s.