Negative self talk is a constant in today’s society. But with little eyes constantly watching us, we need to keep in mind the potential negative effects.
I vividly remember being maybe 6 or 7 and asking my mom if I looked fat. I was modeling the way she looks in the mirror herself before she would ask my dad the same question – front, side, side, shirt up, repeat. My mom was on the phone and told me to stop, then said to whoever was on the phone, “Oh, Morgan’s just learning about vanity.” My first act in vanity, in wondering about how I looked, about how my body was or how I was presenting myself to other was to ask if I looked fat.
We live in a world where, as women, we’re bombarded with media that is constantly telling us to lose 5 more pounds, slim this, tighten that. We’re presented with unrealistic images of “perfect” bodies over and over and expected to emulate them. No wonder we’re a bunch of self-conscious and vain people. It’s who we’ve been molded to be.
Stop the Negative Self Talk
When I became a mom, I knew I wanted to lose the “baby weight” (okay, and the puppy weight, AKA the weight I gain right before getting pregnant when we first got Cooper) and I wanted to lose is quick – show me a new mom who spent 9 months in stretchy pants and stuffing her face who doesn’t want that. I quickly learned that a. my body was not physically ready for that and b. that I just wasn’t interested in working out like I thought I would be. I was tired. And learning to be a mom and trying to adjust and nursing all.night.long. Of course losing weight wasn’t my first (or second or third) priority.
That’s not to say that I didn’t spend my fair share of calling myself fat, chubs, a pig whatever when by 6 weeks postpartum I wasn’t back to my slim self. I would tell anyone who would listen, from my husband to my newborn baby chillin’ in his bouncer that I wasn’t up to par. If someone complimented my post baby body, I would scoff and immediately rattle off one of a million reasons they were wrong.
And then I heard someone else doing the same thing – another mother tearing herself down in front of her children and all I could think was, “Oh, what are you teaching them? Why aren’t you letting them hear you praise yourself – you are an amazing person, an amazing mother, and all you can do is talk about how you don’t look good!” What effect would that cause on her children? In a few years, would they be twisting and turning in a mirror asking if they looked fat? Would they be scouring magazines to find a perfect nose? Would they join that terrible teenage game of proclaiming something that sucks about themselves in an effort to one-up a friend? Would they have an eating disorder? Would they hate their bodies – the body that you lovingly created for nine months, fed and nurtured and took care of for 18 years, the body that to you is undeniably perfect?
In that moment, I decided to attempt to stop. Stop the negative self talk in front of my kids. Hell, stop it all together if I can. But mostly, in front of my children, because I have no idea what I’m setting them up for by doing so. I don’t want another generation of children dissecting their bodies in disgust, of negative self-talk and obsessing over imperfections.
So here is my request: please, please, please stop the negative self-talk in front of your children. They know. They learn. They are taking cues from you. The vast majority of the way they learn to interact with respect themselves and their bodies comes from you. You want to call yourself fat, or talk about your big nose, or how you need to lose a few more pounds? Do it to your husband or your girlfriends or your therapist or your dog. But please don’t do it in front of the impressionable minds that see you as a hero.
Thank you, Amanda, for letting me think out loud!
So tell me: did you ever hear your parents negative self-talk? Did it affect you at all? Leave it in the comments!
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