I’ve been talked to several black and brown girls about body image and self-identity. Ive had to find simpler ways to discuss positive body image, self esteem and realistic perceptions of healthy/good/ideal etc. because the age of the students I speak with is getting younger. Grownups should be deliberate about fostering positive esteem and body image to compete with the many messages that meet our youth in person and through the media.
A simple action step for you today: look to self and answer these questions; How comfortable are you with your body? How do you think/speak about your own vessel?
Be honest and compassionate when our youth say or show signs of unfavorable self-image. Start with the mindset of “We have all felt this way before” instead of denying this fact to make a point about how kids should feel.Your honesty and compassion will help your son or daughter understand that these feelings are typical and common and there are healthy ways to cope.
While meditating on these questions for myself, I uncovered that I have been relying on unhealthy ways of coping with negative self-image. I ignore and avoid my body. That’s just the opposite of over-objectifying, obsessing or body shaming. Avoidance doesn’t promote a healthy appreciation for my body as a vessel and isn’t a healthy tool. My body’s main purpose isn’t to be reveled as just “looking” good. I want instead to work on a healthy Awareness and appreciation for my body; to Find good in my body for what it can do and how it can feel.
Wow! Those “look to self” exercises are not easy but necessary for raising and guiding youth to be healthy and whole. Now it’s your turn to be bold for the kiddos; how did you answer the above questions about your self image? What will you DO to transform your perception of self today?
Let’s start the conversation... head over to the forum and let's talk about it together so we are more comfortable with the conversations with our girls when the topic comes up.