Love, Health

My mother never knew how much she hurt me, but I’m taking back control

"You're perfect, sweetie." But her actions and her own body image issues told me differently.

Like most little girls, I grew up watching my mom get ready when she’d go out to parties or dinners with my Dad.

It was a ritual.

The makeup, heels, dresses, and perfume. There was something so exciting about watching my mom transform.

But there was another side to this ritual that wasn’t so glamorous.

I loved watching my mom get ready, but more often than not, her time spent getting ready was very stressful. Searching for an outfit looked more like unraveling a closet. Every outfit revealed some flaw that I had never noticed before: “this shirt shows my back fat;” “I have too many lumps for this dress;” “this dress reveals my cellulite;” on and on it went. Although she looked perfect to me, she had an entire list of things she now needed to fix. “I’m going on a diet on Monday,” she’d say, or “I can’t continue looking like this.”

We have the power to set up an entirely different foundation for the next generation of women. Click To Tweet

And so I’d watch my mother get into these cycles like many women do: the house gets filled with green food and a miserable woman for a week. Then I’d watch my mom give into a piece of cake or bread. She’d then conclude that dieting doesn’t work—although she always tried again—and life is too short to stress about food, which is true.

When we’d go shopping, my mom would pick up jeans in sizes too small for her and stare at them in admiration. “I wish I could be this thin.”

Read Next:  Thousands of South Korean women are taking a historic stand against spy cam abuse

When I did the same thing, my mom would roll her eyes and say, “You’re perfect, sweetie.”

But her actions and her own body image issues told me differently.

When I was 10 I remember staring at the mirror and pointing out my own flaws. “When I grow up I’ll be a size 0 and be thin and beautiful,” I said to myself. It wasn’t until a decade later that I realized that was the day I stopped loving myself.

When we'd go shopping, my mom would pick up jeans in sizes too small for her and admire them. Click To Tweet

Generation after generation, we’ve unintentionally passed down these poisonous actions and negative words to our daughters. And now we see an epidemic of young women struggling with self-harm, anorexia, bulimia, and myriad other self-esteem issues. Yet we wonder where it all went wrong.

Although most of our mothers are amazing superwomen, most have failed to teach us to love ourselves. There is a right way to take care of your body, there is a right way to respect it and there is a right way to talk about it. Unfortunately, most of our mothers were never taught how either.

Tumblr

As a millennial woman, I consider myself extremely fortunate to be growing up in a generation of women who’ve become awakened to these issues. They’re changing the conversation over women’s rights and bodies. We are at the cusp of changing and easing the societal standards set on all women.

Our mothers are amazing, super women, but, most have failed to teach us to love ourselves. Click To Tweet

We have the power to set up an entirely different foundation for the next generation of women. One where they’ll get the opportunity to grow up without staring at the mirror and looking for their “flaws.” A future where they will be focused on their passions and interests instead of being hyper-conscious of cellulite and jean sizes. A future where their future and their bodies get to be their own.

Read Next:  7 blood donation myths stopping people from saving lives

It starts with a conversation. It starts with complimenting a skill over a look. It starts with speaking kindly to and of yourself. It starts with forgiveness.

So yes, our mothers were wrong. But now we can have our cake and eat it too.

Tea Milutinovic

Tea Milutinovic

Tea Milutinovic is a Writer and Social Media Analyst with a B.S. from Texas State University in Mass Communication and Public Relations.

Our weekly email will change your life.