I’ve always found it amusing watching people check themselves out in the large window of a shop they walk past, or peer carefully at their face in a mirror in a public bathroom. That was until one day, I found…drum roll…layers of something looking suspiciously like fat lumps on the sides of my hips. I had never noticed these strange growths before. I then began displaying strange behaviour I had watched others doing for years. I’d stop and look at my butt from various angle in mirrors, I’d lift the flab up and move it around after I got out of the shower and I only just stopped short of asking my husband, “Does my butt look big in this?”

Body image

How we view the physical container the spark of our life is housed in

It’s a big issue and I want to talk briefly about how we can navigate this well, especially when we have children who are watching and listening to everything we say and don’t mean to say?

What I have learned from observation and experience is that what we say and do gives permission for our children to do the same. The way I treat myself gives my child permission to treat themselves the same way. The way I speak about myself gives my children permission to speak about themselves in the same way.

What is it that you are saying and thinking about yourself at this very moment? Take a moment to think about what you hear your children say about themselves. Are there any similarities? I’ve found that as we sort through our issues (big or small) we will often release our children from the same issues.

The reality is that our children are sponges, especially up until age 8 and as such, they will absorb everything we do and say without question or filter. It’s all in there!

If that’s the case, what do we want to be modelling to them?

How do we want them thinking about themselves?

What do we hope they will believe about their value and the link to their bodies?

Sometimes there is work to be done on our bodies to maintain optimal health. As we stop talking about our weight gain or loss and start actually exercising or changing our diet, we model to our child a healthy attitude to making positive changes. When we stop our negative self-talk and start relaxing into our bodies and appreciating all they offer us, we give our kids a chance to breathe and relax into their bodies too.

I believe as parents, it’s time for us to celebrate our unique body shapes and to celebrate our kids too. Choose not to buy into the cultural hype. Logically we must all be different shapes and colours for a reason. Why not enjoy it, rather than wishing our body was more like a photo-shopped image in a magazine.

It’s time to lay down our shame and disdain of our bodies that we may be inadvertently passing on to our kids.

It’s time to stop worrying about what others think of us so much that we treat those people whom we profess to love with disrespect when we fear that they don’t reflect on us perfectly.

If you can relate to this and feel that you would like some help to sort through your body image challenges please contact me at gretchen@lighthouseleadership.com.au for an appointment.