We go about our lives, without a care in the world, the majority of us say whatever we feel like, not thinking who is listening, but those of us who have children or small people in our lives who look up to us as role models, are always watching. Now we pick up on this when we accidentally let out something that rhymes with 'duck' or add an 's' in front of hit, my 6 year olds eyes widen and mouth drops, I sometime think he's a stricter child than I am parent...so we slap our own hand say "naughty mummy, you mustn't repeat that." and go on with our everyday lives. But what about when we drop another 'f' word...fat? What about when we are trying on clothes and pointing out all (what we see as) imperfections and flaws, my bums too big...I have no boobs...why can't my waist be smaller...I've got three chins...my nose looks like a beak...I can't go out looking like this...I'm ugly. What do you think goes through their tiny developing mind when they hear you body shame yourself? They take it on board and some personalities won't pick up on it, but the majority of the time they will.
Now, for the past 6 years in particular, I have been on a roller coaster journey with my body, pumping out 4 babies, in 3 pregnancies, having a dramatic weight loss journey to finding out that, that being skinny does not make you happy. I'm at a place in my life right now where I am confident in who I am, what I look like and where I'm going. It's taken a long time to get here but I am in a place of self love, however it hasn't always been this way. Back when good old puberty kicked in I was one of the first in my class to develop 'breasts' however, they didn't grow much (if any) from there on. I have always had small boobs and I have always had a big bum...for the majority of my life I have felt unbalanced, so much to the point where I wore the most ridiculous padded bras - like for real these things squished your boobs so close together and basically had boobs in the bra (anyone remember LaSenza?). I felt like I needed big boobs to even out my figure, to get that sought after hourglass figure that everybody wanted. Growing up it was always a matter of "oh it's a family thing...we all have small boobs" for as long as I can remember my darling mother has always hated her boobs, constantly putting herself down as we were growing up for not having boobs. Along with the media's projection of 'the ideal body' this is where I picked up my negative body image. Learned behaviour. What are your mini's learning from you?
Do you really want your children growing up picking at their appearance and loathing what they see in the mirror? Constantly trying to change their appearance to try and fit into 'the ideal body'? Of course you don't, but if this is what they see you doing, their world, their role model, their everything...what do you think they are likely to do? Learned behaviour. So, how can we correct this, how can we change our path, how can we start to love ourselves to set an example for our children? Come with me, let's make a difference in our next generation.
Firstly, like I've described how I found my trigger it's time to really start thinking about yours...(warning this might get a little deep)
When you stand in front of a mirror and look at the reflection, who's voice to you hear? Do you hear your mum putting herself down? Your dad criticising you? A bully throwing abuse at you? A teacher taking advantage and blaming it on how you look? Or has it come from the media, constantly throwing 'the ideal body' (which doesn't exist by the way) in front of your face? How has your self talk been affected by messages you have received in the past that you have been unable to part from?
Once we work out how your negative body image was triggered we can start to work through it. What you may find is once you confront these voices, you could start to see yourself as you are and not how you have been seen by others. I guarantee that almost half of you are looking at a reflection that doesn't actually belong to you.
Begin to look at yourself in the mirror and give thanks for different parts of your body...if you have legs that work be thankful you can walk, if you have eyes that open, be thankful for the beauty you are lucky to see everyday, if you have arms that function be thankful that you can pick up your fork to eat...and so on and so forth. There is so much to be thankful for and there is always someone out there in a worse position than you wishing they had what you do. When we stop focusing on hating our body and start giving gratitude to what we have, imagine the impact this will have on your children? Imagine the ripple effect you will set off into their future life. Why not give it a try?
I'd love to hear your triggers or if you need help identifying them, come and join us in our Self Love Detox online community and we can work through it together. Spread the love and gratitude you fabulous Queens!
With love & gratitude,
Ana Louise Bonasera
Confidence & Clarity Coach
P.S. I love my small boobs now...having had big breast feeding boobs in the heatwave last summer, I never want big boobs (after breast feeding) again!!! Big shout out to the #ittybittytittybrigade and as for being unbalanced, it's all part of the mind honey!
Ana Louise Bonasera, mum of 4 boys, girl power enthusiast.