Beautiful music, beautiful message

Giving birth to a daughter made me acutely aware of the messages I send to her, both verbal and non-verbal.
I desperately wanted her to have a healthy body image and not fall prey to the relentless cues by our culture that focus on superficial externals–flawless skin, couture fashion, model-thin–especially since most of what we see is airbrushed perfection.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest most women in our country struggle with body image. We can’t open a magazine, step foot into a mall, or walk through a grocery store aisle without seeing dozens of beautiful faces staring back at us, their age-defying bodies taunting us.

It’s just not fair…but mostly it isn’t realistic!

As a mother, one of my most important jobs is to instill confidence in and build the esteem of my children. It has been a battle but I’ve tried to steer away from self-disparaging comments in the presence of my kids, particularly my daughter–”I hate my hair,” “I’m so fat,” “I feel ugly.” Some days those things are more true than others, but if you don’t intentionally plan not to speak these negative thoughts, you likely will.

It’s also important to be careful and intentional with how I parent her; the words I use can encourage and challenger her…or deeply wound her.  I’ve caught myself more than a few times starting to say something that needed to be rephrased. S i g h…parenting is not for sissies!

“Garbage in, garbage out” is great life philosophy.  Make destructive choices with regard to diet and exercise and eventually it will take a toll on the body.  The same is true to what we read and listen to; fill our minds with junk and negative thinking, and it will affect our outward perspective.

I discovered a simple way to encourage positive, healthy thinking about real beauty for my daughter, even when I wasn’t around to do it myself:

Music.

If you listen and ask for recommendations from your friends, you’ll find great artists and groups to download on your family’s mp3 player.  Here are a few songs that encourage, inspire and cultivate healthy self image; I’d love to hear your suggestions in comments!

That’s a start…please share your favorite inner (and outer)-image affirming songs!

Photo credit:  From Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty
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Comments

  1. Joyce says:

    Great blog post! Thanks for the song suggestions. My daughter is four months old. As soon as I found out I was having a girl, it hit me that I wanted to make sure to do everything I could to help her have a good self-esteem and body image.

  2. nicole says:

    The Way You Are by Bruno Mars is a great song. Not really for young girls, because it has words like “sexy” in it, but overall it is a song I really like. A lot of his other songs are far too adult/racy for me, but that one is a good one. Also, How He Loves by David Crowder Band (Church Music album version is my fave) is not about beauty, but it still speaks to the same message I think.

    • Ha, Nicole, I know both of these songs about which you speak…and they’re both good ‘uns for the reasons you’ve mentioned and then some. I don’t think we can hear this message enough! Even grown women need to hear and BELIEVE it! :)

  3. Lynn says:

    I do want to give my daughter a great self image. I love to sing her, “Sunshine you are my sunshine”. I want her to know how special she is and how much she is loved…

    • Ahhhh, Lynn…I sang that one at least 10,000 times to my daughter (and also my boys!); it’s one MY mom sang to me!! Girls need to know they’re loved or they’ll find it elsewhere. That’s especially why dads (and/or strong male influences) need to be part of their lives!

  4. Emily Joyce says:

    I LOVE those songs! I’m not familiar with all of them yet. Thanks for the list!
    After reading this, I’ve realized I need to refrain from those self-disparaging comments to my husband, because he’s starting to make them too!

    • Oh, Emily…yes, you DO need to hush your mouth! I say this because my husband told me YEARS ago to STOP! He said, “that’s not how I see you so why would you want to put ideas in my head?” Yikes! GOOD for you to have realized this…and don’t believe those little lies you hear whispered in your ear. You are beautiful. Period. :)

  5. Love this list. Might have to make a little iTunes playlist ;)

  6. Kelly says:

    Thanks for the list! I feel the same way about how I act in front of my “kids,” the 9th graders I teach.

  7. Kar says:

    Jewel has a great song called “What You Are” on her new-ish album Sweet & Wild…

  8. Julia says:

    I struggle mightily with this! I have twin daughters. Carrying them to 5lbs. 9oz and 6lbs 13 oz has stretched my body beyond the point of fully bouncing back. And there are stretch marks on my belly. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to wear a bikini again. BUT–I don’t for one second want my daughter to think that I regret any of that! God designed my body to carry those girls to healthy weights. At 35 weeks, only one of my daughters was in the NICU for 18 hours! We were the shortest NICU stay our nurse had ever encountered. It’s all because I stretched….

    I remember my mom complaining about being unhappy with her body (my mother is a tiny woman!). When I was in high school I put it together that she was complaining about her body, the body that is a result of carrying me and my four siblings. My thought process at the time was that she was wishing me away for a better body. Because—in high school everything is about you, right?! I don’t want my daughters to hear me say things like that, but it is such a challenge!

    The song “Video” by India Arie is another good one to add to the list :)

  9. Well, hello, lovie! It IS a good lil playlist..and I’m totally surprised you didn’t add a few of your own!

    xo

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