I asked each of my daughters to tell me something that makes them beautiful this morning and my oldest was a bit stumped. I was surprised. As she looked in the mirror next to me, she seemed shy, looked away and said she didn’t know. My second daughter told me right away that her hair is one of the reasons she is so beautiful (relief). I wondered what it was exactly that kept my 8-year-old from saying something. We spent the ride to school telling each other what we thought were our most beautiful attributes. After that exercise, Sofia was able to tell me her smile was her best feature.
I don’t think I have ever looked at myself in a mirror and said I thought I was beautiful in front of my daughters. On the other hand, I have apprehensively stepped on the scale in front of them and sighed. I’ve also looked closely in the mirror at blemishes and they’ve watched me hide grey hair with a box of color. They’ve seen me change my dress three times, go to the mirror and turn sideways to see if my mommy tummy sticks out too much. There are far too many examples and I feel ashamed of my unconscious behavior. I have never stopped to consider the unspoken messages of self-image I am sending to my daughters.
I want to do what I can to cultivate their positive self-image. I am going to pause our busy days, make my daughters (and son) look in a mirror and have them identify their own beauty. I never considered making a focus on physical beauty, but after the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” video, I’ve changed my mind.
I do think I am beautiful, and I want to find ways to show my daughters exactly that point. I am going to behave differently starting today. I am going to share positive opinions of myself with them. If I can show them I am comfortable in my own skin, I hope it will help them be comfortable in their own. I want the deliberate process of identifying their beauty to become classically conditioned
While we work on our positive self-image and being kind to ourselves, we need to do what we can to change the cycle for the women of tomorrow. Let all of us keep in mind the impact that our behavior, thoughts and words can have on people.
The key: Remember that the truest beauty is the impact we have in life and the legacy we leave behind, and a positive self-image will help us affect the world.
Trina M. Fresco, Vice President of Operations for the IT firm smarTECHS.net since 2007 and NBCLatino Contributor, was named one of “50 Powerful Minority Women in Business” by MEA Magazine. Fresco is the Chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women Investment Subcommittee and serves on a number of additional boards & committees. Fresco resides Chicago with her husband, George and their three children Sofia, Giana and Lorenzo. You can contact her at FrescoRealTalk@gmail.com or on Twitter @trinafresco.