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Lessons Learned in Target: Self-Love is Bigger Than Me

I have a good old love-hate relationship with Target as I’m sure most people do. I love it because—Target. It has everything! I hate it because, well we all know the confusion of walking in for toilet paper and discovering you are leaving with three tops, a bag, something from Joanna Gaines, and no toilet paper.

And boy, oh, boy has my daughter has inherited her love of Target from me. So, the other day when I told her we need to go shopping for a new swimsuit for her upcoming swim lessons, she jumped up and squealed, “Target!” 

Yes, I teared up with pride.

Three detours through the baby, accessory, and sheet section later we finally found our way to the kids’ clothes and found a couple of suits she liked. Since she is in between sizes right now we decided it was probably best to head to the dressing room.

Lessons Learned in Target: Self-Love is Bigger than Me

We were about halfway through our lineup of swimmers when I heard something that made every muscle in my body freeze.

Next door to us was a mother-daughter duo trying on swimsuits and picking apart the daughter’s body.

Reflection on innocence

I could feel my anger rising as my lips pressed together.

Here I was with my “doesn’t even understand what a muffin top is other than a delicious bakery item” soon to be five year old listening to a woman agree with her daughter as they decimated this preteen’s changing physical appearance.

If you read my previous post, you know how I feel about physical appearances and the importance they hold. If not, you can read that HERE.

I swiftly gathered our items and ushered my daughter to the checkout line. Once again I was leaving Target with entirely too many items in my haste to escape.

On our drive home my kids snoozed which gave me plenty of time to think in the silence.

And think I did.

I would never in a million years say one negative thing about my daughter’s body. 

Now hold on. Don’t raise your pitchforks quite yet. I promise I’m not going on a judging rampage.

I wouldn’t say anything negative about my daughter’s body BUT I find that I am all too quick to say it about my own. 

I was suddenly playing back every time I cried when an item didn’t fit right. Every time I saw the dimples in my thighs and cringed. All the times when I listened to that stupid little voice in my head that hated on my body.

How many of those times was my daughter around?

It would break my heart if she picked up that horrible habit. But we all know “do as I say and not as I do” is a bunch of phooey. Kids learn from watching. 

I was suddenly terrified my daughter would be that girl in a few short years only noticing her flaws instead of all of her strengths.

Something needed to change and that change had to be in me.

It starts with us

You see, it starts with us—the ones responsible for these tiny humans. It’s the only way we are going to end this absolute toxic cycle.

We may not directly criticize our daughters’ bodies but do plant the seeds? I mean how many times has my own daughter heard me sigh when I catch a glimpse of myself in a window? Or complimented another woman on how thin she is?

It is not about physical appearance.

When I see myself in a window while strolling along with my daughter, rather than sighing I should yell, “Hot diggity! I love spending time with you.”

Or when I see a friend, instead of commenting on how much weight she lost I could genuinely say, “Good golly! You look so happy!”

We have to start appreciating people for who they are and not what they look like.

It is not about how big your booty is. It is not about the parts that jiggle. It is not about the areas that have lines. It is not about how things aren’t perky any more. And it certainly is not about what other people think.

But I will tell you what it is about.

Lessons Learned in Target: Self-Love is Bigger than Me

It’s about your happiness. It is about feeling most like you. It is about having fun. It is about appreciation. It is about confidence. It is about joy. It is about moving freely. It is about laughter. It is about being carefree. It is about connection. It is about being a heatr-led person. It is one hundred percent about who you are.

Now, I do understand how hard this is. Believe me. 

I am one month postpartum. My body just grew, nourished, birthed, and is sustaining a human being. That’s pretty freaking amazing. I am in awe of what it did and is doing. And yet, I still find myself poking at my now hollow tummy in my full length mirror wondering when it will look normal again and lingering way too long on the dimples in my thighs.

Umm what a load of horse manure!

There is no rewind button

But here is the golden nugget: It’s never going to look the way it did before. There is no going back. My body is forever changed after four kids. 

It’s not about hitting rewind but rather riding the waves through the phases of life and loving our bodies every step of the way.

I’d rather my daughter learn that from me than “It’s cool to hate yourself.”

Let’s leave that legacy to our kids. Let’s give them permission to adore themselves unabashedly! To wear whatever on the condition that it makes them happy. To compliment their smiles over their weight. To let them experience all that life is without doubting their bodies. 

Let’s teach them to love themselves.

Besides, pants always come in a bigger size.

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