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Guest Columnist: Dr. Missy, Feelings Helper-” Accept the skin you live in “

Accept the skin you live in

 

Children live what they learn and they learn by observing and imitating adults. Our daughters and our sons learn about self-image, body image, and accepting or rejecting body shape, size, and weight of self and others from adults. Parents, do you accept the skin you live in? Mothers, do you accept the skin you live in?

 

With all the Reality TV shows about cosmetic surgery, weight loss, physical body makeovers, glamour galore, teeth whitening, dental caps, breast implants, nose jobs, shiny hair, puffy lips, tanned skin, facelifts, tweezed eyebrows, high cheek bones, liposuction, skin rejuvenation, body waxing, and chemical peels, children might start to believe that the outside is more important than the inside. Sometimes you can buy external physical beauty but you cannot purchase inside beauty. Without internal self-acceptance life can be a chaotic hip-hop. What I want to say to you is that both the outside and the inside need attention. One does not have to be sacrificed for the other. It’s about balance.

 

However, my point is to proclaim that inside every human being is the core of the individual; a core made up of hopes, dreams, love, spirituality, compassion, passion, thoughts, emotions, motivation, desires and significance. Yes, I know our society worships the face and body and often forgets about what’s on the inside of the person. Our American culture portrays an unrealistic body shape of thinness. Celebrities’ parade in gorgeous skin polished with what money can buy and do. Glamour magazines photograph skinny girls and airbrush the facial imperfections. Makeup, hair products, and skin products dazzle and tempt us with visions of flawless beauty. Advertisers get rich from cashing in on our face and body insecurities. Supermodels prance and dance in (self-starved) skinny bodies and skimpy thongs. MTV portrays the slender females with giant breasts and shapely booties. Males are portrayed with massive biceps and tight abs.

 

Learning to accept the skin you live in can be difficult in a world of media mania and the exposé of paper doll thin (dieting) girls. Does the size of our jeans determine our worth as females or males? Can we work on our appearance while accepting ourselves as more than a face and body? Can we accept ourselves while we work on a healthy version of ourselves? We cannot change society’s opinions, but can we change our own? Yes, I think so. Females pass from childhood to girlhood to womanhood and although our bodies experience myriad changes, we still only get one body for our journey on this planet. Your body is not the enemy. Your body is your friend.

 

As an adult woman, I care about my appearance but I don’t obsess over it. I try to make healthy lifestyle choices and focus on a healthy mind and a healthy body. For many years after high school, I struggled with self-image, self-acceptance, and the connection to body image and self-image. During middle and high school and college days, I equated self-worth to physical beauty. I believe I’ve adopted a balanced view and made peace with my outside and inside. I’m aware it seems like it is easier for me to write these things now that I’m a middle-aged woman. And I know I do not live in your shoes and I have not experienced your life and feelings. However, help and healing is available by seeking counseling for yourself and for your child or teen. Low self-esteem and rejection of self can be a factor in depression and anxiety.

 

You can learn to accept the skin you live in. And you can help your child to do the same.

 

Dr. Missy, Ph.D., is a feelings helper, child therapist, consultant, educator, and self-syndicated columnist. She provides therapeutic services at Affirmations, Columbus, Ohio. Contact her at [email protected].

 

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