Body confidence can mean different things to different people. To some people it would be being able to wear a bikini on holiday or looking great in skinny jeans. Too others it might mean being able to stand tall and having pride in yourself.
To me body confidence is a lot more than how a person physically looks. I believe it is more about how we feel inside and how we reflect this to the outside world. I was really surprised and sad that the other day my Daughter came home from school and told me that one of her peers had called her ‘tubby’. I of course gave her lots of reassurance and she has not mentioned it again since. But it is shocking at this young age that other children are already making personal and hurtful comments about another child’s appearance.
I was bullied as a child at school because I was overweight. This started at an early age I was only eight years old. I remember feeling excluded and that I didn’t fit in. I was a child of the 1980’s and the schools that I attended did very little to help me. It is not like now where pastoral care seems to be high on the agenda in education. Recently at my Daughter’s school every child was sent home with a booklet on bullying. This made me realise just how far we have come, that we are actually trying to prepare our children and make them aware that this is a common problem. The booklet gave helpful advice for both parents and children, so is something that I am definately going to read with my Daughter.
When I was at school in the 80’s and 90’s of course social media didn’t exist in the way it does now. We had very little in comparison to what children have now, but there was still expectations on how you felt you were meant to look. Now children and young adults are constantly bombarded with images on social media. So it is no wonder that many of our children are concerned with the way they look. As parents I think we need to be reassuring them that this is not how they have to look and make sure that they know that some images are airbrushed and are not even real!
The way I would like to make a difference as a Mother, Friend and Health Professional is to educate others that it is ok to be different. This is my pledge, I would like people to do three things when they engage with other people:
- Try and look further than the a person’s physical appearance, there is always something more to that person.
- Talk and really listen to people, gave them the opportunity to let their personality shine through.
- Don’t be so quick to judge and gave everyone you meet a chance.
I have been inspired to write this post because of Dove’s #PledgeToBeReal campaign. I met the Dove team at the Mumsnet Blogfest and took the below photo.