I hope you will indulge this post as I’m going off topic a little bit today. Today’s post doesn’t have anything to do with fashion, food, or the best finds but it does have to do with what is EXTREMELY important to me and that is raising my girls to be strong, confident young women and a few tips on how I try to succeed in that lifelong calling. I am so beyond grateful and blessed to have 2 beautiful daughters. When my oldest was placed in my arms for the very first time I immediately knew I had to not only be her biggest cheerleader in life but her biggest role model. I had to walk the path I was about to preach and teach my little baby girl. So that meant I had to LOVE me, I had to LOVE my personality, LOVE my body, LOVE my face (yes specifically my face because my skin doesn’t like me that much, ha!), and live a life full of Confidence. Now remember I said Confidence not Cockiness, 2 very separate things ;). I wrote down a few ways I was going to live this confident life or at least strive to live it and I thought I would share them with you.

1. Never ever ever stand on a scale in front of my girls, period.  It’s true, I don’t stand on scales EVER!
2. Never ever ever talk negatively about myself in front of my girls! This means, I don’t say “I feel fat” or “I can’t eat that because then my butt will get bigger”, or “I don’t feel pretty today”, “I’m watching my weight”, etc. etc. I just don’t speak that way, and I don’t speak that way in front of any children! I try to not let my mind go there. That is not always easy, but by not letting it come out of my mouth, I find it easier to remove from my mind.
3. Never ever ever talk about other peoples’ weight in a negative manner, or in a positive manner for that matter. I try to compliment on personality, character traits, even specific appearance like hair, etc. but not on size ever! I try to never say, “she’s so skinny ” or “look how thin and beautiful she is”.  Although it can be said with the best intentions for our young girls and boys, it can associate beauty with weight and I just try to steer clear of that.
4. Always talk about being healthy and what that means to you. Why you workout and why you try to eat healthy foods and how it makes you feel. When I talk to my girls about why I work out I have said, “I run so that I can keep up with you”, “I hike so that I can see God’s beauty”, “I lift weights so I can be strong in case I needed to carry you forever”, “I swim so that I’ll be active when I’m a grandma” etc. etc. I also tell them that it makes my body feel good, and puts me in a happy mood. All of these things are true and have so much more meaning and depth than “I work out so I can have a rockin’ body”. I just want my girls to know that working out is so much more than being skinny, and I’m a perfect example of that. I’m not super thin but oh boy do I feel healthy and happy because I do work out and eat right.
5. Say positive things about yourself out loud so your kiddos can hear you. I have to admit this was the hardest thing for me to do and become accustomed to. But from that very first moment I wanted my girls to hear me love myself, not always but often enough that they will learn how to speak kindly to themselves also. It takes practice but as soon as you hear those little girls speaking positively about themselves out loud it makes it so worth it.
6. Get in a swimsuit NO MATTER WHAT! Yep, no matter what my body looks like, I get in a swimsuit with no shorts and swim and have so much fun! Don’t let something as trivial as your body stop you from having fun with your family. I promise you will soon forget about you and simply live in the moment. Oh and remember “nobody is looking at you, except you” so don’t let yourself get in the way.
7. Don’t compare yourself, just don’t!! I have learned to be so happy for my friends and people I love without it negatively affecting how I feel about myself, and I see that in my girls. They will come home from school so happy for a friend without needing the same for themselves and my heart shines.
8. Don’t take yourself too seriously, laugh often, and simply let your light shine.

I hope you will find inspiration from these 10 things. When I wrote these down over 10 years ago I knew it was going to be my life mantra for me and my girls. It has taken work and isn’t always easy but I promise you will find confidence in yourself that will weather you through the storms and your girls will grow up having a little extra boost when those teenage years come along and self confidence can be oh so tested!

I know you all have so many ways of teaching your girls and being amazing role models, I would love to hear them in the comments below.

This article was originally published on Edna James.