“The one who has the body image problem in my family is my mother.”



Dear Mom,


I wish you didn't worry so much about your weight. You worry about it a lot; your mother made you worry about your appearance to an unhealthy degree when you were growing up and you always have. I used to be unhappy about my appearance, even though I'm not overweight at all. I'm a dancer and I have a very athletic body, but nevertheless, I used to be highly uncomfortable with it. This year I decided to stop worrying. I'm very stubborn and when I set my mind to something, it's hard to dissuade me from my resolution. I know this method won't work for everyone, but I decided to stop worrying about my weight and instead be confident and happy, and I was able to change my mindset just like that. The truth is, I actually have a very beautiful body. I don't believe in judging people by their looks—everyone's true beauty is inside them—but by society's standards, I am a beautiful young woman. I've been so much happier and more comfortable with myself this year; not worrying about the way I look has taken a HUGE weight off my shoulders (no pun intended...).


So many people (particularly women) are unhappy with their appearances. I used to be one of them, but now that I've gotten over that, I want everyone to make the change that I did and stop obsessing over their body images. It took me a long time to start thinking the way I now do, but now that I've changed my outlook, I'm impatient with other people who can't make the switch I have. I'm so much happier now and I want everyone to be able to achieve the contentment and comfort level that I have.


I know that you love your kids more than anything and would never want to be overly critical of me or make me unduly uncomfortable, but you project your body image concerns onto me. You tell me I'm beautiful and I know you mean it, but you also told me that you thought a skirt I was wearing was unflattering. I'm not so much offended as I am concerned about why you said this. Everyone else (I'm not exaggerating) who has seen me wear that skirt thinks I look fantastic in it. I bought it because I thought it looked great on me. But you thought that just because it's short and I'm not as thin as a twig, it was unflattering. Eventually I told you how many compliments I've gotten on it and you accepted what I said and replied, "I stand corrected." I appreciate that; I just wish that you could feel comfortable enough about yourself to open your mind to the possibility that people who aren't sticks can have hot legs too.


After my prom, you commented that you didn't think a girl in my prom group had a very flattering dress. She's a big girl and the dress was fairly short. I thought it looked really good on her and I told you so. I didn't only want to defend her; I genuinely thought it was a wonderful choice of an outfit for her. I felt that it was time for you to start realizing that you were/are overly conscious of your weight, so I said, "I think the dress looked really good on her. The idea that you have to be really skinny to wear short skirts is an idea from your generation. People have different ideas now. Many teenagers now don't think it's a shameful thing to show your legs even if they're a little big." I think you took what I said to heart and I'm very glad about that.


I love you so much and I don't want anyone reading this letter to think that you're an unkind or unloving mother. We're a perfect fit for one another and I love you so much. You just have some insecurities —especially about your appearance—and unfortunately you haven't yet been able to face or overcome them. Well, I guess that's what the future is for. I just want you (and everyone else in the world) to realize that there's not just one type of beautiful.



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