Letters to My Daughters: You are Beautiful

At least once a day I over hear this conversation between you and your Daddy:

"What does Daddy think of you?"

"That I'm so beautiful."

Years ago he read an article about girls and their self-esteems. The study showed that the girls that heard they were beautiful from their dads frequently grew up with higher confidence in their appearances. Your Daddy, being the most intentional person I've ever known, started this conversation with you each that night and has repeated every single day since.

I've heard your your little toddler selves stumble out the words "I am so beautiful" in a variety of ways. That's a big word to say! Each time my heart melting a little more.

You believe you are beautiful.

When I tell you that you look so beautiful, you respond: "I know."

You don't hesitate. 

You don't force those words out.

You know that you are beautiful.

There will come a day you will understand why we tell you this so often. There will be a person who says something horrible. There will be a pair of pants that just don't button like they used to. There will be a magazine cover that shows you what your abs "should" look like or that thighs aren't mean to touch. You will hear others object to compliments and infer that they must be lies you've been told too.

And you will hear that you aren't beautiful.

You aren't living in ignorant bliss right now, the rest of us are living in lies.

I don't want you to hear them and I so wish I could shelter you from them forever. I can't. You will hear them. I fear that you will believe them, like every other woman that has gone before you.

But when you start to listen to them remember that your Mommy and Daddy think you are beautiful.

Remember that the definition of beauty changes with each generation. I used to wish I was born in the days of corsets because I could've rocked those outfits and been the ideal body type of that generation. This generation of extreme working out and nutrition and lean is beautiful, well, my tummy just doesn’t fit the mold.

I've struggled with body confidence my entire life. I've shamed my body. I've cringed in the mirror. I've wept in dressing rooms. I've starved myself and taken pills. I've dieted and cleansed and joined groups. I've never considered that I was beautiful because the mirror told me a different story.

This is ridiculous. These I lies I've believed for too much of my life and I don't want you to waste the same energy I have. 

So we don't do diets in this house. We don't do extremes with food or working out.

We work hard to love ourselves just as we are. We try to take care of ourselves too, that's a part of loving ourselves. But we are not slaves to our scales or mirrors or pants size. Magazine covers don't tell us what is or isn't beautiful.

Our Daddy does. 

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

You, my daughters, are beautiful.

I get lost looking at you so often. Your profiles as you watch TV next to me. The way your eyes sparkle and disappear when you laugh. Even that pout on your face when you argue makes my heart swell (when it doesn't make me want to roar). The way you dress with free expression and dance without awareness of others (or rhythm). When you hug one another without prompting and say I love you first. When you try something new and when you try something again after failing.

You are beautiful.


{To read all the Letters to My Daughters, click the image below.}