Worth the Love


Photo by Brown Family

I would give anything in this whole wide world to go back in time and tell my younger self that I am worth so much more than my looks—that all little girls are worth more than their looks.

I went on my first diet when I was nine years old.

Of course, being nine years old, I knew nothing about a healthy style of eating, or that girls came in all shapes and sizes, or that my body weight was just right for my height. All I knew was that I did not look like the other girls. I was not an underdeveloped twig; I was curvy, and I had things the other girls did not have. And when there is a child that young, with so little understanding of the human body or how versatile the definition of beauty is, they can easily be lead astray. I was in desperate need to be told that I was fine the way I looked, that I was beautiful just as I was.

The current message floating around is that girls shouldn’t need to be told they’re beautiful; they should just believe it. But that’s really hard. It’s hard to just believe in something because someone told you to. Struggling with self-esteem from such a young age, my mother turned to books to help me. Except they didn’t really have books regarding that topic which were targeted towards young girls. I had one book, and while I’ll admit they had good intentions, I couldn’t help but feel that they were teaching the wrong message. See, the whole book was focused on the idea that everyone is different and that different is okay. It seemed to me that by choosing to go the “different is okay” route, they only skimmed the surface of insecurities which plague innocent minds of little girls these days.

The focus does not need to be telling children that it doesn’t matter what they look like because little girls are not stupid and find out very quickly that looks do matter. However, that doesn’t mean that we, as the generation which these little girls look up to, can’t shift the focus to show these girls that what they have to offer the world is so much more important than how they look.

Love is powerful, love makes the world go round, and self-love is a power beyond all measure. That’s what we need to be teaching little girls. Not that they are beautiful in spite of their flaws, but that they are beautiful because of their flaws. And if these little girls can love themselves with their whole heart, they can do big things because there are so many bigger things in this world than looks, and I wish with every fiber of my being that I could go back in time and tell nine-year-old me that because back then I just didn’t know. I didn’t know it was okay to look the way I looked, I didn’t know that I was worth more than the sizes of clothes that I bought, and I honestly feel that my childhood would have been astoundingly different if someone, anyone, had told me that as a little girl.

But no one did. And that’s a problem. Now it is my responsibility, our responsibility, to fix this problem. We need to spread this message; we need to scream it from the tops of every building until it ricochets off the mountain tops and finds its way into every corner, crack, and crevice in this world.  No more generations of girls who don’t believe they’re pretty enough, who don’t believe they’re good enough. Let us end an era of self-destruction and self-hate. Let us change the world.