If you follow us on Facebook (which, of course, you should), you may have seen an article we recently posted a link to. It was written by Lindsey Mead Russell for the Huffington Post, entitled “10 Things I Want My Daughter To Know Before She Turns 10.” The article is addressed to the author’s young daughter, Grace, who is right on the verge of turning 10. It lists life lessons that Grace’s mother wishes to pass down, as if to “somehow instill values and beliefs into her, like pressing a penny into soft clay.”

On the list are such important (and often difficult to learn) lessons as It is not your job to keep the people you love happy, and You should never be afraid to share your passions. The article is beautifully written and obviously personal, and it resonated with us on multiple levels. We enjoyed reading the entire thing (so much so, that we felt compelled to share it on Facebook!) but a couple of points did stand out:

5. You are so very beautiful. Your face now holds the baby you were and the young woman you are rapidly becoming.  My eyes and cleft chin and your father’s coloring combine into someone unique, someone purely you.  I can see the clouds of society’s beauty myth hovering, manifest in your own growing self-consciousness.  I beg of you not to lose sight with your own beauty, so much of which comes from the fact that your spirit runs so close to the surface.

This particular point reminded us all so much of the lyrics to our new favorite song, “Hello Beautiful” by Alice Peacock:

If I rule the world

I’d tell all the girls

They’re wonderful just the way they are

But all they have seen

In those magazines

Is telling them they’re broken from the start.

We are so proud and excited to have helped inspire this incredible song, as it pushes that terrible beauty myth of society’s right out the door. Anyone who can remember being a young girl knows the profoundly crushing impact that media can have on self-esteem. In a world that encourages girls and women to compare themselves to what they see in fashion magazines and on TV, it’s so easy to lose sight of what makes you distinctly you–and to even dislike or hate the unique features that set you apart: A cleft chin, a crooked nose, freckles, dimples–these details help distinguish you from everyone else in the world. They identify you, they tell your story–and they are exactly what make you beautiful in a way that no one else is.

It’s a lesson that we all strive to learn as we get older–how to feel confident and beautiful in our own skin, how to stop comparing ourselves to those we see around us (our friends, celebrities, strangers on the street) and instead celebrate ourselves for being special and unique. And yes, the wisdom behind that lesson does seem to come with age–but how badly do you wish you could have learned it before you were 10? Before you were a teenager?

It is heartbreaking to see young girls go through the pain and difficulty of learning to accept and love their own unique beauty, because all of us women know exactly how that feels. No matter how tall or thin or tan or clear-skinned we may be… We all know what it feels like to wish we could change something about our looks. That struggle is something that binds us together as women; if only we could use that binding to harness our collective strength, and fight back against society’s misguided notions of what makes a woman beautiful. Alice Peacock’s amazing song Hello Beautiful is definitely a start.

Also, this last lesson on Ms. Russell’s list struck a chord with us:

10. I am trying my best.  I know I’m not good enough and not the mother you deserve.  I am impatient and fallible and I raise my voice.  I am sorry.  I love you and your brother more than I love anyone else in the entire world and I always wish I could be better for you.  I’ll admit I don’t always love your behavior, and I’m quick to tell you that.  But every single day, I love you with every fiber of my being.  No matter what.

We hope that the author knows what a strong and beautiful person she herself is–and that of course she is a good enough mother to her two children. As all mothers know, the job Ms. Russell is undertaking is the most important and most difficult in the world. It is easy to let societal pressures wreak havoc on your self-esteem–the “beauty myth” we’ve been talking about here does not only pertain to physical beauty, but to perfection in general.

As long as you are trying your best, you are doing a wonderful job. And you are beautiful–not just skin deep, but self deep.

Click here to read the entire article on the Huffington Post, and click here to download “Hello Beautiful” by Alice Peacock. And while you’re at it, please share your thoughts–on the “Hello Beautiful” song, on Lindsey Mead Russell’s article, on beauty, on what you’re doing in your own life to help debunk society’s beauty myth–with us below in the comments. We love to hear from our readers!

 

By Liana Orenstein