While trying on swimsuits in a Target fitting room, this mom learned the importance of body positivity and kindness in shaping the way our children see themselves, and we’re still a little choked up.
Brittney Johnson and her young daughter, Payton, had a busy day at the mall, filled with a trip to Starbucks, dinner, a ride on a carousel and some shopping. Conversations with the barista, compliments to the server and a generous act of token-sharing by the carousel were all part of little Payton’s day before she and her mom were ready to shop for some swimsuits.
After watching her mom try on suit after suit, Payton was ready to give this bikini thing a go. With a cheetah-print top catching her eye, she undid the clasps and put it on, admiring her reflection in the mirror.
“Wow, I just love cheetah print! I think I look beautiful.”
In a moving Facebook post, Johnson says these were the words that made her realize her daughter had been internalizing the messages she had been sending her.
“I tell her that she is beautiful every single day. She is kind walking through the mall because I tell her she is kind everywhere else. She is polite at the order counter because she hears me when I’m polite to strangers everywhere. She gives compliments to people she doesn’t know because she loves how it feels when she hears them.”
Johnson goes on to say that while looking at her own reflection in the mirror, she has the choice to either be critical of her body, or positive and self-affirming. “There is a split moment when I have the power to say ‘wow I have really gotten fat this year’ OR ‘wow I love this coral colour on me!” she writes. “And those words are the words burned into my daughter’s brain.”
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The mother’s message is simple: “When it comes to manners, be an example. When it comes to kindness, be an example. And when it comes to body image, be an example.”
She adds, “As my daughter gets older, and she faces judgement and criticism, I will always remind her that the girls who look the prettiest in a two piece, or a body suit, or a freaking Snuggie, are the ones who are happy. Because that’s ALL that matters.”
“I want her to look at herself every single day and say ‘Oh wow! I think I look beautiful!’ because EVERY girl deserves to feel that,” concludes Johnson.
We couldn’t agree more.