Open Letter to My Parents

Dear parent,

Insecurities are brutal, it's impossible not to have them in this modern society where body image seems to be everything.  These insecurities make me feel like my worst enemy and my worst critic all in one.  I try to abolish these thoughts and there are times that I’m successful. There are times where I'm happy with the person I am externally and internally. However, you as a parent tarnish that happiness more that I ever could.

You feel that it's appropriate to tell me whether I gained or lost weight in such a cold manner. You think that your parental authority allows you to make these comments because you love me or you want the best for me.  However, you should be aware that these comments hurt and tarnish my self esteem little by little.

According to Better health “ Poor body image can have a range of negative effects, including disordered eating, compulsive exercise, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem”. Therefore, it is crucial for a parent to be a positive role model for body image. The article suggests that parents should not place a lot of emphasis on body image because it could foster self hate and lead to low self esteem. The article also states that parents “should not tease about their kids  weight, body shape or looks. Even seemingly friendly nicknames can be hurtful if they focus on some aspect of the child’s appearance.” There are other ways you can help me maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as “emphasizing  fitness, health, social interaction and enjoyment as the motivations for exercise, rather than weight loss or weight management”. I understand your intentions, I know you love me but I encourage you to help me love myself. Saying things like “I think you're gaining a lot of weight” or make a face of judgement when I come back for seconds, is only depriving me from reaching confidence.

Growing up is difficult and at the tender age of 19 I’m trying to find myself and feel comfortable with the body that I came in. As I navigate this hectic world, I need you to help me steer and don't let me sink in the negativity of self image. Help me defeat those raging insecurities don't make them stronger. I ask that you become my allie in this journey of self discovery not my enemy.

Sincerely,

Your daughter.