Challenge: An Exercise in Self-Acceptance

Shae has been saying things lately that upset me: "I wish I had long blonde hair like Rapunzel." "I wish I were beautiful like Belle." "I wish I could sing like Ariel." "My feet are too big." "I don't want to get old and mean and ugly." "I wish I were perfect like ..."

She has no idea how perfect she already is.

As a feminist, but mostly as a human being who has a working brain, I have an intense dislike for princess culture. We watch Disney movies in our house, because I love the music and the art, but I do worry about the examples that your typical princess movies are setting for my daughter. I don't like the way that physical beauty and passivity are prized characteristics in those women. I understand that they are products of another time, but I don't understand why Snow White and Cinderella are such paragons of feminine virtue.

The world needs more princesses like Leia, is what I am saying.

So to set a good example for her, to encourage her to love all the things about herself that I so admire -- her spunk, her smarts, her take-no-nonsense attitude. And to be a good role model, I need to take ownership of my attitude about myself. Be the change I want to see, and all that. I am following the lead of my online friend and back-haver-in-a-parking-lot-slap-fight, Chibi Jeebs, and accepting this challenge.

Part One: "Think about how your best friend would compliment your best features. I want you to think of five great things about your body. FIVE. And no Christmas-tree ornaments/negative riders on this. Five 100% HONEST, POSITIVE things you love about yourself."

1. I have big, bright, clear, pretty blue eyes that look good in glasses.
2. My hair is healthy and shiny, and I love the color (people pay good money for this color).
3. I love the way I tan gradually, the freckles slowly expanding into one another, like a chocolate chip cookie.
4. My bosoms: They're real, and they're spectacular.
5. I love my laugh lines, because I have earned every one of them.

Part One-A: Extra credit. Five non-physical traits that I love about myself.

1. I am one of the smartest people I know.
2. I am a good singer, and even if I am not, I still love singing and do it every chance I get.
3. I am funny -- I make others laugh, but I crack myself up regularly.
4. I will fight to the death anyone who gets in the way of my family/friends and their happiness.
5. I take commitments seriously, and nobody can make me feel worse about breaking a promise than I make myself feel.

Part Two: "I want you to pick 5 NON PHYSICAL things you can change about yourself (like, read 1 more chapter of a book per day, or take an extra 10 minutes in the shower) to feel better about yourself."

1. Get pedicures regularly. My daughter doesn't want to have "old feet" -- i.e., cracked dry heels and trashy polish -- and neither do I. I resolve to start budgeting $10 from every paycheck so I can get a spa pedicure once every 2 months.
2. Drink more water. I've been trying to drink lots of water, but I don't really like it when it's "plain," so I don't drink as much as I should. I'm going to try to remember to buy limes or lemons or oranges -- maybe even cucumbers -- to cut up and put in my water. I might even buy myself a pretty, fancy glass.
3. Go to bed earlier. I don't need enough sleep, and I am grumpy and irritable and I don't like it. I need to set a firm bedtime and stick to it. Period.
4. Relax. Take a few minutes a few times a day -- a few minutes every hour, if I need to -- to take deep breaths, stretch, stop thinking about whatever and unwind. I am very tightly coiled, generally speaking, and I need to stop that.
5. Make a to-do list, and stick to it. Determine what I need to do, adjust as necessary, and weed out the stuff that can be delegated or rescheduled. (Focusing my energy and efforts better will also help me relax.)

So, who else is in?

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