bella asks some everyday dads to answer some tricky questions
What would you say to your daughter when she doesn't feel beautiful? When all she can see is how she doesn't look how she wants to - when she has pimples and she is too fat or flat chested - when she is just disappointed and frustrated that her body isn't measuring up to her expectations?
Sadly we live in a culture that judges the value of others by what can be seen with the naked eye - right height, right weight, right shape and skin colour, right school, job, home and car. I think this is soooo limiting when every person is unique - exceptional, distinctive and matchless!
Beauty comes out of knowing and understanding that you are the only YOU there is on this planet. You are more precious than diamonds and when you relax in who you are and truly accept the unique qualities of who you are, beauty radiates from within.
I see a beautiful girl who is kind and caring, one who sees others’ needs and is brave enough to respond, someone who is fun and encouraging and so much more than what her exterior tells her. In my eyes, that makes you the most beautiful girl in the world!
I think you’re most beautiful when you are being yourself, when I see the sparkle in your eyes and see you loving life - that’s more beautiful than any other feature you have!
I know it can be hard at this time of life, especially when people are insensitive and it seems there are always people around more beautiful than you.
Try to ignore the people who are rude and find friends that value who you are, not how popular you are.
Try to avoid focusing on what others have and what you don’t have ‘cos this will always leave you discontented! Many of the pictures in magazines (especially in advertising) aren’t realistic. You don’t have to compete – let that pressure slide off your shoulders. We're all a bit different and it's better that way.
So my beautiful daughter, you’ve looked in the mirror and are displeased with what you see... You’re having what I like to call, a Warthog Day.
You’ve got a 'funny little tuft' (bad hair), 'warts on your face' (pimples) and you're not looking proportioned the way you expected (curves and bumps - awkward!)
Well, sometimes there are things we can do to improve our outlook, like taking care of our bodies - eating well, sleeping soundly, working hard to accomplish goals and dreams, chillaxing.
But take the warthog - it’s a strange little critter - remarkably resilient, protective, adaptable, resourceful and caring (they even foster baby orphan warthogs). In the warthog I see something that is lasting, reliable and worthy.
Hair style, complexion, lumps and bumps come and go, always changing. However a good character is enduring and valuable, maturing into something - well, like the delightful warthog!
P.S - All you other daughters out there, each one of you is valuable and you all have gifts and strengths that make you significant!
Working as a photographer, I see how we are usually way too critical of ourselves while the people around us mostly only see our good points.
Focusing on your own strengths is important. It may be hard to find something about yourself that you like, but you can start small, your hands, your laugh, your eyelashes, your legs. And believe others when they identify your strengths!
You are not an accident, you are a wonder, a marvel!
Your worth does not come from what you look like, but by who you are inside. Anyone who judges and categorises you - based on your physical appearance - isn't a true friend, and you shouldn't judge yourself that way either.
You are so much more than your appearance! But it is good to be comfortable in your own skin. Your body is the only one you've got, look after it, don’t hate on it!