What if I tell my daughter she’s good enough, but don’t believe I am?

I just realised the other day that I hadn’t worn a bathing suit (sober!) in my adult life. When puberty hit I was a squad swimmer training at 5am in the UNSW pool in Sydney. Within 3 months, I’d quit swimming and never again felt comfortable in ‘togs’. I’d always have an excuse or a work-around – a pair of short made from a fabric that could get wet and dry fast, a rashie….and I never really considered this a problem. Then I had a daughter.

It suddenly occurred to me that my mother never wore a swimsuit. Now, my mother always told me I was just fine, beautiful even. But SHE never wore a swimsuit, or makeup, or dressed up…without making it painfully obvious, she was incredibly uncomfortable and dissatisfied with her appearance. I wondered if maybe kids pick up and learn how their parents feel about themselves, rather than hear the compliments. Is this what they mean by ‘kids do as we do, not as we say’?

Now, of course I OWN swimsuits. There’s the one I bought in 2002. That’s had it. The one I bought in 2009 – I wore that once in 2010 after a few beers. There’s the one I bought in 2014 that was a size too small at the time (okay, maybe a couple!) and I distinctly remember the shop assistant telling me “that won’t fit you” haha and of course the bright pink one I bought online that will never fit any human shaped being.

So, I did what anyone would do in 2021, I posted a picture of myself in a forum and hid under the bedding whilst I waited for the responses. Whilst I really wanted to do something different for my daughter, I needed to check…

To my actual surprise they were all positive! Seriously?!

In that moment, I realised it really didn’t matter anyway. Was I hiding all these years because I was afraid of what other people thought? No. I had been hiding all these years because of what I believed. And with that, another belief bit the dust. That I have to look perfect to ‘deserve’ an hour in a pool? Wow. Ridiculous. But beware: these ridiculous beliefs that rarely even rise into consciousness don’t just reside in me.

We would probably all be surprised if we knew how many decisions we make are based on unconscious beliefs. Expert marketers know this though. Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman says 95% of our purchasing decisions are made subconsciously. These beliefs and feelings that live in our unconscious minds often directly conflict with what we say and Zaltman has also studied this exact phenomenon, with relation to branding and marketing.

So next time we express an opinion or use politically correct language to another, but believe something completely different, perhaps unconsciously, within ourselves, it might be worth consciously wondering which message they will actually recieve? My experience tells me we recieve how others truly feel in their unconscious, not the words they say.

And hey! Anyone still not wearing a swimsuit, set yourself a deadline yeah? Life is short 😉 and the swimsuit in the pic is the one that would “never fit me” – hooray!

Published by Alexis Howell

I'm an MBA graduate and longtime small business owner who is transitioning into blogging and podcasting. Pray for me yeah? I'm based in Sydney, Australia. I'm into writing, boxing, plant based food, songwriting, talking, meditation and reviewing online purchases.

One thought on “What if I tell my daughter she’s good enough, but don’t believe I am?

  1. That swimsuit is gorgeous, you look beautiful and confident in it, and what a super role model you are for your daughter! Have fun in the pool 🙂 you have challenged me to break out my togs…or buy me some new pretty ones!


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