There Are Just Some Things We Cannot Change

Purposeful Parent Tip:  Accepting ourselves as we are shows our children to do the same.

I am five feet three inches tall.  My eyes are blue. I have small feet.  I share these physical characteristics for no other reason than to identify the things about me that I cannot change. Despite my pleadings to be taller to God, Santa, and anyone who would listen, it was not meant to be. I’ve been this height for most of my life and I suspect I will
remain this height for the remainder of my life.

Why did I wish to be taller? Why did I not see that great things come in small packages? It wasn’t as if my siblings were all tall and I was the odd one out. I don’t know when I began believing that being a tall girl was far better than being height-challenged. Perhaps it was when my mom and I would go shopping (before there was such a thing as “petite sizes”) and nearly every pair of pants she purchased had to be hemmed. Or perhaps it was the shocking revelation in eighth grade, when my classmates and I would be lined up in size order and I suddenly went from the back of the line to the front with my fellow “shorties”.

No matter how it all started, it has taken most of my life to learn to be ok with being short. It’s something I cannot change. Oh sure, I can get a temporary boost with my favorite pair of heels, but as I get older, the heel height I’m able to tolerate is getting lower. Alas, another opportunity to accept myself just as I am.

Not long ago, my daughter was bemoaning her “big thighs”. What?? She is ten years old and already finding fault with her body shape. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream.  I wanted to write a letter to every single magazine and TV show that makes girls (and
women) feel “less than” if they are not a size zero.

I explained to her that she is perfect just the way she is. She is healthy and should be grateful she has two legs that allow her to walk, run, play basketball, and all the other activities she likely takes for granted.  Did that change her mind? Not likely. For she’s no different than I was at her age many years ago wanting to change things about my physical appearance. (She has a lot more going for her. I was the victim of glasses AND braces at the start of puberty. Ugh.)

This conversation got me to thinking about accepting things that cannot be changed and how difficult this lesson can be to embrace and live out every day. There is much in our power to alter about ourselves, like poor eating habits or certain behaviors, for example. But there is much we cannot change and what are we to do about that? We can spend our days trying to change them or we can simply say, “It is what it is.”

It’s likely my daughter’s body shape will change slightly over the coming years as she continues to grow. Is she destined for greater heights than her mother? I hope so. But if not, then I will try to tell her about the many advantages of being short. That unlike my childhood shopping experience, there’s a whole industry dedicated to petite clothing. And, if you’re really struggling to accept it, a great pair of heels will pick you up any day!

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