What we can learn from kids about body image

When I was going through my “awkward phase” (which I’m pretty sure is still happening, by the way), I would stand in front of the mirror for hours at a time. I would look at myself so closely that I could see every pore, every hair, every bump. And I would become so discouraged. There was so much to fix! How was I ever going to find the time to correct and alter everything? Why had the universe dealt me such a fixer-upper? Was I ever going to look at a picture of myself and not loathe what I saw?

My mom, wise woman that she is, would repeat over and over again that I needed to stop looking at myself under a microscope, because it was unfair to judge myself so harshly. I don’t think I ever truly took her words to heart. Which sucks, because really — what’s more attractive than being totally comfortable in your own skin?

In a new video from The Jubilee Project, both adults and kids were asked a simple question: If you could change one thing about your body, what would you change? The answers from from the adults varied from foreheads, to ears, to eyes, to skin tone. All of the adults wanted to take a feature they already had and somehow adjust it, or make it “better.”

The kids, of course, saw the question as one of creativity rather than insecurity. The kid answers ranged from mermaid tails, to shark mouths, to, simply, “nothing.” None of them seemed ill-at-ease with their bodies, or ashamed of a particular physical feature. They didn’t have that need to scrutinize and compare themselves to every other person on the planet or mold themselves into unrealistic standards of beauty. They’re driven by imagination and expanding the notion of what’s acceptable. They don’t put limits on themselves like adults do. Hopefully, for these kids, that mode of thinking won’t change.

In the meantime, they could teach us a thing or two about how to think more positively about ourselves. The next time you consider how you’d change your body, at least imagine yourself with a mermaid tail. Because, sure that would be cool, but really you’re good just the way you are. Just ask kids.

Check out the video here: