This little girl found my new lipstick in my bag. “Mama, can I use it?”
“Of course, Ay”
She took it out and carefully twisted as she had seen me do many times before. She puckered her lips and proceeded to apply the lipstick. And of course in true 3 year old fashion she painted it all around her mouth.
She had a sparkle in her eye when she was done. She felt so grown up. She was so excited that she got to use Mama’s makeup like a big girl. She ran to the mirror in the bedroom to look at herself. The light was off in the room and so she ran back to me and asked for my help to turn it on.
I went to the room with her, turned on the light and watched her as she looked in the mirror. As soon as she caught sight of herself, her eyes lit up with the childish delight of a 3 year old.
And she said, “I look good, Mama”
“Yes, darling. You do”
Such a powerful moment. I was in awe of her pure, innocent, unabashed appreciation of herself. I was grateful that she had retained such a strong sense of belief in herself. That in her 3.5 years of life she had been sheltered to a very great extent from negative comments (however well intentioned) about her physical appearance that would have undermined and in time destroyed this pure self love that children are born with.
It’s not vain. It’s not arrogant. It’s a simple, profound appreciation of herself. And more so, because according to conventional standards it’s less than ideal or perfect. Frankly, she had lipstick smeared messily around her mouth. And she didn’t see that because she is still sheltered from societal standards of what “looking good” means
Imagine what greatness we would be capable of if we carried this self confidence and self belief into adulthood? And yet we don’t. And it’s good to ponder on why and where we break the spirit of our children.