One Body Love Tip for Parents

Posted On: November 24, 2019

Today, somebody complimented me on my eyes. It reminded me of my mom who repeatedly told me that I have almond-shaped eyes, and a melon-shaped face whenever I asked her anything about my looks. It wasn’t never expressed as a compliment, but as a fact.

Younger me: “Mom, be honest with me… am I beautiful?”

Mom: “You have almond eyes… and a melon face.”

This same conversation would reoccur even when I asked her similar questions:

Younger me: “Who is more pretty: me or sister?”

Mom: “You have almond eyes… and melon face.”

Another time:

Younger me: “Which part of me do you like the most?”

Mom: “You have almond eyes… and melon face.”

Years later, I finally understand what she was expressing when she said what she said. It’s less what she said (never dismissive by the way) but the way she said it. She said it as somebody who was in love (with her child). Because she loved me and these features of mine (almond eyes and melon face), I, too, came to love myself in this same way.

Because she always said the same thing to me, and I tried to see myself through her lenses. I am Chinese. I have small eyes. But to my mom, these are almond-shaped eyes, and to me, it means I am unique from others. I came to see my almond eyes and melon face as my unique/ special features/ assets (something to be proud of).

Hence when somebody complimented me on my eyes today – the compliment WENT IN. I was able to accept/ receive the compliment (my eyes are beautiful) not reject it.

There were times through my puberty and beyond when I might not have liked my complexion, and body (and been bullied for it), but never my eyes or face shape (as these were the same parts of my mom loved about me physically).

I have to admit I have wished I had a round face, and big round eyes, because these are often the hallmark of beauty by Chinese standards. But as I write this… I don’t think I truly want what I say I wish I wanted… I like my almond eyes and melon face too much now. I like me the way I am.

I think parents should compliment their children and often – obviously not just physically. These messages of uniqueness and affirmations get absorbed as we try to make sense of ourselves, and the world. These words take root and grow… and become a foundation from which children begin to love their own bodies.

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice for more than 10 years, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore. She is also a Red Tent Women’s Circles Facilitator from Star of Ishtar.

Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic YogaFrom Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

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