Daphne Zuniga: A letter to my niece and all girls and young women

Daphne Zuniga

A guest blog entry by Daphne Zuniga, Activist & Actor, Melrose Place, One Tree Hill

 

Dearest_____,

I want you to know this very important thing and remember it always. Know that it is true, and that it's not only encouragement because I love you. 

You are amazing. A breathtaking beauty. I see your energy, your love and creativity. I listen to your ideas for the world, for your friends and for yourself, and I see how excited and fearless you are when you share them. You are sensitive, intuitive, and compassionate. So beautiful. You know things, important things that could benefit the world. 

The problem is, society is going to try to diminish you. It will tell you that your power is in being really skinny. This is a lie. It will tell you your power and lovability is in being sexy. This is also a lie. It will tell you that your body, not your heart or brain is all the use it has for you. That to be lovable your bones must stick out and your thighs must not touch. Lies. 

If you believe these lies you will spend precious time and energy trying to deliver. Don't waste your time and energy. It will never work. Even when people say, "Wow you look so good, did you lose weight?" it is only temporary, and inside you'll worry that you're not enough, normally, and you'll worry about gaining even an ounce. If you starve yourself, even though it feels like you're in control, you will lose your hair, your period, your energy, and your gorgeous vitality. You will be filled with fear 24/7. Find a trustworthy place to express your feelings instead. 

If you binge and purge you will become bloated, your breath will smell, you'll destroy your stomach and possibly grow hair on your face. You are not expressing feelings you have. Get the real feelings out, then you wont want to do it silently as harm to yourself. 

If you look at yourself in disgust, it is because you have been told lies. You are not alone, millions of women before you have stood at the mirror and cringed. But millions of women have chosen self love and esteem. As hard as it seems at first, it is possible. 

I wish with all my heart for you to commit to loving yourself. I was a young woman in Hollywood, and believe me, if I can love myself here, you can love yourself anywhere. 

Here are some things that worked for me:

1) Seek a counselor, teacher, friends, or group, in person or online where you'll be supported by sane, caring people who also are refusing society's lies and are reclaiming their power and true beauty.

2) Every time you see something showing women as too skinny or blatantly sexualized, take a deep breath and say to yourself "That's a lie. I choose me."

3) Read Geneen Roth Books like When Food is Love. www.geneenroth.com

4) Start meditating. Even 5 minutes a day spending time being aware of your breath will put you in touch with your feelings. http://www.sharonsalzberg.com

5) Start to become active in what you love DOING. People admire action, courage and real happiness far more than they admire a size 2.

6) Ask yourself if it is your body, mind or heart that is hungry. Your mind and heart need nourishment other than food.

7) Spend time with people who support you, not people who hurt you.

I love you. The world needs you.

Daphne

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