A Facebook post about a mother’s struggle to set a positive example for her daughter has gone viral.
Shani Wilson, of Bowell, Okla. is a wife and mother of three children. Earlier this month, Wilson posted a photo of herself and her daughter standing in front of a mirror in their swimsuits.
Wilson included a caption to the photo that perfectly articulated the need for mothers to practice self-love in order to set a positive example for their children.
“I could make disappointed faces as I stare at my body in the mirror, but she’s watching,” she continues. “I could just forget the suit, put on a T-shirt and shorts to swim in, but she’s watching.”
Wilson’s post is a reminder that when it comes to raising confident children, parents need to be positive examples.
“I love who I am, I love my heart and I choose not to say bad things about my body, because… she’s watching!” she writes. “I’ve always taught her true beauty comes from within. So, go swimming mommas. Put on a suit and have fun with those babies. Show them how strong and confident WE can be, even if our bodies aren’t perfect!”
Wilson’s rallying cry to break the cycle of body-insecurity immediately went viral, and has been shared nearly 140,000 times on Facebook.
The stay-at-home mom has received thousands of comments, with many opening up about the struggles they face, too.
“I don’t have a daughter, but I have two sons and it’s just as important for them to hear their mom with positive body image talk!” one person replied. “Thanks for the reminder.”
“The day I found out I was having a little girl I promised that I would never let her see my body issues and would never let her grow up thinking that having the ‘perfect’ body should rule your life,” writes another. “My wish is that she grows up with 10 times the confidence I have and that no matter how she looks she can be the happiest and I know in order to do that I need to be her biggest influence!”
The response online has been been a complete surprise to Wilson, who recorded a message to everyone thanking them for their support and kind words.
“I feel overwhelmed,” Shani tells the camera. “My inbox is completely full of message requests and I’m trying to get back to everybody because I don’t want anyone to think I’m ignoring them.”
Wilson appears visibly moved, tearing up as she speaks of the reaction online.
“People are telling me that I’ve inspired them, and they’re inspiring me,” she says. “You don’t think that your words are ever going to touch people in that way – and then they write you and tell you that you did help them.”
Wilson says she has been receiving messages and photos from women who reveal they haven’t worn bathing suits in years because they’ve been too ashamed. People from all over the world are thanking the Oklahoman mother for giving them confidence, and reminding them that setting a positive example is essential to instilling self-confidence in children.
However, like anything on the internet, there have been people who have made cruel comments to Wilson, and have even written terrible things about her daughter.
“I’ve had some of the most horrible things said to me, but I don’t let those things bother me,” Wilson says. “The good that has come fro this far outweighs the bad that anybody has said to me… I can’t let people hurt me. They’re hurting or else they wouldn’t say stuff like that. All I can do is say a prayer for them, and move on.”
Wilson is an example of how sometimes, it’s the people that are just like us who can have the biggest impact on our mindset. Wilson wasn’t expecting her post to strike a chord with so many people, but for the thousands of people it has touched so far, it her words are exactly what they needed to hear.
“I just feel overwhelmed,” she says again before saying her goodbyes. “Thank you for your support and encouragement.”
It isn’t just children who can benefit from someone setting a positive example. Wilson is a reminder that we can all empower each other, and help one another grow.