Like many girls her age, Riley wishes she had long, beautifully-blonde Barbie doll locks to twirl through her fingers and toss up into prom do’s, messy buns and funky braids.
But unfortunately, the left side of this picture represents her dream, while the right side paints her reality.
Growing up with alopecia, she always felt different.
While we would all love our children to have a self-esteem made of steel, the cookie-cutter beauty standards projected in our society don’t make that an easy task.
Kids are cruel. And beyond that, everything from the branding of our children’s dolls to beauty magazines tell us that unless you’re a size 2 with perfect beach-wave hair, you’re unworthy of love.
In spite of her parents’ best efforts to love her unconditionally, poor Riley couldn’t help but let that bold-face lie seep into her little head.
One day, her mom, Chelsea, was playfully telling her daughter everyone she loved, saying “I love Riley, I love Gavin, I love Grayson, etc…”
But Riley’s unexpected response took her aback.
“Do you love yourself?” she asked.
“Of course I do, you always have to love yourself! Do you love yourself?'” replied Chelsea.
“Riley responded very softly, ‘No.’“
“I was a bit taken aback and said, ‘What do you mean you don’t love yourself?’ said Chelsea. “To which she uttered my worst fear, ‘I don’t love myself because I don’t have hair.'”
That painful answer crushed this mama’s heart into a MILLION pieces.
But later that night, when Riley’s daddy caught wind of the conversation, he decided he would NOT have his little girl thinking she was any less than the princess she is.
After the world’s sweetest pep-talk, assuring Riley that he and mommy loved her to the moon and back—with OR without hair—he took her to the bathroom sink to show just how little that mop on top really matters.
Chelsea captured the whole encounter on video, and its powerful message has now become a viral sensation and a rally cry for anyone having trouble loving that reflection in the mirror.
Watch this amazing moment unfold in the video below, and be sure to SHARE it with somebody in your life who needs a reminder to love themselves a little better today.