self love

How to Counteract Body Shame

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Growing up, my body was always up for discussion — how much I weighed, whether or not I shaved my body hair, whether or not I had blemishes, how I dressed my body, how ‘athletic’ I was, how I moved & carried myself... I learned, implicitly & explicitly, that it’s important to have a ‘good’ body, and that my worth depends on appearing attractive to others.

But this ‘good’ body I was ‘supposed to’ have always seemed elusive — impossible to achieve and ever-changing. And, as a result, I was constantly looking to others for validation & fulfillment, and always felt not-quite-good-enough. I’ve spent years undoing this tangled web of body shame, and I’ll likely be picking away at it for years to come. Here’s what I’ve found that helps:

  • Radical Acceptance • I spent years thinking that, if my body were different, then I could be happy. But nothing has brought more-immediate & true happiness than accepting myself exactly as I am — giving myself permission to be however I am right now, without believing it negatively affects my value as a human being.

  • Kind Words • I used to say all sorts of disparaging things about my body. But part of radical acceptance is finding better ways to talk about bodies, so I’m constantly finding new ways of describing my body that express love & admiration. Rather than shaming myself for having ‘rolls’ or ‘flab’, I exalt my softness & my juiciness

  • Context • Being surrounded by people & media that express a narrow view of beauty or assess people’s worth based on appearances makes radical acceptance & kindness really difficult. We can remove this hurdle by surrounding ourselves with people who are open & accepting & loving & kind, and with media that represents all bodies as ‘good’ bodies

  • Self-Care • Loving my body is harder when my body feels like doodoo! So I try to take good care of myself with sleep, food & water, movement, breath, time outdoors, etc.

Perfectionism x Personal Growth

I’ve had to remind myself lately that it’s okay to ‘check out’ sometimes.

When I first started addressing my trauma, I realized that I dissociate A LOT — it’s one of my go-to coping mechanisms. So I crowned myself the kween of embodiment & self-healing and made dissociation my new enemy.

I didn’t think of it that way at the time... but sometimes a good idea takes a bad turn, ya know? In trying to help myself, I created a new ‘should’ — another rule about what’s [un]acceptable. And dissociating (which I do all the time) was now officially not-okay ❌

So when I get stressed and start to disengage, this little voice of self-judgement chimes in, saying “Don’t do that! Bad!” Which adds to my stress, which makes the urge to dissociate even stronger, which fuels my self-judgement...

I’m just gonna ruin the surprise and let you know, it’s not a very effective strategy. So now, when I hear the judgmental voice chiming in, I come through with the self-acceptance.

I let myself smoke weed & watch Netflix & feel like doodoo, until I’m fckn over it and ready to face my feelings & take care of myself. And when that time comes, I don’t think about how ‘bad’ I’ve been — I just do what my body is calling me to do, and then move on to the next thing.

Letting my intuition guide my progress, rather than trying to ‘discipline’ myself into being perfect, feels like a radical act of trust and self-love, and it’s really difficult sometimes. But we don’t grow by being perfect, we grow by making a mess & learning from it!

Self Love x Listening

We all have a deep need to feel heard and understood. But, often, when we have a feeling we don’t like, our impulse is to cover it up, distract ourselves from it, or try to rid ourselves of it (read: ‘cure’ or ‘fix’)

Imagine telling your partner or best friend that you‘re feeling bad, or that you need support. And they respond the same way — not listening, changing the subject, telling you “it’ll be fine”, or giving unsolicited advice to ‘fix’ your feelings.

I think most of us wouldn’t like that. And I don’t think our bodies like it when we do it to ourselves.

All the time, our body+mind ‘hides’ information from our consciousness that isn’t relevant. So, when we have a feeling, whether physical or emotional, our body is communicating something that it thinks is important.

Since I’ve practiced listening to my body’s messages, I’ve found that most uncomfortable feelings are resolved just from being felt & noticed. And for the rest, I get a better understanding of how to support my wellbeing — whether that’s to slow down & take a rest, or move my body, or write in my journal, or play outside... The medicine tends to reveal itself when I pause to listen to what my body+mind needs

Listening to our body’s cries and supporting it in the way it asks us to is a radical act of self-love.

Imposter Syndrome x Bravery

Have you heard the term ‘imposter syndrome’ floating around? It’s a name for that voice in your head that says, “Who do you think you are?” It’s that feeling of hot shame and the fear of being ‘called out’.

I think most of us have experienced Imposter Syndrome before. I, for one, had an encounter with it last weekend. I went to a conference where I was surrounded by successful, knowledgeable people who do similar work to mine. And, while a part of me was feeling so inspired and so happy to be learning with likeminded people, I couldn’t help but notice the little voice in my head telling me, “You’re so basic. You think you’re qualified to teach people? You don’t know anything that isn’t already known.”

Fortunately, the teachers at this conference were courageous & open-hearted, and they didn’t hesitate to admit that they were nervous, that they too felt like an imposter

I think, a lot of the time, imposter syndrome (although it feels terrible) can be a good sign... it means we’re doing something brave, we’re challenging ourselves. The shame & fear is just a byproduct — it’s our brain trying to protect us from uncertainty, failure, and rejection

So, next time your brain starts asking, “Who do you think you are?” I invite you to tell it that you’re human, perfectly imperfect, and that you’re learning & growing. Appreciate your strengths. Commend your bravery. Give yourself the acceptance & love that your brain is so afraid you won’t get

How to Connect with your True Desires

What do you really want?

There are so many messages floating around about what it means to be a good person, or to be ‘likeable’ or ‘respectable’. And we’re hardwired to care [a lot] about what people think about us; for us mammals, acceptance = survival.

But, in our concern for meeting the expectations of others, it’s easy to lose track of our own desires. We can get so caught up in ‘being a good ____’ or ‘doing ____ right’ that we don’t even know what we truly want anymore.

I’ve spent years repairing my relationship with my needs & desires. And here’s how I did it:

  • Free Yo’self • For me, being single was a huge catalyst for this healing. But, more importantly, I had to end or amend any relationship in which I didn’t feel completely free to be myself. Now, when I form new relationships, I prioritize intellectual & emotional freedom

  • Live Like Nobody Is Watching • When I started this journey, I realized that I had no idea how to spend my time when I wasn’t trying to please the people around me. So I had to ask myself often, “If you don’t consider anyone’s needs but your own, what would you want right now?”

  • Stop Judging • As I began to connect with my own needs & desires, I realized that I didn’t like some of them. Even after ending & amending my relationships, I hadn’t escaped those voices about being ‘good’ & ‘likeable’ & ‘respectable’ — they were in my head now. So I had to give myself permission to want whatever I want, to be however I am, and to accept myself no matter what

  • Give (& Ask) Thoughtfully • I no longer give when I don’t truly want to. And, when I do want to, I give freely. I’m not afraid to ask for what I want because I know that the other person is responsible for their own desires & behavior. And I’m not butthurt if they say “no” — in fact, I respect their ability to know their feelings and own them. Cementing these basic boundaries in my mind has made all my relationships better (especially my relationship with my Self)

How to Love Your Body (In A World That Tells Us Not To)

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Society has a weird vendetta against our bodies.

There’s the Medical Message, which we hear from a lot of doctors & media, telling us that we’re sick & broken, and that we need to be “fixed”. And with it comes Diet Culture — this idea that we need to be skinny and mold to a particular health ideal (and if we don’t, we obviously don’t care about ourselves).

Even more widespread are these Social Rules we have that prevent us from expressing ourselves fully — the messages that we need to be perceived as calm, cool, & collected (and definitely never be weird, awkward, or ‘too much’).

All of these cultural messages encourage us to dislike our bodies, or to be embarrassed or ashamed of them. So, if we want to dismantle the body shame we’ve absorbed from our culture, we have to learn how to have a better relationship with our bodies — to learn to enjoy & love our bodies! You can do this by:

  • Finding ways to enjoy all of your senses; expanding your capacity for pleasure

  • Moving your body; allowing it to express its entire range of possibilities

  • Making a daily practice of feeling & releasing your emotions; process them in-the-moment whenever possible

  • Allowing yourself to be curious & playful & silly; take time alone or with loved ones to be free from social expectations

  • Learning what you like & dislike, and honoring yourself with thoughtful boundaries

Self Love x Relationships

As Valentine’s Day approaches, expectations are mounting. There’s a lot of wishing & hoping (and sometimes even demanding) that our partner / date give us the right kind of love and attention — the right compliments & gifts & gestures.

I used to put a lot of V-Day pressure on myself, to be likeable or sexy enough to get the validation I felt I needed. Sometimes I got it, sometimes I didn’t. And when I didn’t, I was devastated because I thought it meant something about my worth.

By looking to my partner to satisfy my needs for fundamental love & worthiness, I was giving my power away and setting myself up for deep & devastating disappointment. But I learned how to take that power back when I started investing time & energy into giving myself the kind of love I needed.

Making this shift relieved a lot of pressure from the relationships I was in. And as I moved on to form new relationships, I was able to fearlessly communicate my needs & desires from a place of worthiness & love.

If you want to cultivate more self-love & self-worth, download our Free Self-Love Workbook 💕