body image

LifeTip: How to Show Your Body Some Love

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a great start to 2018. With everyone creating resolutions or intentions, I hear people talking about losing weight or getting into shape, which I want to say if that's something that brings you joy, it's for a medical reason, or you just simply want to, all the love and support to you! I do want to throw this in there too for everyone-- wherever you are on your journey with your body, please try to practice loving your body for all that it is in this moment. Your body whatever the size, condition, shape, etc... it is yours* and it has been on a journey with you through good times and bad. It has experienced everything right alongside you; it's your constant in life. Whether you feel like it's failed you at times or caused you pain, loving your body can be a beautiful practice of unconditional love.

I want to provide a little yoga/meditative practice to help you love your body a little more: Sit, stand or lie down, close your eyes (if that's comfortable), and picture your body in this moment. Starting from the tips of your toes and moving to the top of your head, say to yourself, "Thank you/I love you, *insert body part you are picturing*" Be specific! "Thank you, left big toe" or "I love you, right thigh." Please try to do this with intention and without judgment. It may feel silly or weird at first, but please try it. If going body part by body part feels too difficult, you can state, "Thank you, body" or "I love my body" a few times until you feel ready to go body part by part. It may be the next day or many months down the line; there is no rush in this process. If working on loving the outside body feels difficult or uncomfortable, go ahead and shift your focus to the inside, such as to your muscles, bones, lungs, heart, brain, etc… they are all apart of your physical body and need some love and acknowledgment too! Practice this every day if you can and take notice of how you feel about yourself. 

Wherever you are with your relationship to your body, I support you. You are amazing! So much metta to you all!

*I want to speak to those individuals who may feel like they were born with a body that does not feel like their own. I honor and respect your journey. I acknowledge this exercise may or may not be helpful. Please follow the path that feels right for you. 

media & body image

The transition from teen to young adult is a journey of self-discovery and growth. This transformation can be inspiring but also confusing. Young girls often face an additional challenge: overcoming the media’s interpretation of what it means to be a woman. From television shows to movies to magazines, girls are constantly surrounded by the media’s portrayal of the ideal woman. Usually, the ideal woman is thin, young, and seemingly flawless. White women in particular are disproportionately represented in the media, creating a void of diversity that perpetuates inequality. A woman's value as an individual is portrayed as dependent on her physical appearance. As a result, it’s easy for girls to feel pressured into looking and behaving a specific way and going to extreme measures to achieve the “perfect look”.

Check out model and author Cameron Russell unpack some of these challenges:

It’s important to critique the media that surrounds us in order to identify the unrealistic expectations placed on girls. We wrote before about the wonderful organization Miss Representation and the amazing work they're doing to encourage, empower and educate the public on how to impact the media's portrayal of women and girls. In our therapy groups, body image is a regular topic of discussion, and having an ongoing conversation about the role of media in shaping our self-image is a critical step in creating a more positive sense of self, based on more than appearance and clothes. 

Here are some ways you can take action to create the change you wish to see.