Lessons from Love YoSelf 2.0
On Wednesday we ran Love YoSelf 2.0 with a group of women eager to learn more about their own relationships with their bodies, connect with others who have had similar experiences, and gain a better understanding of how to respect themselves and the people around them. A small group setting & intimate space created the opportunity for attendees to be open and honest with one another. Here are a few of the key things we discussed, and my biggest takeaways from the night.
What is your current relationship with your body?
I like to think that as children we are innocent until told otherwise. The same thing goes for our bodies. We tend to not have a positive or negative relationship with our body until we experience a comment or remark from someone else. From there on out you have a relationship with your body - sometimes positive, sometimes negative - that will exist the rest of your life. Most often you can remember what that moment was and it sticks with you forever. Bet that person doesn’t even realize the effect they have had on you!
My current relationship is an interesting one. I am considered ‘fit’ compared to the average person but it doesn’t mean the way I feel about my body is always positive. Throughout the last almost two years my body has changed. The way I look has changed, the way I feel is different every day, and what my body is capable of doing isn’t nearly where I used to be. I am still proud of my progress but don't be fooled into thinking that I don’t have days where I don’t feel my best.
What affects your body image?
We identified factors that affect body image: movement, nutrition, relationships, friendships, family, professional environment, self care, and most importantly in 2018, social media. Each factor can positively and/or negatively influence how you feel about your body. The biggest takeaway I noticed from brainstorming on Wednesday with the attendees is that although these are separate categories, they all overlap. We eat certain things because of what we see on social media, we exercise more after a family member comments about our weight, we dress a certain way because of how we feel in our workplace - not one thing is independent of the other.
My biggest takeaways
I always love to take time to reflect post workshop because even as the facilitator I can always come out having learned something new.
Everyone has a relationship with their body. Regardless of size, shape, experience, age, or fitness level, everyone has a relationship with their own body. Just because someone is smaller than you doesn’t make their insecurity less important. Just because you feel that someone has it worse off than you doesn’t mean your experience doesn’t matter too. The best thing to do is to support someone where they are at rather than belittle their feelings to imply the importance of yours.
We don’t forget the words spoken to us. Every person who attended the workshop could recall a time in their past that someone commented on their body. The biggest takeaway with this is to remember that words can hurt and aren’t forgotten. It can change a person’s life forever.
My body, my business. Their body, their business. To add to the point above, refrain from commenting on other people. You never know what someone else might be going through so it is best to not say anything at all. What you think might be a compliment might in fact make someone feel more insecure.
Body image is something that is a life long experience. Our bodies change throughout our lifespan and our feelings adjust accordingly. I am not naive to think that this one small workshop is going to solve all the world’s problems but I do hope that it brings this discussion to the front of our minds. Our relationship with ourselves is the most important one and the relationship that has to be nurtured always.
Yours in self-discovery,