Category Archives: self-esteem

seriously, think about it…

I have so much to say about this, what i consider, brilliant illustration of the insane lengths both men and women go to in order to manipulate their bodies into some crafted unrealistic ideal of perfection.
Bravo, Leanie van der Vyver!

What do you think? I really want to know… (comment below)


wabi-sabi

“Wabi Sabi is a way of life that appreciates and accepts complexity while at the same time values simplicity. It nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. To accept these realities is to accept contentment as the maturation of happiness, and to acknowledge that clarity and grace can be found in genuine unvarnished existence.” ~ Richard R. Powell, Author-Wabi Sabi Simple

Let’s break it down.
Wabi is the quality of simplicity and naturalism.
Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age. As things become more used and weathered, they become more beautiful.
Wabi-sabi celebrates transience and imperfection.

Wabi-sabi does not resist the simple realities that, “nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect.” This aesthetic does not strive for perfection or endlessly attempt to change or manipulate these ideas. So if we adopt these ancient Japanese principles, we must shift our perspectives.

Anxieties about not knowing if something will last forever may subside with the acknowledgment that nothing is permanent.
Energy spent on trying to control and prevent change and growth will be reserved by embracing the reality that nothing is finished.
Desperation to claim perfection may fall away by seeing perfection in imperfection.

Life is filled with the unexpected – both exciting and challenging. We cannot avoid this but what we can do is have some control over how we experience things and how we move through the world. I offer you the challenge of integrating wabi-sabi into your life and into your view of the world. Notice what shifts for you internally and externally.

Now go, show off the patina on your collar and celebrate your imperfections! You are stunning!


go ahead, break some rules!

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Rules and structure are great things. They can help keep anyone balanced and organized and sometimes, they just keep us sane! However, it is when those rules and structure turn into rigidity that things get sticky. Rigidity spirals into all-or-nothing thinking that can keep you locked into an inflexible state or way of being.

“I must…” “I can’t…” “Always…” “Never…”

When things threaten this black/white thinking, it is a slippery slope that moves quickly into anxiety or panic. Suddenly you realize that the structure you’ve employed to keep you feeling balanced, organized and in control has become out of control and problematic.

Consider the thoughts and belief systems that go with these rules. Likely, they are great examples of extreme unrealistic thinking (e.g.: if i eat/do this today then my entire body/day will be ruined).

Begin to notice where this exists in your thinking and in your life. What are the roots of these thoughts and ideas? Why did you create them in the first place? What would it be like to change your thinking? What would the risk be? What are you afraid will happen? What would the reward be? What will you gain by becoming more flexible? Start challenging these faulty cognitions with the objective reality and notice the disparity. Then, take a leap of faith, pick one thing to challenge and buck your system!

You made these rules. It is time to start breaking them!


it’s okay to wobble, just don’t fall down

Flashback to the 1970’s. Magic 8 Ball, Pet Rock, Silly String, Lite-Brite, Etch-A-Sketch, Mastermind and of course, Weebles. “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.” You may even remember the commercial! They’re still around, 40+ years and counting!

Weebles are egg-shaped and bottom weighted so no matter what goes on around them, whether they are pushed, tilted or spun, gravity always pulls them back to an upright position. They are balanced and they can survive any wipeout!

Oftentimes people become emotionally wiped out when people, events or experiences feel disappointing or dissatisfying. When this happens, the fact that things didn’t go well gets turned inward and is used negatively against the self and in a flash, that person begins to feel not good enough or not enough, in general. A downward spiral ensues and so does the subsequent emotional wipeout.

So, like the weebles, we need to have a solid base that will always pull us back to an upright, solid position. I will call this base a secure sense of self. Part of this is the ability to recognize that not everything has to do with us. Sometimes things just don’t go well, sometimes others seem distant because they have things going on in their own lives, etc. And when things do have to do with us, it doesn’t have to demolish our self-esteem and turn everything else in our lives into mush. It is idealistic to suggest that external factors do not or should not impact even the securest sense of self but the question is how much. The key is to wobble but not to fall down (or be wiped out).

Those who know me have heard me talk, ad nauseam, about the importance of a secure sense of self and knowing your own truth no matter what. Who knew that I was talking about striving to be a Weeble?! Today I want to pass this along to you. Begin to think about it, talk about it and consider what it is you know to be true about yourself no matter what? When you think about what you know to be true, where do you feel it in your body? How do you feel when you hold onto these truths? More grounded? More solid? Do you sit straighter? Does your voice become more confident? Take some time, perhaps right now, to connect with your self and your body and see what happens when you explore this essential question for yourself.


diet du jour

I heard about this diet a couple of weeks ago and was hoping it would be a blip in the diet world. It hasn’t gone away and I feel angry.

The “K-E Diet” is one that uses a feeding tube through which 800 calories/day of protein, fat and water is ingested for a total of 10 days.

The K-E Diet offers promises of losing 20 pounds in 10 days. But what they don’t tell you is that this invasive procedure that runs a tube through the nose and down into the stomach can cause loss of muscle, kidney stones, dehydration, constipation, dizziness, headaches, etc. And what happens after the 10 days? Like any diet, I’d imagine that the weight would be gained back, plus some.

This diet du jour can be added to the litany of extreme diets that float around and reinforce body-hatred, self-dissatisfaction and the impossible quest to feel acceptable based upon the size and shape of your body. Thinness at any cost is an ideal that our society has embraced to the detriment of ourselves and our children. This diet is a literal representation of how we are willing to do anything at any cost (financially, physically and emotionally), in the name of thinness and “perfecting” ourselves.

Many desperately grasp at every quick-fix on the market in order to feel better about who they are as a person. But what about promoting an attitude of internal goodness? The sense of being good enough as you are? A culture of body acceptance and self-acceptance?

I encourage us all to rub our eyes and to see, with clarity, what all of these diet deals and steals are and how they slowly destroy our internal sense of self and of being “good enough.” Be outraged and choose to be one more person who isn’t fooled by this diet mentality and challenge yourself to feel, act and believe that you are good enough exactly as you are!


in honor of fashion week

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In just a few hours, the ribbon will be cut to kick off New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and I can think of no better time to pay homage to the models who make these events possible. For upwards of the past decade I have listened to first-hand accounts of the fashion industry and the experiences of models, at large. The dehumanization and objectification of men and women and the expectation of compliance only chip away at self-esteem and wield extraordinary power to perpetuate personal problems and societal issues, such as eating disorders.

Over the past couple of years, it seems that the industry is gaining momentum towards empowerment.

Two years ago, Coco Rocha penned her concerns about the prevalence of eating disorders within the fashion industry in an impassioned open letter to the New York Times. She is one of the few models who have been outspoken about the ubiquitous issue of eating disorders within the industry.

Last year, Sara Ziff founded The Model Alliance, a not-for-profit organization working to establish fair labor standards for models in the U.S. Specifically, the initiative addresses healthcare, compensation, sexual harassment, working conditions and education, along with encouraging a “safe and healthy work environment that protects models’ mental and physical well being.” The Model Alliance is becoming a place where models can find support, voice their concerns and build a community.

Please visit their website, spread the word, share this post, do whatever you can to keep the conversation going, to support The Model Alliance and all of the men and women it protects! Thank you!


“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

I just saw the film The Help and the line “You is kind. You is smart. You is important” resonated deeply. If you haven’t seen it or read the book, you should. If you have already, I wonder if you were moved as deeply as I was. Here’s the scene: Aibileen Clark is the hired help for a white Mississippi family in the 1960s. After watching the child she’s been caring for (Mae) being consistently mistreated by her mother, Aibileen begins a ritual with Mae. Each morning when Mae awakens, Aibileen sits with her on her lap, tenderly peers into her eyes and says both with and to Mae, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” It is clear, by the film’s end, that May internalized this message and was able to hold onto the strength left behind by Aibileen. She knew that someone believed in her.

Watching this scene play itself out several times during the length of the film brought a warmth to my heart and tears to my eyes. I thought about how much each and every one of us, children and adults, would benefit from hearing this daily and from solidly believing this about ourselves. Words matter. Moments matter.

How many focused moments to you spend with your self, your children, your loved ones, sharing your appreciation of and adoration for them. Don’t take this for granted. Your words and those moments matter!


personal resolve

Year-end is a marker of time and offers a natural moment to both reflect and look forward. During this time of year, it seems most people are talking about resolutions. What kinds of decisions, changes, etc. they will be making in their life beginning January first. While these tend to be done with good intention, the truth is that most of these new year’s resolutions are quickly forgotten or broken, leaving behind a feeling of failure. While many remain entrenched in the new year’s resolution cycle, some sway in the complete opposite direction by making no resolutions. And of course, let us recognize that there are those for whom these resolutions stick.

No matter what your experience, I invite you to make this year different by replacing your resolutions with personal resolve.

What is personal resolve? A lifelong commitment to yourself. Knowing your own personal truth no matter what. It parallels the age old existential questions, “who am I?” and “what defines me?” When we know our own truth we become grounded in ourselves. Thus, less likely to become emotionally wiped out by other people or events. When we know our own truth, we make better choices and decisions, as they match our internal value system, ultimately creating more satisfaction in our lives.

This year I challenge you to get to know yourself better and to understand what makes you tick. I encourage you to cultivate your own personal resolve. Begin by noticing your actions and reactions. What gets you excited? Angry? Sad? Passionate? What are your intentions?

Take a moment and consider your own personal resolve. What do you know to be true about yourself no matter what?


hello! i am enough.

I stepped into my friend’s car and this name tag was on his dashboard. “Wow,” I said. My next thought was that we should all keep these types of notes stored internally so that we can be grounded in “I am enough,” “I am just right,” etc. v the tyranny of the negative internal self that is ever-so-present in those struggling with eating disorders (and too many others).

What are your internal notes? Which do you want to keep? Which no longer serve you? Which are destructive? Today, make a conscious note. What is your note?


next top model contestant’s body likened to “overstuffed luggage”

Australia’s Next Top Model (ANTM) contestant, Alissandra Moone, is underweight, according to the Australian body mass index. Two weeks ago, the 18-year-old was criticized by ANTM judge, Alex Perry, when he likened Moone’s body to “overstuffed luggage.”

Moone feels, “it’s a very bad message to be sending to young girls who watch the show.” She explains,”I know this has happened to other girls in the past but I was shocked when (Perry) said I was too fat.” Moone warns, “I’m only a size eight. There’s going to be a lot of young girls watching this who are bigger than me, and how’s this going to make them feel?”

A spokeswoman for the ButterFly Foundation, which is aimed at educating and supporting people with eating disorders, said: “The (fashion) industry has a responsibility for portraying women of all healthy sizes and in playing a strong educated role in the contribution they make to the serious issue of negative body image. We encourage Top Model to be conscious of the example they set to their impressionable viewers.”

Alex Perry stands by his comments and has refused to apologize. He answered his critics citing “incorrect reporting.” Perry claims to have not commented on Moone’s body shape or body image. Instead, he says that, “[he] was talking about her modelling skills.”

Incidentally, this is just one of countless times that models of various shapes and sizes get feedback such as this. Simultaneously, there have been efforts to govern the participation of models in fashion weeks worldwide.

In 2007, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) set forth industry guidelines in response to the death of Eliana Ramos, a Uruguayan model who died of malnutrition in 2007.

Diane von Furstenberg, president of the CFDA, explained that the CFDA has no intention of policing or regulating a model’s weight or her body-mass index.

von Furstenberg went on to explain that, “We create inspirational images and it’s important that we don’t encourage unhealthy behavior. We can promote health and encourage it, empower women and give them role models not by how much you weigh but by de-glamorizing models. Few women can become models and it lasts for a short time. Yes there is a problem and because we are in the business of fashion and image we can help.“ Ultimately, von Furstenberg explained that the responsibility lies with the agencies, not the designers.

Does calling someone “fat” or “overstuffed luggage” promote and encourage health? Or does it crush self-esteem and create a war between self and body? What a dilemma this presents to models, girls and women! Don’t accept your natural body, don’t become emaciated and your natural body is one that needs to be fought. What do you think about all of this?