Tag Archives: self-esteem

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?


occupy your SELF

/self/
a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, esp. considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.

the union of elements (as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person

the total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual

Through the mere experience of life and living, it is a simple process to get far away from yourself. Disconnecting and paying more attention to that which lies externally than to what is within ourselves is all too commonplace an experience. Especially with the holidays in full swing, we tend to consider what will make others happy, different obligations that we have and the hustle bustle of the season.

When was the last time that you stopped to check in with yourself about what will make you happy, what you need and what your obligations are to yourself? When was the last full breath you took into your body to fully breathe into your whole self? What is your daily intention?

Take back that which is already yours. Occupy your SELF!


not so happily ever after

What little girl doesn’t like princesses? Most of them have been swallowed up by the whole phenomenon. While these princesses frequently have strengths, what is front of mind for most tots is that these princesses are beautiful, wear fancy dresses, jewels and shoes.

Sometimes these messages are covert. Typically, the “bad” characters in Disney films are overweight.

Sometimes these messages are overt. In Gnomio and Juliet, just before her first date, the frog says to Juliet,”You know he’s going to ditch you when he finds out how much you weigh.”

In the film Ice Princess, there were a few scenes about food. In one, the mother gave her daughter a hard time because she wanted a cheeseburger. In another, a skater wanted the server to measure out the cheese in her salad at the skating rink snack bar.

Our little boys are taught that good looks, money and charm are the things that matter.

Parents are in a very powerful position, believe it or not, even more powerful than the messages in these films. What we can do is watch these films WITH our children and talk about what was portrayed. We can offer a different message, dispel the warped belief systems illustrated and empower our children to view themselves, their friends and people at large, in a different way.

How are you handling this issue with your children? Is there anything you can you do differently to be more effective? What do you notice when you have these conversations with them?


sesame street empowering kids to change the world

Way to go, Sesame Street! Check out this female empowerment anthem. I love it! What do you think about it?


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?


nourish your soul

IMG_1317 - Version 2

Let’s begin with OM. According to Miriam-Webster, OM \ˈōm\ originates from 1788 Sanskrit. OM is a mantra consisting of the sound \ˈōm\ and used in contemplation of ultimate reality. In meditation, it is common to chant this mantra as a way to achieve a state of total awareness of your surroundings and your self, yet absent of any thought. Meditation cannot be done. Meditation happens. Our job is to create the space and consciousness in which it can happen.

Anywhere but here, the opposite of OM. We all have hectic moments, some of us have hectic lives. Perhaps there is a general sense of frenetic multi-tasking and doing everything, literally everything, moderately well instead of focusing on one thing and giving it the time and attention it deserves. Sometimes the “one thing” is another person. Sometimes the “one thing” is yourself. I constantly see people hurriedly walking the streets of New York City chatting on the phone and fiddling with their Blackberrys, trying to squeeze everything they can into every moment of every day. Accumulation of these moments (and days) leads, unavoidably, to emotional and physical depletion, a.k.a. “crashing.”

Finding your OM. If meditation is not for you, then what is for you? What is your own personal OM? What helps you cultivate presence? What about nourishing your soul? Restoring? What does that even mean? I’m talking about finding an internal calm and groundedness. Paying attention to yourself, your full self, without distraction. How frequently do you take a moment (or a few) to breathe fully and deeply, to observe your breath, to meditate, to turn your cell phone off, to allow yourself to just sit and be in the moment. Take the time to check in with yourself and ask “How am I feeling?” “What do I need right now?” Find your inner OM.

Why is this important? For starters, it can decrease hypertension, give your mind a break, sustain a sense of well-being, increase awareness of how you are doing, what you need and what you don’t! Ultimately, it can lead to feeling more grounded in yourself and more satisfied in life.

Create a daily practice of nourishment and restoration. Claim the space to do so and protect it as a way to honor yourself. As you do, begin to notice the subtle shifts in your relationships, your mood, your mind, your soul. What is your practice?


“Don’t give in to hate. That leads to the Dark Side.” – Obi Wan Kenobi

The New York Times blogger, Tara Parker-Pope, blogged on Monday about “When Fatty Feasts Are Driven by Automatic Pilot.” She writes of a study that suggests new opportunities to control obesity with drugs that target the body’s endocannabinoid system.

The last line of Tara’s blog post reads, “but just because your brain is being hijacked, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to protect yourself,” seems, at least to me, to suggest that part of being responsible is existing in an atmosphere of body hatred and engaging in unhealthy behaviors, in this case, taking diet pills. And while not everyone develops eating disorders, this value system plays a critical hand in pushing the envelope for those who are vulnerable.

As time and science advance, we continue to learn more, define more and ultimately in some ways manipulate more, particularly in the vein of food, weight and shape. Societally we are drawn to the next quick fix. But what about the underlying motivations for our behaviors?  When do we take the time to understand why we are doing the things we are doing and the emotional undercurrents that lie beneath? When will we begin to use valuable information about how our body runs well, optimally and healthily to honor it rather than use it to manipulate and strangulate our bodies and our selves? Perhaps at this juncture in time, this is more of a personal question within a culture of thinness.

I am not in any way suggesting that science halt any and all research related to body weight, shape and size. My point here is not to support or deny that, perhaps, in some cases the use of medication may be an important facet within a multi-faceted approach to dealing with obesity. My intention is to highlight how we, societally and privately, use this information. While we continue to push for society to strive towards health rather than thinness at any cost, you, we, all of us, have the opportunity to make empowered choices that match our own internal value system, which hopefully includes living a well-balanced life without excess or restriction.


awww, you’re so cute!

I let this article go without blogging about it but since then, I have gotten lots of emails about it (thank you to everyone who is thinking of me!). So, I figured what the heck! Before I get to the article, I want to give you some statistics for perspective:

  • 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets – Gustafson-Larson, A.M., & Terry, R.D. (1992). Weight-related behaviors and concerns of fourth-grade children. Journal of American Dietetic Association, 818-822.
  • 42% of 1st – 3rd grade girls want to be thinner
  • 51% of 9-10 year old girls feel better about themselves when they are dieting
  • 9% of 9 year olds have vomited to lose weight
  • 53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their body
  • 78% of 18 year old girls are unhappy with their body
  • The #1 wish of girls 11-17 years old is to lose weight – Maine, M. (2000) Body Wars: Making Peace with Women’s Bodies. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books.
  • 81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat – Dove Self Esteem Fund Initiative
AND WHEN THESE GIRLS GROW UP…
  • 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities, like giving an opinion and going to the doctor, because they feel badly about their looks – Dove Self Esteem Fund Initiative
AND THE BOYS…
  • 45% of boys are unhappy with their bodies
  • Nearly 1/3 of teenage boys engage in unhealthy and dangerous behaviors to control the weight and the size of their body, such as skipping meals, refusing to eat, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. – Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2005). I’m, Like, SO Fat! New York: Guilford.
Lisa Bloom wrote a thoughtful piece for the Huffington Post that addresses the ways in which we engage with and speak to little girls. She writes about the power of speaking to our girls in such a way that calls attention to their bodies, appearance, clothing, hair, etc., teaches them that their appearance is more important than anything else.

We need to recognize our children as unique individuals beyond their appearance. What precisely? Intelligence, interests, abilities, intentions, thoughtfulness, etc. I want to challenge you, and us all, to begin to shift the ways in which we address our children, both girls AND boys, and to show them that they are more than their appearance. OH! and don’t forget to actively listen to what they have to say! Let them feel heard and let them know that what they have to say and share really matters to you.


operation beautiful

http://mrg.bz/pjxaTc

I found this website, Operation Beautiful, last year and I LOVE it. Why? Because it’s all about treating yourself kindly, generously, compassionately and CONSCIOUSLY. In their words, it’s about “transforming the way you see yourself one post-it note at a time.” Their goal: to end negative self-talk, or fat-talk. I spend much of my time each week talking about and exploring exactly this. Let’s all get active and get involved in eliminating negative self-talk and becoming healthy role models for everyone whose lives we touch! What’s your note?