I'm taking responsibility!
I've contributed to this problem and so have you.
Maybe you've tried to do something about it, but I know I haven't done enough.
In June of this month I went back to Georgia for a good friend's wedding. (If you're curious why I said back to Georgia, I did a fellowship with the CDC for 6-months in Atlanta).
Okay, so back to what's important. . . Beginning of June I visited Georgia for the first time in a few years and I fell in love again.
A nostalgic feeling of peace came over me while I was there. I was happy, excited, and calm. I love the warm summer.
But I noticed something was different about Georgia than California.
The difference was striking. It wasn't difficult to miss at all. I was in shock. The women I was with, they talked about themselves with respect.
They shared how beautiful they felt, how beautiful their friends were. And I mean physically beautiful. They were taking selfies, not from a place of insecurity, but from a place of confidence and a love for their body. Even saying "yeah, I look good". Embracing themselves, appreciating themselves, not in any way, shape or form being conceded.
Now I return to Southern California and the conversations go something like this. . . Ugh, I need to go to the gym, ugh, I really need to eat better, I've gained like 5 lbs., I feel sick, I'm bloated, I look pregnant, I am so out of shape, what is wrong with me.
I am totally guilty of contributing to this conversation and I'm a lot more cognizant now then I ever have been.
I have found myself falling into picking myself a part, constantly talking about what I should be doing for my health and well-being, and allowing my friends to talk about themselves that way too.
Why is this important?? Because keeping this conversation around makes it harder to love ourselves, it makes it harder to be happy, it brings us all down. It doesn't help us fix anything, it doesn't empower us to take action. All it does is make us feel bad.
It sends us into a downward spiral of self-doubt, negative self-talk, and insecurities in all areas of life.
Now we aren't totally to blame, our culture doesn't help. Social media, gossip columns, and celebrity news only further push us into this conversation. And who wouldn't have this question constantly popping in their head:
If that celebrity is getting judged and chastised for her body, what do people say about mine??
It's time to stop allowing the culture and media to continue this conversation. Annie Lawless, founder of Suja Juice echos my sentiment in a recent post, here.
So I'm on a new mission, to change the culture, to change the conversation, to defuse stereotypes, to help women love their bodies and get rid of that nasty inner voice that brings them down (new programs to come soon!!).
But first, I'm asking you to take responsibility. I'm asking you to do something about it. To start right now.
So here's what I need you to do:
1. Watch what you say. Stop yourself from saying bad things about yourself. ESPECIALLY in front of other people. When you do, say 3 positive things back. (Yes, that's right 3 positive things.)
2. Check your friends. Ask you friends to talk about something different when you're around each other. Don't let each other fall into the conversations where you're all picking yourselves a part. Help and support her to stop her negative self talk too.
3. Speak out against articles, posts, etc. that shame people's bodies, appearances, or actions. And don't buy them! We're all human beings and we should treat each other with compassion.
4. Engage in positive conversations. Acknowledge your friends, share with them why you love and appreciate them, tell them how beautiful they are both inside and out!
I hope you'll join me on this mission. I know I can't do it alone.
P.S. I know we might never have met, but I think you're amazing and you have potential beyond your wildest dreams. You just have to believe it for yourself! xx