Body image is something very personal to each and every person. By definition, it is the perception that we have of our physical self and the thoughts and feelings that arise from that perception. These feelings can be positive, negative or both, and are heavily influenced by individual and environmental factors. So, what does that mean? We aren’t born hating our human containers, so, therefore, it’s something that we must inherit, grow and learn over time by messaging that may be subliminal or otherwise, that then go on to shape our reality.
Emotions, interpreted for their purest intentions, are messages. They are a complex conversation between your mind and body, seeking to influence behaviour as they inform you of how you feel/ think about a situation.
They’re the group chat between your physiology and psychology, as your body physically responds to your mental state and vice versa. An effective message sent with honest intentions, which I would like to believe is what our bodies are trying to do for our minds, would not send a message without any content. You would never purposefully send someone an empty email or blank text message. Similarly, our emotions should not be interpreted as ‘just feelings’.
We often associate boundaries with being guarded or unapproachable, it feels like a negative and heavy word, but through boundaries, we can lovingly show people how we are showing up in the world and the best part; we allow them the space to do the same.
When we have poor boundaries, we can feel overwhelmed, exhausted, overcommitted, we overextend ourselves and even start to feel resentful. From this place, it’s easy to enter a victim state of mind.
Learning how to set the foundation of loving boundaries takes time, kindness and patience to self - if it’s not something you’ve ever practiced, how can you even know what your boundaries are? It simply takes time and creating space to listen to yourself and what feels expansive or contractive and moving from that place.
Have you ever heard of the term sacred space?
It’s incredibly important to create and celebrate sacred space within our lives. I’m not just talking about a nicely decked out living room or boudoir (although those are lovely of course)
Creating sacred space is a beautiful way in which to honour yourself, ask for guidance, connect more deeply to yourself, have somewhere for 5 minutes of quiet and introspection, a chance to step out of the fight or flight response, a space to do yoga, somewhere to practice meditation, relax, to set intentions for the day or week, listen to music, and purposefully create a positive vision for your life.
Simply put, your sacred space is your temple. A place or space reserved purely for your highest good. As you refocus on your inner life, you’ll find yourself calmer, clearer, happier and more inspired to follow your heart.
Words By Frou Williams.
I want to talk about body shaming. A massive part of what I do with my clients is exploring body image and self esteem, it's something I've studied in extensive detail and something I believe is absolutely crucial to healing, personal growth and to allow ourselves to be truly open to 'love' whether that's love of oneself and/or others. It's something I'm deeply passionate about.
I want to talk about body shaming. A massive part of what I do with my clients is exploring body image and self esteem, it's something I've studied in extensive detail and something I believe is absolutely crucial to healing, personal growth and to allow ourselves to be truly open to 'love' whether that's love of oneself and/or others. It's something I'm deeply passionate about. It's the very reason I created my company Death By Lycra Collective - From the very core of my being I believe in the empowerment of spirit.
By working together as collective we create the space for individual empowerment. That means helping women to feel more at ease in their own skin, embracing and being proud of the bodies they rock regardless of shape or size. By looking past the exterior. Body image and self esteem are incredibly fragile, it can quite literally make or break another being. It's one of the biggest psychological issues we face in our modern society and it's certainly no laughing matter.
So what is body shaming? The definition of body shaming is the practice of making critical and potentially humiliating comments about a person's body.
We all know that we live in a culture that is finely tuned at telling us we're not good enough, that we need to fix and make better. It's never been this intense or this relentless. It's exhausting. And that's just the messages from the media, that doesn't even take into account the pressures we put on ourselves or that we receive from other people.
It makes me incredibly sad that other people feel the need to comment or judge other people based on their physical appearance alone when they know nothing of that person's inner struggles or demons they may be facing. They know not who that woman is when she is at home surrounded by family, what she contributes to society, what lights her up and fills her soul, what ailments she might have had or even how much courage it may take just to leave the house on any given day. By not looking past her physical appearance you take that away from her.
There's a series of consequences to this way of thinking, eating disorders for one but it can also lead to an increased risk of depression, anxiety and social isolation.
And whilst that may be largely as a result of what a lot of the intense media focus has done that does not make it okay. We should be building each other up and encouraging each other, not tearing each other apart.
How we take care of ourselves is our billboard to the world. I'm not just talking about having abs or a tight ass but by being someone who laughs, cries, embraces their flaws, focuses on what they are passionate about, by being a good person, surrounding themselves with people who make them feel good, and by being real. Having a six pack has nothing to do with happiness or self worth.
Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. And happiness is what looks good on people, celebrating your body for what it can do, by refusing to comment on others’ physical appearances and by not letting other people bring you down. Because surely the best billboard for 'wellbeing' is contentment in self.
Human form, the house in which we walk this plane. Our life’s journey is context for understanding our relationship with nutrition, fitness, movement, thoughts, and our wellbeing as a whole. The body whispers messages to us each and every day. Slow down. Don't rush. There's no need to push. Don't hold onto this. Let go of that. There are subtle cues and prompts taking place within and around you all the time.
But what exactly does that mean? Everything in life is intricately pieced together to weave a web of narrative unfolding a story; your story. And the most important thing in your life, is your life story.
We're connected more than ever so why is it statistics show increasing rates of depression, loneliness and anxiety especially for those in their 20s and early 30s?
A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Development found that 39% of men and 49% of women reported feeling similar 'crisis' feelings characterised by disappointment, insecurity, anxiety, loneliness and depression. The quarter life crisis as it's been formally dubbed, whilst it may have a slightly different trigger for each individual, is a very real and common experience for 20 somethings in our culture.
Aside from the obvious of a different economy and job market to what our parents may have experienced, social pressures have changed along with a shift in gender roles but a lot of this is to do with technology. And more specifically, social media. FOMO anyone?
Have you ever heard of the term perfection paralysis? One of the ultimate quests for millennials is the pursuit of the perfect life. We're all searching for it.
We want do it all, see it all and be it all...like, yesterday. But in our search for the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect apartment, the perfect partner and the perfect friends are we so afraid of making the wrong choice, of committing, of making a mistake or simply overwhelmed with the vast options presented in front of us that we are merely bystanders on the sidelines of our own lives, only ever dipping our toes into the arena we call life? Are we a generation of commitment-phobes or are just in need of a new approach?
Words by Frou Williams.
There are very few people (I know of none) who escape the rollercoaster of ups and downs surrounding self esteem, self worth and self image. I know it can be easy to look at someone else's life and believe that they've somehow worked out the magic formula and perhaps they have worked it out for them, but that formula is always going to be a work in progress which needs fine tuning every now and then.
It's also highly likely that your formula of self love and self acceptance is going to look and feel totally different for you because guess what?! WE ARE ALL UNIQUE!!!! And isn't that amazing and wonderful?! Who wants to be the same as everyone anyway? No sheep here.
It's also not something which happens over night. There's twists and turns, ups and downs, 1 step forward and 5 back, sometimes 3 steps forward and 1 step back. And I speak from experience when I say it's a work in progress. Of course it is. Some days we wake up feeling fat, frumpy, unattractive and that we've somewhere lost our sparkle. Other days we wake up feeling on cloud nine and totally unstoppable.
After years of feeling 'not quite good enough' and critiquing every inch of myself, I continue and will always continue to learn every day to be comfortable in being ME. I think it's about finding a balance and a place of acceptance within yourself.
A place which allows you the freedom to enjoy nights with friends, eat delicious food, move your body in a way that makes you feel fantastic and a place that doesn't leave you feeling guilty for not looking a certain way, for having that bread at dinner, that extra glass of wine or having that rest day.
What a wonderful place to be, feeling content and at peace in who you are and what you bring to the table of life. Surely that is something worth striving for?
If we could be kinder to ourselves and others throughout this journey, remove judgement around what should be and try to remain positive roles models for younger generations then to me, that's a much more happy and healthy place to be.
“Do you ever feel that way?"
I search for the words. "Restless. As if you haven't really met yourself yet. As if you'd passed yourself once in the fog, and your heart leapt - 'Ah! There I Am! I've been missing that piece!' But it happens too fast, and then that part of you disappears into the fog again."
It's Sunday morning and as I sip my coffee, this week the universe has brought many thoughts and lessons around searching and feelings of being lost. It occurred to me, that perhaps we need not focus on what happens when we find that missing piece or indeed those pieces but instead focus on the journey or the process of the exploration in those pieces. Perhaps that's where the sweet spot lies, in getting lost. If you think about it, getting lost is just another way of saying 'I'm going exploring.” And wow, such beautiful paths can't be discovered without first getting lost.
Health is multifaceted and it exists in the irreducible complexity of our lives and identities.
When I feel disconnected from my mind and body, I don’t take care of it. When I embrace and encourage my mind and body, when I take a moment to appreciate all that it does for me, I do.
Learning not to hate our bodies is a matter of our physical health and emotional survival.
At its core, weight loss is aesthetic. My weight doesn’t tell you what I eat, how much I exercise, how strong I am. It doesn’t tell you where my DNA comes from, my bone density or how healthy I feel. It doesn’t tell you if I’m thinner than I was before, or fatter. It doesn’t tell you how I feel about myself, what I’ve learnt or how I’ve changed.
It doesn't show you my wellbeing blueprint.