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 can understand a lot about our story when we take the time to consider key pillars and influencers in our lives. Who am I as a person? What is it like to live in these shoes?
Healing goes far deeper than simply changing a diet or a fitness routine. Yes, diet and exercise allows us to build the foundations for a strong house, but it is not the soul solution. We as humans are not wired with an on or off switch in which we are able to show up in a particular way.
Quite often, even we ourselves don't understand why we may be showing up in a particular way - be it dark or light energies we are omitting. There are many layers which make up who we are as beings. So many beautiful and fascinating layers in which to explore and uncover. We call them soul centres and often when we feel a certain way, even when it may not make sense to think or feel that way, it can be a calling for your soul centres to be rebalanced.
There are simple but powerful ways to balance your soul centres. Starting with restful sleep, making time to create a nourishing meal, music, catching up with loved ones and rebounding from the positive energy the interaction brings, grounding yourself with your feet on the earth, feeling the soil, grass or sand beneath you and the big one, being back in Mother Nature.
When we take a moment to pause for breath, we can see how the universe is speaking to us through the body. Through our power house. It's a sign to ask deeper questions and look into our thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams.
So what question is your body asking today?
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.
Words by Frou Williams.
“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.
For anyone who feels lost in their own way right now, as I too have felt lost, going back to who you are and what you love or moving forward to whoever you are meant to be or meant to love, is the purpose of being lost. There is no shame in being lost. In fact there is excitement and new layers as we shed our skin and we lose ourselves, so we can find another layer of who we truly are. And when we let go of the need to control the journey or even loosen the reins just a little to find out, it's then we're able to discover a new and better version of ourselves.
Sometimes we have to realise that things will never change if we don’t make a change in and for ourselves. To accept that change is here and it's an inevitable part of life. And sometimes, we have to lose ourselves in order to learn and to uncover the next chapter.
So what's your next chapter? 📝 💗
I would say I'm wishing you a peaceful Sunday but instead, I want you to get out there, get mucky, get lost and keep searching.
Words by Frou Williams.
Argh college is over, Uni is here and I know you're feeling overwhelmed, not ready and uncertain but that's totally okay. You're worrying that everyone around you has their sh*t figured out and you do so for much of your 20s but trust me when I say everyone is winging it.
Getting older is weird.
At school and in college everything is done and worked out for you and you're super impatient to start life. Hold back. I know it's not in your nature but try to relax. You don't need to rush anything. Even when you rush, life is going to throw you obstacles to get you back to your natural flow of where you're meant to be so try as best as you can to enjoy the ride.
After you graduate suddenly there's no 'structure' in your life anymore. This is going to freak the hell out of you but don't let it. Remember what I said about the ebbs and flows of life and hey, stop drinking all those jäger bombs, they're not good for your tummy (you'll thank me late 20s when you have some unexpected health issues with your gut relating to stress). If you can, take up yoga now - it's going to play a massive part in your life and really helps you to to remain in the now and to accept yourself as the truly awesome human you are.
In your 20s you're going to go a bit nuts with all the freedom, you're going to live in London, travel the world, meet many, many people, have your heart broken multiple times, meet many, MANY of the wrong kind of guys and a few of the good kind but don't get too disheartened you were never here to worry about finding your soul mate or to follow the 2:4 family route and even at 18 if you are honest with yourself you know that but it's painful to admit it right? You're going to have so much fun (yes and a lot of frustration and confusion) as you come to accept that.
That fire in you to travel and for adventure only gets stronger as you get older and you spend much of your 20s on and off planes, finding your feet and losing them all over again. In your late 20s you're going to move to Australia. I know, right? You never even wanted to go to Oz but an opportunity comes up at work and you've just broken up with someone again (sorry sweetie) and you jump at the chance. This is going to change your life. As you reach the end of your 20s you're going to start wondering what it's all about and if there's 'more to life than this' - you're going to spend a good few years, a lot of time and money retraining and learning new skills. You need to learn to listen to yourself and heed the call of your heart. Not what everyone else around you thinks you should or could do but what do YOU want. You've spent much of your 20s torn with thoughts of 'what ifs' and should I have taken this path or that.
You're going to feel torn between choosing a corporate and familiar path and that of a totally different and unchartered path (a need inspired and motivated to help others through your own challenges) and yet another big change is coming. You now know what you want from life but you worry so much if it's not aligned with your ideal view that you stop to live what's in front of you. Stop. Breathe. Go to yoga. Go for a run.
You really ought to get used to the mass exodus and sea of change because that's the only certainty in life and absolute guarantee in yours my love but once all is said and done this one is going to knock you for six and it's going to take you a lot of soul searching and courage to get you to the next chapter. You'll do it. You always do. We'll call you bounce because you always bounce back no matter what knocks you down.
At this point, you start to realise that you really were strong enough to do everything and nothing all on your own. You feel free, liberated and in control of your life. When you realise the only thing you can control is your happiness and not your surroundings or the people around you then you shift into a totally different gear. You come to terms with the fact that you are the master of your own happiness and not some twist of random fate. When you realise this you're going to be annoyed with wasting so much time and energy in your 20s but don't, it's just more wasted energy. Breathe. Let it go. The only thing that it consumes is you and you don't need to go down the route of bed bound by gut again. Ever.
Always remember wherever you decide to launch off the lily pad, there are lessons to learn in wherever you land. And you will get back on your feet and launch to another lily pad again soon. Nothing is ever permanent.
Smile bounce, you got this xo