Category Archives: body image

Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice)

I have been following and quietly cheerleading the work of The Body Positive for years. Created by Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott, LCSW, in 1996, The Body Positive is a community offering freedom from societal messages that keep people in a struggle with their bodies. Connie’s experience with an eating disorder in her teen years and the death of her sister Stephanie inspired her life’s work to improve the self-image of youth and adults. She founded The Body Positive in honor of her sister, and to ensure that her daughter Carmen and other children would grow up in a new world—one where people focus on changing the world, not their bodies.

Like Connie, my work is inspired from the desire to break the intergenerational legacy of eating disorders. I want eating disorders to stop with me, and I want my child to be free.

So it was with great pleasure that I read Connie’s book, Embody (Gurze books, 2014), which outlines the work of body positivity beautifully. Early in the book, Connie outlines how the Body Positive model differs drastically from not only dieting, but also a self-help model or cultural message around “arriving” at a static end point in order to be “done” (and therefore not need to grow, feel, work or explore anymore).

Body Positive:                                                          Not Body Positive:

Tools for a lifetime of exploration A static goal-oriented view of life
A definition of health that is based on balanced self-care and self-love An idealized external image of a ‘healthy’ person
No Double binds Conflicting messages that leave people confused or frustrated
Attuned self-care “Rules” about eating and exercise
A foundation of self-love and forgiveness “Shoulds” and punishment
A celebration of diversity as beauty A limited definition of “ideal” beauty
The development of positive communities Connecting with others through negative self-talk

There are so many things that stood out for me in this book. Here are a few that I celebrated in particular:

* Exploring your Body Story through creatively using expressive arts and writing

*Turning your critical eyes toward discernment of negative messages you may have received from your family of origin (without blaming your mother) and culture rather than turning them against yourself.

*Defining and supporting Intuitive eating

*Re-defining exercise as a way to have fun and pleasure in your life (walking, dancing) and release brain chemicals to keep our moods stable rather than a way to punish ourselves or shape our bodies differently

* Including tools for quieting the Critical Voice

*Declaring your Authentic Beauty

Throughout the book, personal stories from Connie, Elizabeth, and people who have participated in Body Positive community are shared. There is a feeling that you are not alone in the struggle, and your are not alone in your journey to re-find (or find in the first place) joy and peace in your body and your life.

It isn’t often that I would recommend a book to friends, colleagues, and my clients! This is that book.

 

A Letter To My Belly

 

Dear Belly,

Every morning my little one pulls up my shirt, kisses you, and says, “I came from there!” You are fleshy now, stretched. I feel warmth and softness when I touch you. Mother. You hang over my jeans a bit. My sagging muffin top. I try not to mentally airbrush you out of pictures- the little traces of shame that still linger, the empire cut shirts, even though I haven’t been pregnant for five years.

Twenty years ago disgust for you filled my world. And crushed my spirit. All the self-loathing, anger, fear and shame were stuffed into you. I’m sorry. So many apology letters written to you in those first years of eating disorder recovery. But I did grow to accept you! And fed you. And then you created an amazing child! (Ok it was my womb, but you are the flesh that stretched to accommodate). You grew and stretched beyond what I thought was possible

Belly, I’m sorry that there are so many images in the world that don’t look like you. I know those images make you feel unloved, disgusting, flabby. I’m sorry those images make you feel wrong.

Those images tell you all kinds of crazy sh*t:

“Be smaller! Be flatter! Do this to be loved! Be big and full of yourself until age seven and then be flat and hungry. But don’t feel hungry! Just look thin! Don’t get angry! Hide your intuition. Don’t listen to it. Be attractive by not being yourself! Don’t get stretched. If you get stretched, get sucked and stitched back in.”

I just want you to know, Belly, they’re wrong, those messages. Contrary to what the images tell you, there is nothing wrong with you. Let me say it again as you have received those other brutal messages so many times.

Belly, there is nothing wrong with you.

I Feel Fat: Breaking the Bad Body Image Legacy

mirror mirror

I’m so excited to have a guest blog today by By Andrea Wachter, LMFT, co-author of The Don’t Diet, Live-It Workbook and the new children’s book Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Breaking the “I Feel Fat” Spell. I have followed her work for years (since I got into recovery nineteen years ago!) and am honored to share her words of wisdom.

Breaking the Bad Body Image Legacy

I was raised by a mom who was extremely dissatisfied with her body. Sadly, and statistically, there is a good chance that you were too. It’s nobody’s fault. Most of our mothers were handed the same bad body image baton that we were, leaving far too many of us competing in the never ending race of trying to eat a certain way, exercise a certain way and look a certain way in order to feel attractive and loveable.

Fortunately, there is a movement toward health and healing. My hope is that someday, a woman who dislikes or despises her body will be as rare as one who thinks that washing her child’s mouth out with soap is a wise parenting tool. As a culture, we need a massive update on our body image programming and if you are reading this blog, there is a good chance that you are up for the task.

Whether someone inherits a bad body image from their family, or learned it from our crazy culture, it is possible to heal. In my therapy practice, I have worked with women of all ages and from all walks of life and I have found that if there is desire and willingness, there is hope to break the legacy of bad body image.

My earliest memory of body image awareness was when I was about eight years old. I innocently walked into the bathroom and saw my mom soaking in the tub. While I don’t remember her exact words, I do recall her saying something negative and unkind about her body. I silently wondered why she didn’t like her body. And the programming went on from there: negative comments she made about feeling or being fat; certain foods being deemed “good” or “bad;” needing to diet or exercise to make up for what she ate.

Then came the painfully memorable shift when the focus turned to my body: Being told I was “getting a little chubby;” getting served the tasteless diet foods that were kept in a special freezer in the garage, while my dad and brother ate the regular foods from the kitchen; my dad telling me I have “such a pretty face,” if only I would “lose a few pounds;” paying my sister and me to lose weight.

I harbor not an ounce of blame or resentment toward these precious people. They received the same mixed-up messages we all have: If you lose weight, you will be more attractive and loveable. If you exercise, eat lean proteins, vegetables and fruits, you will be “good.” If you eat what have been deemed “bad” foods, you will be out of control and lose the praise and love you so hunger for.

Being a sensitive child who was desperately eager to please, I took my parents’ early teachings to heart. My dieting turned to sneak eating which led to periods of serious restricting which led to major binges which eventually morphed into a hard core case of bulimia. I added massive amounts of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes into the mix and spent decades completely lost in food, weight and body obsession. My self-worth, my social life, my love life, my health and my schooling were all greatly and negatively impacted by my painful and insidious relationship with food and my constant attempts to lose weight. And even when I did manage (countless times) to lose weight, it never once brought the peace of mind and happiness that I was told it would. Instead, my weight losses came with terror of weight gain and the animal-like hunger that accompanies and follows starvation.

I once asked my mom how she became so obsessed with dieting and so unhappy with her body. She told me that her mom and grandmother were both heavy but really didn’t seem to give it a second thought. It was only when she moved out of her poor Brooklyn neighborhood and into a “nice neighborhood filled with thin women” that she began to diet. She said, “I think I learned it from friends and it probably came from watching TV. Plus, your father was always so obsessed with my being thin.”

I then asked my dad how he came to be so obsessed with thinness. His answer was honest and it actually made sense to me. My dad ran a ladies clothing company in Manhattan. He worked tirelessly in the factory and he explained, “I guess I saw that the sewers in the factory were all fat and poor and seemed pretty unhappy. They had hard lives. The models who worked for us in the showroom were all thin, rich and glamourous and they seemed to be so happy.” Seemed being the operative word here. My precious papa took a small segment of the population, made some big assumptions, and based on his profound love for me, led me down a road he thought would bring me goodness. As did my mom. We were all given the same faulty programs.
The great news is that I eventually found my way out. And even better news is that I made a career out of it. My life’s work is now about helping others overcome their battles with food, weight and body issues as well as doing early prevention for kids who are showing signs of body dissatisfaction. Much like drugs, the earlier you intervene, the less entrenched the patterns are and all the more hope there is to change.

I was not a light weight dieter, binger and body hater. (Pardon the pun!) I went hard core. Fortunately, I dove hard core into healing too. It takes hard core dedication to break the legacy that so many of us have been handed: to eat exactly what we want in moderate amounts; to say “no” to food, even when others are pushing us to eat; to say “yes” to moving our bodies in ways we love; to say “yes” to rest when we are tired; to say “yes” to tears and compassion when we are sad, mad or scared; to speak our truth rather than stuff it with excess food; to say “no” to unachievable perfection; to accept and appreciate the size and shape of the bodies we were given, the age we are, the aging process.

Healing from food and body issues is not for the faint of heart, but then neither is starving ourselves, overeating, bingeing, body hatred or constant comparing. Both paths are challenging but thankfully one road leads to freedom and peace. I wish this for you.

Click here to check out Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Breaking the “I Feel Fat” Spell  by Andrea Wachter and Marsea Marcus.

Andrea Wachter is a psychotherapist and co-author of Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Version 2Breaking the “I Feel Fat” Spell as well as The Don’t Diet, Live-It Workbook. She is also au
thor of the upcoming book, Getting Over Overeating for Teens. Andrea is an inspirational counselor,
author and speaker who uses professional expertise, humor and personal recovery to help others. For more information on her books, blogs and other services, please visit innersolutions

High Heels and Little girls

Recently I observed a 3-year-old girl with her family in a restaurant. She

little-girl-570864_640was having difficulty walking due to the heels on her sandals. I actually understand her desire to be “more grown up.” However, I did feel sad and curious about a cultural paradigm that promotes preschoolers to be hobbling in order to look thinner.

You might be saying “But she wasn’t trying to look thinner. She was just copying Mommy, or wanting to play dress up.” To which I would say “And why was Mommy wearing high heels?” I was at a [dress up] event for parents of young children recently and one of the dads curiously asked “why DO women wear high heels?” To which I heard a mom reply:

“To enhance their legs or look thinner.”

I myself have worn high heels (though much less after becoming a mom as walking/running/getting shoes dirty and protecting my back have become more important). There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel and look attractive. However, I do question certain underlying values including

  • Looking-good-is-more-important-than-being-yourself;
  • Looking-thin-or-smaller-is-more-important-than-being-able-to-walk; or
  • A woman’s-value-is-in-their-appearance-rather-than-their-skills, abilities, or being.

The comedian Jim Gaffigan (Dad is Fat, New York: Three Rivers Press, 2013) riffs on the ridiculous-ness of  this strange cultural phenomena  when he talks about the obsessive interest in his newborn baby girl’s weight:

The masses of family and friends want to …get information on the baby. For some reason, it’s really important for people to know how much the baby weighs. This always baffled me. ‘How much does she weigh?’ That’s rude. She’s not even a day old, and people seem to be obsessed with my daughter’s weight? She was nine pounds, but I remember telling friends, ‘She was eight pounds, sixteen ounces’ because it sounded thinner. Either way, she carried the weight very well, but we put her on the Atkins diet anyway…

My latest celebrity hero is Adele: not because I like her music or even follow celebrities much. But because she is one voice of opposition within the airbrushed media culture challenging lies such as:

  • Looking Good= You will Not Suffer or Die and
  • You can never be too rich or too thin.

She is speaking out, modeling for women and mothers, that is it okay to be yourself, in the size that you are. There are more valuable compasses from which to steer your life than appearance. Though admitting to some body image problems, she states:

“I think I remind everyone of themselves…I’m not perfect. I don’t let [body image problems] rule my life…I’m motivated by … a legacy that I’m leaving for my child.”*

Amen to that.

*Us Weekly, “Adele Choosing Family Over Fame,” Issue 1086, December 7, 2015.

 

Get your Butt out of the way

Many years ago, when I was in the early phase of recovery from an eating disorder, I challenged myself to buy a pair of pants embracing my butt. They were not my usual baggy style, were well-fitted, and had glitter on the butt! It was an “opposite action” to wear clothing that my internal body image critic would have never allowed. And, as all opposite action creates, it helped me develop a sense of esteem in myself by practicing an “esteem -able act.”

Many women do not like their butts, literally. Occasionally I find a woman who loves and/or accepts her butt. Jennifer Lopez is the poster child for embracing her butt as an asset.

According to Harvard medical School research, the fat found in large buttocks and hips may even protect against type 2 diabetes.

Fat found commonly around the lower areas, known as subcutaneous fat, or fat that collects under the skin, helps to improve the sensitivity of the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar and therefore a big bottom might offer some protection against diabetes. The research shows that…people with pear-shaped bodies, with fat deposits in the buttocks and hips, are less prone to these disorders.

Cell Metabolism, Dec. 2008, Diabetes in Control: news and Information for medical professionals, January 20, 2009, Diabetesincontrol.com

Wearing different kinds of pants (glitter or not) no longer challenges me and esteem able ac218604_10150263001270120_1161725_ots have become different in my work as a Mom and Psychologist. Now getting my “butt” out of the way has become “But I don’t have TIME to work on my book!” or “But my child won’t eat vegetables, no matter HOW I prepare them!”

Whatever your butt or but issues, see if there is a way to find an opposite action, even if it is a baby opposite action step to get your but out of the way, remembering that often what’s in the way IS the way .

PS Babies love their butts. Try to remember a (or create for the very first) time when you could love yours.

Who’s got your Back? (Week 6 in the everybody love your BODY challenge)

Just over one year ago, I threw my back out. Trying to be Supermom: wearing heels and carrying a 30 lb child, working inside and outside the home, preparing to present at an international eating disorders conference. shadow

A Jungian colleague of mine asked what might be in my shadow that might  “have my back,” or be “breaking my back.” In Jungian psychology, the shadow is aspects of the self that are unwanted, unknown, or “dystonic” (not familiar or owned by the conscious self). It often shows up through projecting one’s “shadow” parts onto others. Ex: “She’s so angry.” “He’s so greedy.” “Who does she think she IS being so full of herself?”

What had my back? Well, it turns out that the often quoted Marianne Williamson quote was true:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you…

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson, Return to Love Harper Collins, 1992.

I've got your back.

I’ve got your back.

It was fear of my own growing power. So I rested my back (as well as did all sorts of other healing modalities) and healed my back. Friends will often say “I got your back!” as a way to encourage you to move into and through something scary. What has your back? How can you support your back? What parts of yourself are you afraid to own?

What can’t you stomach?

“In a time of torture camps and daily bombings, when civil liberties are disappearing as fast as the ozone layer, when one out of three women in the world will be beaten or raped in her lifetime, why write a play about my stomach? Maybe because my stomach is one thing I feel I have control over, or maybe because I have hoped that my stomach is something I could get control over.

Thank you, Jade Beall and  abeautifulbodyproject.com for this beautiful image of loving a postpartum belly.

Thank you, Jade Beall and
abeautifulbodyproject.com for this beautiful image of loving a postpartum belly.

Maybe because I see how my stomach has come to occupy my attention, I see how other women’s stomachs or butts or hair or skin have come to occupy their attention, so that we have very little left … for much else… Maybe I identify with these women because I have bought into the idea that if my stomach were flat, then I would be good, and I would be safe.  I would be protected.  I would be accepted, admired, important, loved. Maybe because for most of my life I have felt wrong, dirty, guilty, and bad, and my stomach is the carrier, the pouch for all that self-hatred.  Maybe because my stomach has become the repository for my sorrow, my childhood scars, my unfulfilled ambition, my unexpressed rage. – Eve Ensler, The Good Body, 2004

I love Eve Ensler’s words of wisdom, the raw power and vulnerability of them. The stomach is an area for many women, many PEOPLE, that holds a “pouch of self-hatred.” When I work with clients around developing a different relationship with their stomach, we often explore the questions of:

What are you hungry for?

(cookies, sweetness, ice cream)

What are you REALLY hungry for?

(to be loved, to feel safe, to be connected and not alone, to feel that I am safe in the world, to know that the world is trustworthy and I can stomach it.)

What can you digest?

(ex: nourishment, the right amount, honesty)

And what CAN’T you digest?

(ex: toxicity, being asked to stuff or stuffing myself with what is “not mine,” secret keeping, dishonesty)

In yoga, the stomach is the third or “solar plexus” chakra. It is the place where self-esteem (or lack of) resides. It is where anxiety rests in “the pit of your stomach.” And it is the place where you experience your “gut instinct.” Getting your gut instinct back, listening to and honoring it is a major part of recovery, from trauma, from disordered eating, from self-hatred. IMG_2079 All (non traumatized) children have a natural love, pride, and listening to their stomachs. Have you ever seen a toddler or preschooler show you their belly? They LOVE their belly. It is a source of esteem, not of shame. They know what they want to eat and they know what their boundaries are. They are proud of their developing self. They know their “No’s.” (And from this, they find their yes’s.) Here is my invitation for you: Instead of changing the shape of your stomach, how can you listen to your gut instincts more? What can and can’t you stomach in your life? What are you REALLY hungry for? And what esteem able acts can you take toward honoring the answers that come? (Feel free to comment below. This is week 5 of the 8 week every body love your BODY challenge and 1 commenter will receive a free affirmation.)

Week 3: Get it off your Chest and Love your Chest!

afb11e44-77ac-4df1-95e9-07e8c5dd1e0cYep, we’re talking about our chests this week. All that you wish that was different and the reality of your chest being exactly the way it is supposed to be. I can’t tell you how many times I hear large chested women say they wish their chests were smaller and small chested women say they wish their chests were bigger! What would it be like to  accept and maybe even bring a tiny bit of love to your body the way it IS?

Being a mom during pregnancy, postpartum and/or breastfeeding brings whole other facets to breasts and chests! I remember during my pregnancy and breastfeeding days being amazed and awed at how my body changed. And then joking at how my chest “deflated” again after no longer breast feeding. Becoming a mom, however, actually made me fiercer about loving my body and its capacities. I remember one time breastfeeding my baby at a restaurant and the waiter looking at me strangely. I looked back at him and clearly stated “He’s already ordered.”  I had had enough with the controversy over breast feeding in public. I needed to get that “off of my chest.” Heaven knows breasts have been seen publicly in many other contexts and not always respectfully or being utilized to feed a baby!

Some moms judges their chests because one side is larger/smaller than the other or in breastfeeding, one breast produces more or less milk than the other. Instead of saying “You should be producing more milk!”, what would it be like to thank your breasts for making milk, doing the best they can?

What do you need to get off of your chest? How can you love and or accept your chest? I invite you to comment below.

* For the record: As a Mom and Psychologist, I support moms is ALL of their choices in breastfeeding, not breastfeeding, breast feeding in the way they feel comfortable, partially breastfeeding, etc! There are many personal and medical reasons both to breastfeed and not to breastfeed. And there is no 1 right answer.

The Every Body love your Body Project (5 minutes for 8 weeks)

embodyingart_f

“It takes no time to open your heart, but when will you do it? That is what takes the time.”

After working with women recovering from body hatred for the past decade and a half, I have noticed a few pitfalls that people get stuck in during the process of learning to love (and/or accept more on this soon) their bodies. One of them is:

“I don’t have TIME.”

In eating disorder recovery, it often shows up as “OK, I’ve stopped bingeing/purging/starving/overeating(insert disordered eating behavior here), so I should love my body now. When will that happen? 1 month? 2? Because I don’t have the patience for years. I’m ready to move on and be “normal.” What I say to this is Ummmm, sorry. There is no “normal,” and if there was (if “normal” means not having an eating disorder) then many of those people don’t like their bodies either.  Leaning to love and accept yourself at a deep fundamental level (which is what body image issues are really about) takes time. Usually years. It cuts to the fundamental core of the self. (But don’t worry this project is 5 minutes PER WEEK for 8 weeks. You can do that. You can do this!)

In mommy hood, it often shows up as “I’m too busy taking care of everyone else! I don’t have time for that superficial body image stuff! I’m lucky if I get a pair of sweat pants on and a haircut once/year!” To which I would say first of all, you can’t afford to NOT have the time because your child is picking up on every single nonverbal cue you give them as to your relationship with your own body and you are passing it on. So if there’s any suffering there that you wish your child to NOT experience, you have to do your own work. And second of all, it doesn’t actually take that much time. It is more about quality rather than quantity.

The Power of Intention

This is a new project, but not a new idea. It is about the power of intention to shift your relationship with your body. The good news is It won’t require much from you except willingness. And, actually, it won’t take too much time. 5 minutes/week for 8 weeks. But let me tell you a bit about the premise. As a clinician assisting people cultivate a different relationship with their bodies and themselves, I work with willingness. I also work with assisting people identify and shift the ways they talk to themselves, including both the content and the tone.  A large part of this is actually dis-identifyig enough from the parts of yourself, particularly the often overdeveloped Superego Critical part, to find and cultivate other parts. The other part(s) being kinder, more self-advocating, non-shaming loving parts.

There is a well-know study in which experimenters were told to observe rats in a maze, but one group of experimenters were told that their rats were “bright” and another group were told that their rats were “dull.” (Rosenthal, R. & Fode, K.L.1963) They were actually all from the same group of lab rats, but guess which rats performed better? Yep. The ones that were supposedly “bright.” When looking at why, it was found that the experimenters had an intention of them doing better and encouraged these rats more. I want to invite you to bring this “experimenter bias” back to yourself: loving kindness, attention, intention.

Which brings me back to the issue of how you talk to your body. How do you speak to your body? Do you say “You should be smaller/larger/less wrinkled/not have cellulite/be less flabby/stop being so disgusting”? Then this is an opportunity for you to practice treating your body more “bright” and less “dull.” Really- if you’ve been saying unkind things to yourself for decades, what do you have to lose by trying to say something different?

The Every Body Love your Body Project

5 minutes (or less) of writing an affirmative statement toward part of your body every Wednesday (You can write yours on whatever day you would like but I will pick an affirmation winner and post the next part on Wednesday). Write your statement in the comments, and I will randomly pick a winner every week. I invite you to write this statement on a note and post it on your mirror for the week.

Each week we will look at a different part of your body and say something kind to it. That is IT. The only “rules” are:

1) It must be authentic to you.

2) It has to be kind, accepting, or neutral in tone.

3) If it is negative, it must be directed toward your body image CRITIC, not your body.

Then every week, I will pick a winner from the comments and that person will receive a free affirmation from Dr. Linda!

This week’s body part: the FACE

I’ll get us started on some examples here. Since we are starting with the face, I could say (going with the three choices above):

1) I like my little wrinkles around my eyes. They show empathy, wisdom and kindness.

2) I have nice cheekbones.ama

3) Those furrows between my eyes and on my forehead are hard-won! If I were to Botox those wrinkles, my face would lose its character. Shut the F*ck up! (That is to my body image critic, which says “Maybe you should think about getting bangs because did you know that bangs are the new Botox?”)

You may notice, when you write something kind toward your body, part(s) of you roaring in protest “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” That is good. That means you are on the right track with shifting from treating yourself as a “dull rat” to a “bright” one 🙂 Keep going!

See you next week!

Why Elsa speaks to recovering women

I Never Knew What I Was Capable Of Frozen Poster

 I’ll admit I am quote late to jump on the “Frozen” Disney movie  bandwagon. I do have a feminist bias against all things Disney Princess (see the book Cinderella ate my daughter for a fabulous exploration on this topic). However, finally watching the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the character Elsa to be quite a good role model in some ways:

1) She’s not trying to keep it in anymore.

“The wind is howling like thus swirling storm inside- couldn’t keep it in-heaven knows I’ve tried.” *

What is “it” for recovering women? Well, many things: her stomach, her anger, her grief, her power, her voice. There comes a time when “keeping it in” doesn’t work anymore.

2) No more good girl.

“Be the good girl…conceal, don’t feel don’t let them know. Well now they know!”

Although being pleasing does have its assets, when it is at the expense of ones self, it is not sustaining. Being “good” becomes pink icing on a pile of rotting unmet needs.

In recovery, we learn that being authentic is the sustenance to our lives. What does this mean? It means risking “when you stop people pleasing, people aren’t pleased.” It means you practice trusting that having a self and your own needs will not leave you alone in an ice storm.

3) She went to nature to nourish her  soul.

“I am one with the wind and the sky… My power flurries through the air into the ground. My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around. And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast. I’m never going back the past is in the past.”

When Elsa left her childhood home, she discovered freedom in nature in being herself fully. She discovered letting go and releasing the past to the past. Nature has a way of allowing acceptance of all parts of the self and the cycle of birth, death, and the entire experience of the life in between. This allowance can create expansion and letting go of old stories about yourself and your life.

However, Elsa did find herself in a barren landscape, which leads to where Elsa got it wrong:

4) You do not have to isolate to be your authentic self.

Elsa created an ice storm of isolation from the fear of being herself and owning her power.  She was so afraid of hurting people she loved by being herself. But what she learned in the end (this is the recovery process of discovering and recovering ones self) is that you can be yourself in all of your powerful glory in a way that  benefits both you and others. You do not have to “keep it in,” “conceal,” or create a raging ice storm spewing out harm. How?

Listen to your feelings and needs.

Use your power in a way that expresses who you are and why you are here in this planet. Use this power to connect rather than isolate or hurt. And, as Elsa learned from her dear sister, you do not have to and cannot do this alone.

5) And last but not least, it’s not the Prince’s job to save you. Save yourself.

(But It’s ok to ask your sisters, brothers, and community to help.)

* All quoted words lyrics from the song “Let it go” by Idina Menzel

Addendum:

Elsa-frozen

If Elsa were not a Disney character, she would also have a realistic body size and shape. There is still more work to be done in that area. For a great article showing more realistic waist sizes of Disney Princess’s,

see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/30/disney-princess-real-waistline_n_6076634.html

%d bloggers like this: