Today we kick off Potentia’s second annual “I Choose Respect” month.
#ichooserespect is an effort to connect with those who may not identify with clinical eating disorders but can relate with struggling in their relationship with food, their body and their story.
I believe we all can relate as I am yet to find someone who does not struggle with a bad body image day, week, month, year…
Where negative body image lurks there may be deeper struggles with:
- feeding yourself
- moving your bidy
- low-self worth
- perfectionism and rigidity
- disconnection from community
- feelings of being out-of-control+impulsive thoughts/behaviors
Eating disorders are the most deadly of all mental health illnesses.
Early intervention and prevention is crucial to decreasing the statistics around those struggling – and dying – from eating disorders and related issues.
Addressing the above list of struggles as soon as possible is an important investment in your mental health and in the prevention of more serious clinical issues.
This year I added “story shame” to our awareness campaign as my clients have taught me story shame fuels negative coping tools to deal with the pain and the fear of being judged, misunderstood, rejected- all of which can fuel disordered eating and eating disorders.
Shame about your story leads to putting on masks and moving away from owning and telling your story.
The lies of shame say if people really knew about your struggles, your experiences, your thoughts, your fears – you would be rejected and not worthy of love.
The common protective response is to armor up and numb out – often in ways that hurt your body, your relationships, your soul.
Disowning parts or all of your story keeps you stuck in fear.
Beginning to move to loving your story – and your body – can start with respect.
I often hear or read people reflect to those struggling with their relationship to their body and their story tell their friends, colleagues and their loved ones:
- Just love your body.
- Embrace your story.
- You are so beautiful – just as God made you.
- You are so strong – you can handle anything.
Sometimes these intended words of encouragement unintentionally diminish real struggle and trigger shame.
As a result, many increase their efforts to hide their struggles for fear they are seen as “drama” or “not good/Christian/strong enough” for struggling with their relationship with their body and their story.
Healing disconnection with body and story are not quick fixes. They are often rooted in deep attachment issues, traumatic experiences, individual temperament and genetics.
#ichooserespect is about respecting your body and your story when you do not like or even love them.
Respect Paves the Way
I believe respect creates a pathway to sustained loving and acceptance of your body and your whole story – when the time is right. It can not be forced.
Just like any relationship, when their are breeches of trust, it takes time to heal.
And there are too many people who do not trust their body and are in fact at war with their body.
It is time we give this kind of pain respect. Respecting your pain is a place to start a conversation, to ask for help, to offer connection when someone takes a risk to share their pain.
This year, we are featuring more like-minded leaders from all seasons of life in our #ichooserespect photo shoot. These photos will be featured daily for the entire month of February.
The conversations that started and continued from taking these pictures warmed my heart and inspired me.
My hope and prayer is that #ichooserespect inspires continued meaningful conversations and questions about how you talk about your body and your story with your friends, your family, your colleagues.
Most importantly, I hope #ichooserespect helps you (re) define your own internal conversations and decreases the noise between your ears.
Join the Conversation
Please join the conversation on Potentia’s Facebook Page, Potentia’s Instgram Feed or my Twitter feed. Help us spread the news about the I Choose Respect Awareness effort by using and tracking the hastags: #ichooserespect #respectyourbody #respectyourstory.
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week
The last week of February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week hosted by the National Eating Disorder Association.
All over the country, local communities are hosting walks to raise money and awareness for NEDA.
For the San Diego NEDAW walk, Potentia is hosting a team and will also have a booth at this wonderful event.
The Potentia team is hoping to raise $1000 from registrations for the walk. Invite your friends, colleagues, family, kids to register and join the Potentia team. Even pets can get in on the walk and fundraiser – scheduled for Saturday, February 28th.
Note: All money raised goes directly to NEDA, not Potentia
Walk Venue: NTC at Liberty Station
Walk Location: 2455 Cushing Road, San Diego, CA 92106
Walk Date: Saturday, February 28th, 2015
Check In Time: 9:00AM
Opening Ceremony: 10:00AM Walk End Time: 11:30AM
How will you choose respect?
I am curious, how do you want to choose respect over body and story shame?
I look forward to connecting here on the blog and on the other social media outlets this month.
I am beyond grateful to all those who took time out of their schedule to participate, too. I can’t wait to share their pictures with you!
Cheering you on –