Tuesday, July 11, 2006
A Word of Kindness
Leslie Goldman, author of Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth about Women, Body Image and Re-Imagining the “Perfect" Body encourages women to write a letter to their most detested body part, offering an apology for the disdain they’ve habitually directed toward it. It seems that the letter-writing process allows you recognize how aggressive you’ve been toward yourself (there’s something about it that allows said body part to feel more “human”) and to stir up some self-compassion, which is a critical part of restoring a healthy body-image and overall self-esteem. The process calls to mind a famous Jungian quote: "We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
While it might be easy to identify which body part you’d address, is it clear to you what you would say? And, if you were to engage in this process, what types of feelings would you encounter?
As an example:
Dear Stomach/Butt/Outer Thighs/Upper Arms, Etc.:
I’m sorry for all the blame I’ve cast your way.
I’m sorry for even briefly, and wildly, entertaining the notion that I’d like to be rid of you. . . and, even more so, for imagining hacking you off with a circular saw.
I’m sorry that I look at you with such scorn, and that I’m not willing to accept you for who you are.
I have to admit that I sometimes think you’re cute—you’re dimply and cuddly, and, most important, I realize that if I can’t accept you, there’s really no way I can accept me.