Welcome Back!! I hope you have been enjoying and benefitting from this series of posts on the five competencies of being Body Positive.
● Create Community
Today I'm talking about the fifth and final topic, Creating Community. Perhaps I should have started with this one because in order to fully embody the first four competencies, it is essential to build a like-minded Body Positive community to support these changes. We don't live in a vacuum and making big life changes is harder to do when you are doing it on your own. Without at least one other person in your life who understands your new beliefs and lifestyle, it is easy to fall prey to the messages that promote inadequacy and insecurity. The likelihood of blaming your body for other problems in your life (especially if you’ve done so in the past) is greater if you are isolated from others who are doing the work to make peace with their bodies. Your Body Positive community exists to love and celebrate you just as you are in the moment, even with your struggles and perceived “flaws.”
Being part of a BP community means supporting others to feel better about their lives because they choose to bring out the best in one another. Coming together to celebrate life—the hardships as well as the triumphs—and to learn from the unique experiences and perspectives each individual brings to the group. Body bashing is not the focus of conversation instead help one another focus on the positive things your bodies are doing for you. Find the humor and acceptance in your changing bodies. Share the thoughts and tips that work for you. Share the doctors and therapists that have helped you. Don't be shy! Ask your therapist or counselor if they would put a monthly group of like minded BP'ers together to meet on a regular basis. Be a resource and source of compassion, inspiration and love for one another.
One last note, as you proceed along this journey, making positive changes, listening to your inner voice instead of the voices of those around you, you will be moving away from the parts of yourself that no longer serve you. As you distance yourself from those self-destructive parts that cause you to be unhappy you will be facing the truth about some relationships you are in that are contributing to that unhappiness. Some may be as negative as the behaviors you are leaving behind while others may be the cause of those negative thoughts and behaviors. You will have to make decisions about leaving these relationships behind. Listen closely to what feels right in your heart and make these decisions knowing that you have become an expert at listening to your inner voice. Keep your physical and mental health at the very top of your priority list. While it can be very hard to leave relationships of any kind, remember that it is more than OK to make a choice that is in your best interest. In doing so you are making room for new loving and supportive relationships to take their place.
It has been more than my pleasure to lead you through these brief explanations of Body Positive Psychology. If you would like to learn more about BP, I highly recommend this book:
Embody, Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet that Critical Voice) by Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott (I am not an affiliate and profit in no way by your purchase of this book)
If you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you!
Remember, be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with Love and Respect. You deserve all that and more!
Image: art around