Body image issues, eating disorders, depression, even societal issues like racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, etc. – have you ever thought of the one factor all of this has in common? It all focuses around the body; how one feels towards it, how one treats it, how others treat it, even laws that govern our bodies. We are taught from birth how to either celebrate it or degrade it, how to feed it and bathe it, and how to think about it. In a sense, as we live our lives, our constant fixation is how to survive and/or thrive with this body that we have, and how to coexist with other bodies.
As co-facilitators, Jan Shope and I have gone through our own personal journeys in reconnecting with our bodies, and learning how to have a loving and healthy relationship with it. Through this journey, we both came upon a book by Sonya Renee Taylor titled “Your Body is Not an Apology”. It’s a relatively short manifesto that confronts how we treat our bodies, where we learned how to treat our bodies, and how to break out of a self-loathing, body-shaming lifestyle. It not only confronts how the world influences us, but also challenges us to no longer be conduits for body-shame against others. This book impressed us so much, and we realized how pervasive body-shame was, that Jan and I were inspired to create a group to share these ideas and to help others process their personal journeys towards “radical self-love” as Taylor coins it.
These group meetings are not just a book-club meeting to discuss various chapters of Taylor’s book, even though many discussions are focused around certain topics. As trained therapists, we have created a curriculum for participants in the group to reflect, process, and understand their own body-story, to work together to learn what “radical self-love” is, and to practice “radical self-love” in their own lives and with the other participants. These sessions ask participants to be vulnerable about their story, to see the dignity in others as they connect with shared experiences, and to unlearn hard-wired ways of thinking that society has told us our entire lives are “normal”. It’s not designed to be easy, but the reward is immense, as you will see yourself and others in a vastly different way. Your one and only guaranteed life partner is yourself, so why not have an incredible relationship with it?
Sessions for this group are starting soon, and if this topic interests you, and you want to take that step towards radical self-love, contact us as soon as possible to get that journey started!