The First Pillar: Whole-Self Love [Part 1- Personal Empowerment Overview]

The 1st Pillar of Transformational Positivity is Whole-Self Love. It’s the beginning of your personal revolution, a shift in positivity that leads to your most empowered, on-going transformation. Why?

• Because it invites us to daily disrupt our old patterns of negative self-talk and allows us to begin seeing who and what we really are in our wholeness. We develop a loving & supportive way of relating to ourselves that is personally healing and breaks the cycles of negativity.

• Because it allows us to question and rebel against the negative messages that have been sent to us about our bodies from the industries that benefit from making us feel like shit. We discover & create inspiring new communities of radical acceptance that feel like a celebration and a homecoming.

• Because it requires us to push back against and break the oppressive systems designed to keep us small & muzzled. We begin to take back the control that we didn’t even realize we were giving away, and create a powerful new paradigm of true equality as sentient, autonomous beings.

Some things I must acknowledge

Changing behavior is uncomfortable. Changing paradigms is uncomfortable. Facing our inner sh*t is triggering as f*ck. It’s often a bit messy and clunky and awkward and imperfect, until it isn’t, and we find ourselves finally moving forward little by little by little.

I think it’s important to acknowledge that doing the personal work of Transformational Positivity has some common factors that almost everyone will relate to, and there will also be very specific factors that are going to be unique to the individual. Especially within the 1st Pillar of Whole-Self Love, we will each come to the work with our own biases and lived experiences in tow. Some things to consider:

  • Am I a member of the dominant culture? Do I hold certain privileges based on that? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who has been systemically marginalized because of their race, gender, economics, etc.
  • Did I grow up experiencing a supportive family structure? Did I experience any forms of abuse as a child? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who has also had to overcome a difficult upbringing and/or adverse childhood experiences.
  • Am I able-bodied? Am I generally in good health? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who also has to navigate within our ableist culture. My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who must also manage a physical health crisis and/or mental health issues.

Before I steer too far out of my lane, let me be clear in saying that there is room for ANYONE and EVERYONE to do this beautiful and empowering work of Whole-Self Love. For some of us, we will need to do some deeper healing (yes please). We may need to work with a qualified therapist to help us get past our old patterns of recreating pain (I have and I do).

The point of looking at these considerations is NOT to create more shame. It is to acknowledge that each one of us has a story that is beautiful (even the ugly bits), powerful (even in our failings), and worthy of love.

The Pervasiveness of Body Shaming

Like 9/10 people reading this, I have experienced body shaming and I have struggled with my self image. For me, it started pretty early on in childhood at school- by kids and by teachers- and then again in church, and later on in my intimate relationships and even in my professional life- especially when I was working as an exotic dancer and a model, but even when I was working in corporate office jobs and non-profit organizations my body was somehow offensive.

There is a common language of shaming and degrading that seems to be inescapable. It’s a destructive narrative continuously amplified by the media: Too Much, while at the exact same time, Not Enough. To which, I call Bullshit. Among the many damning comments I’ve received for simply existing: “Too Fat. Too Skinny. Too White. Too Freckled. Too Old. Too Young. Too Curvy. Too Narrow. Too Wrinkly. Too Bumpy. Too Slow. Too Fast. Too Slutty. Too Frumpy. Too Loud. Too Quiet. Too Opinionated. Too Bitchy,”…and on and on and on. If it’s a crappy thing to say to a person, I’ve had it said to me, and I must admit that at different times on this journey I’ve said it to or about someone else. If the comments weren’t directed at me, then they were directed at or behind the back of someone else. When I wasn’t personally reeling from hearing the poisonous words, I was either feeding them back to myself or flinging them carelessly at someone else. Ugh.

It’s no wonder that we struggle with basic self-care skills, let alone the practice of Whole-Self Love. But that’s why it’s so important to me that we have the awareness, that we have the knowledge, and that we have the tools to experience our life in these crazy-amazing human bodies as the whole, complete, brilliant beings that we truly are. Whole-Self Love teaches us how to tap into a level of Positivity that can truly transform our old stories of pain into masterpieces of healing love.