“I am the most important person in the world to me”
Finding Mindfulness and Purposeful Self-love
Judging by the name, I thought Positive Psychology would be focused on happiness and how to achieve that state of mind. I thought the emphasis would be given to behaviors and methods to accomplish happiness. I didn’t expect to go through the class and participate first hand using the methodologies of Positive Psychology. Of course, the class wasn’t only about finding happiness but about having a healthy mind ,using tactics to reach that point using FLOW, mindfulness, and purposeful self-love.
Accepting our Perfect Self
Listening to Caira Lee’s Tedtalk was my Ah-Ha moment. I’ve struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember. This is not the first time I learned about the concept of self-love but the way in which Lee delivered the message of radical self-love really impacted me. She calls it a radical action, a rebellion, an extreme act; which was mind-blowing to learn to assume that loving ourselves is something everybody should be doing already. She referred to a website called The body is not an Apology and after exploring the site I came across a question, what is body terrorism?
It was explained as the historical and contemporary violence associated with body hatred. The website’s mission is focused on healing and standing up for the devastating impact of hating our bodies and having others hate our bodies. This concept is not only applicable to women but to everyone on this earth. From the color of our skin to our sexual orientation to our gender to something as trivial as our fashion sense. We are to be self-love radicals, and do what we were taught not to do. Fat? Don’t need to diet, we are perfect in our bodies now. Wrinkles? Don’t need that wrinkle cream, we are perfect in our bodies now. Gay or lesbian? Nothing wrong with us, we are perfect in our bodies.
The site is an excellent resource for all who want to be aware of what self-love is and how to propagate the idea of self-love and the love and respect for one another. Being a parent of two girls I have thought about how am I going to approach this idea of beauty standards when it arises and this site has awesome articles on the topic. To conclude, I recently began practicing affirmations and truly focusing on how my body is amazing as it is, flaws, giggles, stretch marks and all. Thank you, Caira Lee and Professor Soots, for the incredible inspiration.
Self-love: From External Disapproval to Internal Approval
Some might think that self-love is superficial and vain but the reality is that the way in which we perceive ourselves reflects the way in which we behave in the world and how others treat us. What we see ourselves as is what we become and that is the energy we put out. Before starting the class, I didn’t consider myself to have low self-esteem. Of course, I wasn’t thinking of how great I was or how beautiful my body was. Definitely not. But I wasn’t beating down on my body either, so I thought I was okay. The thing is that my self-esteem issues are quiet and sneaky. Like the time my family and I went to the beach but I wouldn’t dare take off my sundress or when I looked at the grays in my hair and the bags under my eyes and looked at my reflection with disapproval.
This class, specifically this concept of self-love put those ideas into perspective. Who made me think that if my body is not toned and blemish free that I am not allowed to show it, or that I am not allowed to age or look tired? I listened to Jess Baker’s talk from the site The Militant Baker, and she gives shocking statistics on how badly we, especially women are affected by these unattainable standards and ideas. 95% of women are unhappy with their bodies which it’s not surprising that almost all models in stream media look nothing like the average American women.
It’s obvious that these ideas leave us feeling unworthy and inadequate. So we buy products and do things to become like those women in the magazines who on their own are unique but more so are almost always photo-shopped and enhanced. Not only that but we harm our mental health with negative talk. Thank goodness though for neuro-plasticity and the ability our brains have to rewire and think positively about ourselves. The journey of self-love is an ongoing one but the hardest part is to start, the rest will follow into place.
About the author: Maria Kesel is a teacher-student at Chaminade University, mother of two, the chocolate-loving gal who enjoys the simple pleasures of life. Nature is her medicine and long hikes, beach days and waterfalls are the perfect prescriptions for those days when things don’t go as planned.