Body Image, Spirituality & Self-Esteem: Q&A with Rev. Laurie Sue
Today, I’m happy to feature an interview with Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway, the Inspiration, Love and Family Editor at Beliefnet and author of 13 books, including: Goddess Pages, Wedding Goddess and Your Interfaith Wedding. Plus, she’s an interfaith minister. How cool is that!
I initially contacted Rev. Laurie Sue after reading her article on Beliefnet about how we can honor ourselves, which I referred to on Weightless. That’s when I knew I had to speak to her.
Below we talked about everything from being a goddess to her favorite body image tip to becoming more spiritual – all of which may help you improve your self-image overall.
Q: In some of your writing, you talk about treating ourselves as goddesses. What does this mean?
A: Women tend to put men on pedestals but we don’t climb up there ourselves. In order to elevate our self esteem we need to start seeing the true divinity within and allow our inner light to shine. And we have to allow ourselves to access the authentic power and charm that is already inside. Women truly suffer, and are held back in life, due to issues of low self-esteem; it is a modern epidemic. So the idea of women as goddesses helps us along, because goddesses are powerful, beautiful forces of nature. They embrace and own all aspects of self and they do not apologize for who they are or what they do. We can all use a bit of that in our lives.
Q: You also write a lot about self-esteem. What are some meaningful ways we can build a stable self-esteem?
A: It is amazing how those of use with low self-esteem see ourselves as “lesser than” who we are, while those who know what we are about see us in a completely different light—as beautiful, capable, fabulous. Some of us stay steadfast in denial of our own beauty, intelligence and abilities. We really have to come to a point of “getting” who we truly are.
In the best cast scenario, of course, we would transform ourselves from the inside out, through authentic self-appreciation and self-love. Yet some of us need a little help. Meditation, prayer, visualization and engaging in inner work that helps you get in touch with who you truly are inside—these are all helpful. We can also begin to consciously access our power from our external lives –through art, movement, dance, or self expression of some form. Doing what we love to do in the world is a great help to boosting self esteem.
Q: Many think that self-love and self-esteem are synonymous. However, self-love goes beyond self-esteem. Self-love is completely loving and respecting yourself. How do we learn to love ourselves unconditionally?
A: Think about your children, your beloved, or even your pets—any being who you would do anything for. Think of friends you love and adore. Think of causes that you passionately support and the job you love. The answer lies in all of these things – we must love ourselves the way we love others, and the way we love the things we do in life. Many of us give our love freely to others but not to ourselves. Time to give it to ourselves as well. We have to be the first to see how deserving we are of love and stop trying to talk ourselves out of it.
Q: I recently interviewed professor Michelle Lelwica, Th.D., who talks about the importance of connecting to your spirituality, and greater purpose, which also helps to diminish our obsessions with and pursuit for thinness. As an interfaith minister, you can offer some great insight into becoming more spiritual. What would you like readers to know about spirituality and about discovering or deepening one’s spirituality?
A: I am a big fan of living spiritually. I can’t imagine not being spiritual. Yet spirituality is a very personal, subjective experience. Some people turn away from spirituality because they choose to turn away from religion. It is important to know that you can have a deep spiritual life without dogma or, even, religion. Focusing on a higher purpose in life can transform us in many ways. When you make the pursuit of spiritual truth the focus of your life, you are more likely to feel fulfilled—and filled up. You are less likely to obsess about the external. You still may want to be thinner, but you know that this is not your only goal or path in life. And you might be more inclined to fill up on inspiration, than chocolate.
Q: What are some of your favorite tips for boosting body image?
A: This is my favorite over the past two decades. Look into the mirror in the morning before you go to work and at night before you go to bed. Connect deeply to your own eyes and recognize the beautiful being inside you. Let your heart open to yourself. And say: I love you. You are beautiful. You are a bright light. You are loved. Then blow yourself a kiss.
Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know about body image, spirituality, your work or another related topic?
A: Women have to find the place in our hearts for ourselves. It is that simple. Love yourself and know that this is not selfish or imbalanced. As they tell you when you get on a plane, when traveling with a child, put on your oxygen mask first. We cannot be strong or supportive to others until we have good self-support to uphold us.
Thanks so much, Rev. Laurie Sue, for your insight! Read more from Rev. Laurie Sue on Self-Esteem and Self-Love on Beliefnet.
Today’s favorite post. “OK, I Know This Sounds Cheesy, But: Have You Talked to Your Inner Child Lately?” at HealthyGirl.
Tartakovsky, M. (2010). Body Image, Spirituality & Self-Esteem: Q&A with Rev. Laurie Sue. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 25, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2010/08/body-image-spirituality-self-esteem-qa-with-rev-laurie-sue/