Building self-acceptance and a positive body image is a daily process. Like anything else, it’s a process with ups and downs.
It’s taken me a very long time to accept myself and appreciate my body.
I still have times when the appreciation escapes me, but those are few now.
And those times when we don’t feel so great are OK. We use those as learning experiences and try to move on.
But we still need a good foundation of solid self-acceptance and a positive body image.
I’m thrilled to present my interview with Rosie Molinary, author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance. (I received a free copy.) This book is packed with thoughtful and inspiring activities that help readers build a more positive body image and self-image overall every day for one year.
Below, Rosie talks about her own journey to self-acceptance and gives readers suggestions for finding self-acceptance, too.
Stay tuned for part two of our interview tomorrow!
Q: What inspired you to write Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance?
A:After I wrote Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, which was about the coming of age experiences of Latinas, I was struck by how the conversation in the book about body image and beauty perception as well as the messages shared about those issues – that we are all enough, that our uniqueness is beautiful – were universally embraced by women.
Women are really hungering for affirmation of what they inherently know to be true – we are all enough – and guidance for how to let that truth shine out in them.
I have always been particularly interested in journaling and in creating and taking actionable steps towards a larger goal and so the idea of putting together an action plan and empowerment guide for women where they could put together the pieces to their larger goal of loving and accepting themselves seemed like a natural next step to me.
Q: Can you talk about your own journey to self-acceptance and a positive body image?
A: For a significant part of my coming of age, I struggled with how I was different (I am Puerto Rican and grew up in South Carolina at a time when there were very few Latinos in the community). And then I ultimately came to this moment of clarity where I realized that waiting for a consistent reaction to my looks, my reality might mean that I was going to wait for a long time — even forever because I couldn’t control how other people took me in.
All I could control was how I embraced myself. And that was a big first step to feeling peace with my physicality.
From there, I decided that I would do my best to treat my body well and that the journey was really the point—not getting to a destination of thinness or long, raven hair or whatever the case may be – but journeying through how to love and be loved which ultimately makes me feel much better than thinness or long hair ever could.
If I had to describe how I feel about my body now, it would be peace. My body’s not as strong as I’d like for it to be and it’s not as picture-perfect as some bodies are, but the truth is that it has truly never betrayed me.
That is not to say that I have never, in the past, wished that it looked different. There have been those times.
What I mean by saying that it has never betrayed me is that it has gotten me through everything I have asked of it—100+ plus mile bike rides, long hikes, night times spent patrolling a beach in Trinidad to protect leatherback turtles, accompanying my father through chemotherapy treatment for an advanced lymphoma five years ago and then sitting for days, capable, by my ailing father’s bedside in ICU last month despite the fact that I tend to have a pretty severe queasiness around benign medical issues (I was so reassured by the fact that when it mattered, my body and mind rose to the occasion and did not check out), waking for every wailing episode of my son’s infancy (and there were so many) and then sustaining me through the next day in a way that allowed me to appropriately mother despite the lack of sleep.
My body has done everything I have asked of it, and, for a long time, it did it with very little gratitude from me. When I think about how unkind I have been with my thoughts toward my body while it has simultaneously been so kind to my soul with all that it has allowed me to accomplish, I am humbled.
I wish to not ever be that unkind to the vessel that I’ve been given to enjoy and experience this life again. So, that’s the promise I made to my body years ago. You’ve been good to me. I will be good, in all of its manifestations, back.
Q: In your book, you write that we can find self-acceptance by assessing where we are, seeing where we’ve been and planning on where we’re going. Can you talk about some ways we can do that?
A: Journaling is a really valuable tool in our journey to self-acceptance and so while the book has many actionable, tangible steps for readers, it also has plenty of journal prompts designed to provoke both reflection and movement.
I mentioned a few strategies in my answer to the above question, but now I’ll add a couple journal prompts for each one of us to tackle as we take on these concepts.
- Seeing where we’ve been: How has body image impacted your daily life and outlook over the years? What have been your challenges and triumphs in your life?
- Assessing where we are: How do you feel about yourself? Why is this the case? What will a healthy sense of self and a health life give to you?
- Planning where we’re going: What are your hopes, personally and for the world, with regard to body image, beauty perception, and self-acceptance? How can you begin to live your hopes today?
Thank you, Rosie, so much for speaking with me!
What has helped you in cultivating self-acceptance? What are some things you can do day to day to build a better body image?