Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

In her exquisite book This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart, author Susannah Conway features an excerpt from David Whyte’s 2007 poem “Sweet Darkness”:

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet

confinement of your aloneness

to learn

anything or anyone

that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

I love these words. I love these words because they remind us that anything that doesn’t lift us up, inspire us or bring us joy just isn’t worth our time or energy.

I’m not talking about the beautiful things in life that also sometimes bring us stress: kids, partners, our profession.

Rather this makes me think about the people, places and things that derail our body image — and every other area of our lives.

For instance, last week I wrote about not reading women’s magazines or “health” publications because too often the last thing they do is bring us alive.

Instead they stifle us. They narrow our world, which becomes not about nourishing ourselves, but about calculating numbers and looking a certain way.

What else in your life is too small for you?

Is it the acquaintance who always talks calorie counts and criticizes other people’s weight? Is it your book collection, which looks more like a who’s who of dieting gurus?

Is it the gym you go to which feels cliquey and hyperfocuses on looks? Is it the flavorless microwavable meals you’ve been eating?

Is it your closet which houses scores of ill-fitting clothes? Is it your self-care routine which barely exists?

What is it too small for you?

Take some time, by yourself, to answer this question. When you come up with your biggest smallest things, consider what you can do about them.

How can you let these things go or improve the situation?

How can your environment, including the people, places and things, become more fulfilling and truly bring you alive?