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!

When you’re working on your body image, one challenge you might run into is other people. Others might tell you that you need to change yourself, lose weight or try such and such diet to really accept yourself.

They might view self-care as selfish and question what you’re doing. They might see your attempts to appreciate your body as useless or even silly.

This weekend I watched Brené Brown’s talk at this year’s 99 Conference on Lisa Congdon’s beautiful blog. Brené Brown, a bestselling author and researcher, talked all about the critics.

She talked about reading the comments on various websites about her work. Except they weren’t about the work. Instead, many comments were personal attacks about her looks and family.

I think it’s so easy and natural to get caught up in negative comments and attacks. They may shake our self-worth. They may make us second-guess ourselves and doubt why we’re trying to be kinder to ourselves in the first place.

They might persuade us to give up, and just stop what we’re doing.

They might even sound exactly like the comments you’ve been telling yourself your entire life.

Who do you think you are to take care of yourself? Any free time should be devoted to your family. Who do you think you are to like your body? It’s disgusting, remember? You need to lose weight first. Everyone around you is on a diet. What makes you think you shouldn’t be?

While Brené doesn’t talk about body image or self-care directly, I think her talk is a vital reminder for us. Brené is a researcher who studies vulnerability, shame, courage and worthiness.

Trying to appreciate your body, change habits that don’t nourish you and question thoughts that don’t serve you are all vulnerable and courageous acts, especially so in our current culture which glorifies dieting, demonizes fat and discourages people from embracing our bodies and ourselves unconditionally.

The below video speaks to all of this. In her incredible talk, Brené reminds us about the power of showing up. Of showing up for ourselves and what really matters to us.

The people around you may not understand why you’ve given up dieting, why you’ve trashed your scale or why you’ve stopped bashing your body while everyone else curses their ugly thighs.

That’s OK. They don’t have to.

Acknowledge that these critics exist. Acknowledge the critic in your own mind, the one that may be even meaner than the outside critics.

Acknowledge all of them. As Brené says, let them know: “I see you. I hear you. But I’m going to show up and do this, anyway. I’ve got a seat for you, and you’re welcome to come. But I’m not interested in your feedback.”

Keep showing up. Keep trying and experimenting. Keep standing in the arena, engaging in the activities and actions that serve you, practicing your priorities and living out your values.