Today, in the U.S., we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., who had an incredible dream and helped make it a reality. Inspired by his powerful speech and Therese Borchard’s beautiful piece, every year I republish a post on my personal dream (which I’ve updated since last year). It’s a dream that focuses on everything from how we treat each other to how we treat ourselves.
I have a dream that our society will stop judging, shaming and bullying people because of their size, shape and weight.
I have a dream that we’ll focus on cultivating healthy habits instead of remaining chained to the numbers on our scales (or calipers or clothes).
I have a dream that airbrushed images will be a thing of the past. Instead, we’ll embrace reality, authenticity and imperfection (i.e., humanity).
I have a dream that women’s magazines along with television and movies feature people of all shapes and sizes.
I have a dream that women’s magazines will stop perpetuating body shame and food guilt and empower us instead.
I have a dream that we’ll stop bonding over bashing our bodies (or others’ bodies) and counting calories. That instead we’ll talk about our dreams, and laugh a whole lot more.
I have a dream that we’ll start taking compassionate care of ourselves and enjoying our lives right now, instead of waiting until we’ve lost weight, and thereby finally supposedly deserve it.
I have a dream that the media — movies and TV shows included — will stop stereotyping and typecasting fat people.
I have a dream that people will stop apologizing for their appearance.
I have a dream that we start relinquishing our most stubborn shoulds.
I have a dream that schools will stop outlawing cupcakes and other foods to control the “obesity epidemic.”
I have a dream that our government will focus their energy on promoting enjoyable exercise and movement, eating competence and size diversity, instead of on dieting, weight loss and other methods that don’t work and only further body hatred and discrimination.
I have a dream that diet supplements and pills are taken off the shelves (and thereby so are their false and shaming magazine and TV ads).
I have a dream that people will give themselves unconditional permission to eat and nourish their bodies.
I have a dream that people will genuinely enjoy eating dessert instead of feeling an overpowering, palpable guilt like they’ve committed a sin after they’ve eaten a brownie or two.
I have a dream that we’ll stop determining people’s health by their appearance.
I have a dream that doctors will stop recommending diets for kids and adults; that they’ll stop recommending weight loss as a cure-all; that patients will be looked at as people, as whole individuals, who need better solutions than the words, “you need to lose weight.”
I have a dream that diets and weight loss are no longer viewed as treatment goals for binge eating disorder, because they only exacerbate the disorder and sabotage recovery.
I have a dream that parents won’t feel like failures if their kids are fat (and our society won’t judge them that way either).
I have a dream that we won’t feel like failures when we gain weight; that we won’t call ourselves cruel names; that we’ll acknowledge we’re upset, and focus on loving ourselves anyway.
I have a dream that everyone will realize that you can’t hate yourself to health and well-being.
I have a dream that people will understand the power of self-care and that each individual gets to define and decide what self-care looks like for them–just like we get to decide what success, exercise, health and happiness look like, too. These are very personal things.
I have a dream that we’ll realize that it’s OK (and good) to put ourselves first. After all, we can give most from a full well.
I have a dream that we remember to play, and that each of us is creative. As Lucia Capacchione said, “Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good.”
I have a dream that we give ourselves full permission to feel our feelings, that we accept them as they are, without judging ourselves for being sad or anxious when we supposedly shouldn’t feel the way we really feel.
I have a dream that we stop spending so much time with people who don’t appreciate or support us. That we question the notion that we deserve ill treatment because of the way we look, or because someone, once or repeatedly, said we aren’t good enough.
I have a dream that we’ll approach 2016 in ways that nourish, inspire, invigorate and uplift us, instead of picking punitive resolutions that make us feel like we’ve done something wrong and we deserve to be reprimanded.
I have a dream that we’ll pause regularly, pay closer attention, really look at each other and marvel at our world.
I have a dream that you’ll remind yourself that you’re not alone in your struggles (whatever these struggles may be) and you’ll remind yourself that you’re strong for seeking help. And that pain is temporary, and it, too, shall pass. That though things may look bleak today, with support and the sunrise, they might look brighter tomorrow.
I have a dream that you’ll love your body and yourself just as you are, in all your powerful, beautiful glory. And if you don’t just yet that you’ll let kindness lead the way. One small, feasible step at a time.
What are your dreams?