I am enough-You are enough-We are enough. Speech 2016.

19p1030251In September, 2016, I had the privilege of speaking at the Cincinnati NEDAwareness walk and bringing #ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance! to Ohio. You can watch the speech right here (and/or selected parts are pasted below). For short (2-3 minute speeches) that help inspire about self-acceptance, visit www.ShakeItforSelfAcceptance.com

 

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I am enough. You are enough. We are enough.

(You’ll need to watch to experience this…)

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. . . Now, I imagine you might be thinking “#ShakeIt” means shake your bootie. Not necessarily! Actually, #ShakeIt can mean many things—shake it up, shake it out, shake it off—meaning, change that moves towards greater self-acceptance—and yes…#ShakeIt meaning body. We do. We shake it—our arms, legs, bootie, everything—to empower body, soul and self-acceptance.. . . 

. . . Today, I want to focus on the qualities we possess, INSIDE, that make us truly unique. How there can be a helpful and harmful side to each. And how to tap into these powerful attributes and let them help you to move towards a full, healthy, meaningful, and self-accepting life!

First, let’s be clear, and for some, this may feel hard to take in—there’s a unique combination of traits inside each of us that make each of us TRULY unique—genuinely distinct from each other. Seriously, there is no other person who has the EXACT combination of inner qualities and ways of thinking and being that are yours.

Second, there is a light and dark side—you may even judge it as good and bad—to your inner qualities. For many years, I had eating disorders. Looking back, part of what kept me in the eating disorders was actually what I know now is one of my best and strongest qualities—my persistence. Now persistence is usually seen as an all good trait, right? Not so much when it’s applied to supporting an eating disorder. I had to meet, greet, get to know, and accept the light and dark—helpful and harmful—of my persistence and learn to use it wisely.

This is an eating disorder event, so many of us know someone with an eating disorder. Well, here’s an exercise to get us all on the same page: think about one quality or trait that it takes to be good at having an eating disorder. Whatever comes to your mind—(pause)—even if it feels negative or judgy, it’s OK. Got one? OK. Hold onto it—remember it.
 

You may see a quality as good or bad, but there is usually a good AND bad to it—helpful AND harmful, light AND dark.

When I’ve asked this question, I’ve heard answers such as “controlling,” “manipulative” and “competitive.” Well, OK. Let’s look at those qualities.

If a person seems “controlling,” which can be seen as a dark quality, maybe it means the person actually has incredible attention to detail. Ability to put things in order. “Manipulative,” well, doesn’t that mean that the person has the power of persuasion? Isn’t that also a helpful trait in a leadership position? If we think of “competitive,” (a word we sometimes whisper) doesn’t that mean that the person has motivation in them?

If we listed those qualities as skills on a job resume—attention to detail, organizational skills, power of persuasion, and motivation—they’re pretty compelling traits, yes? Well those are inner qualities that can be used for the person’s benefit or harm. Just about any personal trait can range from supportive to destructive. It depends on how we use it.

Remember the trait you picked as a quality it takes to be good at having an eating disorder? Light and dark. What may be helping support an eating disorder—or other struggles—might actually be amazing, useful inner qualities that can be used for your good, society’s good, greater good, and so on and so on and so one. THIS is a way to work towards increasing your own self-acceptance—meeting, greeting and getting to know the light, the dark, and shades in between that help make up the unique you.

Now, let’s look at how my persistence actually served in getting #ShakeIt created—yet, that same persistence helped keep me sick, too.. . . 

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OK… Before I close, I want to share seven things that I think everyone needs to know about eating issues and mental health.
 

  1. Body dissatisfaction has been linked to poor self-esteem, depression, and more. OK, fine, but what is a body? Isn’t it a whole person? I’m not just a body up here. We are more than our bodies! *Here’s a tip I think helps to remind us that we are more than our shapes, weight or looks: Instead of saying to someone, “You look great” tell that someone WHY you think that THEY ARE great.
  1. You can have an eating disorder and may not know it.
  1. You don’t choose to get an eating disorder. Research indicates these are biologically-driven illnesses. Meaning, you have a existing vulnerability and then stuff happens to push the ON button. Getting an ED is not a choice—getting better, can be.
  1. Anyone can get an eating disorder: they don’t discriminate.
  1. Extreme emotion or moodiness can LOOK LIKE mental health disorders but can actually be from medical reasons or from someone’s diet (yes, even diets that look super healthy). Talking to a medical or mental health professional can be a strong starting point towards healing.
  1. Eating disorders are treatable illnesses. There is hope.
  1. For so many mental health conditions, early intervention is key. So please get—or keep on talking.

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In conclusion, I ask you – what might be getting in the way of your self-acceptance?

Self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you love everything about you. It’s OK if there’s stuff you want to work on or even simply tolerate. It’s about KNOWING and ACCEPTING all parts of you—light, dark, shades in between—with the same kindness that you treat the people you love.

At any time, any one of us may benefit from support or professional help, and there is no shame in reaching out. Asking for help. Getting talking! There is hope, and there is help.. . .

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Remember to #ShakeIt—shake it up, shake it out, shake it off, and shake your bodies—for Self-Acceptance! today and everyday. Thank you!

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