Yesterday I went to see the movie Embrace with my supportive boyfriend. I was delighted to see how well the documentary was put together by director Taryn Brumfitt, founder of Body Image Movement.
This documentary shows the reality about a huge percent of women in the world hate their bodies. Taryn traveled the world interviewing women who have gone through major challenges like body shaming, bulimia, disease, body disfiguration, etc. These women have learned to love their bodies and overcome the public pressure of meeting the beauty standards that the media and beauty industry has set for women.
Unless we have been leaving in a desert island isolated from the world, none of us has been immune to all the exposure about beauty standards. We all have developed body image issues and we all suffer our own struggle with accepting ourselves, loving our bodies and carrying on with life.
We feel helpless and frustrated, we suffocate in our own anguish and suffer silently. Thinking that nobody understand us. Let me tell you, you are not alone. Just talk to the next woman you encounter in your day and you will find out she suffers the same than you.
As a boudoir photographer, I get women to answer a questionnaire before I talk to them on the phone. Most of them, at least 9 in 10, will tell me how they feel about their bodies and self-esteem. They have different degrees of suffering, some are really hurting after an abusive marriage, some have the most common insecurity of not feeling pretty enough and good enough for their husbands, especially after babies.
With all of them, I try to help them turn things around before they decide to do a boudoir session with me. Because the last thing I want is for them to see their images and start picking at all their “flaws”. I want them to have an empowering experience and come to the studio ready to embrace their bodies. It is very fulfilling to see them looking at their images and realize that it was not as bad as their thought. The bad perception of them was all in their heads! They walk out of the studio feeling good about themselves and wanting to do it again in the future.
They wouldn’t have this extent of transformation if I didn’t take the time to talk to each one of them and tell them my own story. I also tell them a very different story about their bodies and now, I want to tell you.
You are not your body.
You are a spiritual being having a human experience. You are a visitor to this human life and you were given a vehicle to get here, get around and experience the human life. This vehicle allows you to experience the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly of this world. The pleasures of this world like food, love, smelling a flower, feeling the wind on your skin, seeing a beautiful sunset, giving birth to a new life, walking, singing as well as hearing beautiful sounds. We also experience the not so good like suffering the loss of a loved one, pain when we break a bone, a rash when we get stung by a bee, and the blessing of being able to cry.
All these are what makes the human experience, and you are here to enjoy every single one of them. Your body is in charge of allowing you to have this experience so you have to use it. Like everything, when you use something, there is wear and tear and with time it won’t look new anymore. It is up to us to do maintenance to keep it in the best shape possible so it lasts us a long time. Just like a car, if you knew you can only have one car from the moment you get your first driver’s licence until the day you die, you would have to do all the maintenance, treat it with care so it can last you all your life.
If you don’t want the car to get old, you keep it in the garage and never drive it. But then you would miss all the benefits and the point of having a car: going to work, protecting yourself from the rain, making out with you boyfriend in the car, taking a road trip, taking your kids to soccer practice, getting fast to the hospital in an emergency.
At the end of your car’s life, it will look old but you will be very thankful for the service it provided you all those years. It is the same with your body, if you don’t want it to get fat, get cellulite, stretchmarks, skin spots, wrinkles and lose muscle mass, then you would have to keep it in the garage. You cannot enjoy food, be in the sun, drink a glass of wine, make love and have babies, do sports that stress your joints, watch any tv that stresses your eyes, listen to a concert that is too loud, do something extreme for the fear of hurting your body. You can’t also engage in any relationship, get a job, and interact with people because you would put stress in your body, cry, be angry and feel frustrated, and that would also cause your body to age.
The point I want to make is that your body is the evidence that you are alive in this world. If we were only spirits in this earth, with not material bodies, we would feel each others presence but we could not have separation and individuality, we would just be a blob of entities, like ghosts.
In order to shift your thoughts about your body and flip the “Magic” button that suddenly makes you feel different and happy, you have to ask the RIGHT QUESTION:
Does It Really Matter How I Look As Long As I Love The Way I Feel?
Think about this for a second. Your negative feelings about your body are just thoughts. These thoughts are NOT YOU. It is just an amount of energy that resides in your brain and creates a feeling for you.
Who Would You Be Without These Thoughts?
If your negative thoughts about your body didn’t exist, how would you feel?
In the old days, sailors were convinced that if they sailed beyond the horizon, they would fall out of the earth into the abyss. They were so afraid of this thought that for centuries they kept themselves close to the coast and lived literally trapped in a small area of the world. But one day, one person dared to go further and further and realized that there was no limit in the horizon. Then the entire humanity changed this collective thought about Earth having a limit and they expanded their beliefs, lost their fear and got curious about how far they could go.
How far can you go if you remove the limiting beliefs about you? Who would you be if you eliminate certain thoughts? What would you dare to do? What new thoughts about you would you have?
Do you think this is BS? Women around the world are actively changing their thoughts just like that. They decide to THINK different and this leads to FEEL different. Can you handle it?
Can you handle feeling good about you regardless of your physical body looks? Does it really matter what your body looks IF YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOU?
I invite you to watch the movie Embrace. This movie is a great help to assist you in flipping that switch that is holding you back. When you flip that switch, is like turning all the pain off. You will perceive life differently, will focus on the things that really matter: your family, your health, your happiness, your relationships, love, you will finally start enjoying food, make love with the lights on, wear the bikini you always wanted to wear, work on self-improvement. You will become the inspiration to many. You will become the best mother your kids deserve, the best wife to your husband, the best woman for you.
The world is waiting for you, what are you waiting for? There is not tomorrow, there is only NOW.
Body Image Movement – Embrace Movie Trailer
Divorce at any age is tough; some might say it’s harder the longer the relationship is, but I disagree. Pain is pain, and we all suffer to our own capacity. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing people can tell us that will make us feel better – and for most of the time we feel that their comments will make us feel worse – we’ve got enough heartbreak going on without having to deal with people’s pity, however well-meaning.
First up, change your thinking!
When I divorced, so many friends and acquaintances sent me their condolences, but the reality was that I was blessed with happiness! People, we get divorce because we are not happy, so how about a “Congratulations!” and a high five?! At least that is what I do when I welcome my divorced clients to my studio. Every single one of them smiles and tells me that I’m the first person to congratulate them instead of feeling sorry – and that means they feel liberated to say how they’re really feeling. And how’s that? “It was the best decision I made!”
So next time you get a friend telling you she got divorce, please, give her a high five and big hug – she made a courageous decision to break with our society’s norms and think of herself before what other people think. That is true self-love and we need more of it!
How to bounce back from divorce stronger than ever.
I have gone through three divorces so believe me, these steps work like a charm!
We all get a little – or a lot – lost in our relationships, so separation is the perfect time to discover who you really are, without having to think about other peoples’ agendas. Change your look, your hair or style of clothing. Move houses, remodel your home, trade cars… We’re talking anything that gives you the feeling of celebrating the new start you’ve created for yourself.
- Date without an agenda.
A date can be with anyone, not necessarily a potential new partner. It can be a friend, a girlfriend, yourself and even a professional escort – why not? If men can hire a professional escort so can women. A date gives you an opportunity to have a new social life, get made up and wear sexy clothes. Try things you’ve never done before, invite a friend or go alone.
- Open up to every experience that comes your way.
Realize that things do not happen to you – things happen for you. Everything happens for a reason so be curious about people, places and opportunities that come into your life. Anything goes right now!
- Ditch your preconceptions.
When you’re ready to get out there and have a little fun, don’t let your own stereotypes limit your options. For example, many older women believe that younger men are only interested in them because they’re easy prey and desperate for a one night stand. Not true! Men in their 20’s and 30’s find women in their 40’s extremely attractive for very different reasons. The most common ones are that we are;
* Great conversationalists
*Independent and not looking to be saved
*Confident and know what we want
*We have a great sex drive!
Put it like that and you can see why they find us so irresistible! SO with all that in mind…
- Don’t be afraid to be a “cougar”!
As long as you feel good, what people think is none of your business. I have been a cougar and it made me feel so good about myself and also had the opportunity to take care of my needs with someone that had absolutely no emotional attachment to. That really made me feel strong and empowered. If celebrities like Demi Moore and Jennifer Lopez can do it, hell, so can we!
- Try something new.
Maybe there’s something you’ve been thinking about doing “sometime” in your life but left it for “someday”. Live for now girl! Here are some suggestions:
*Try and exciting new sport that’ll get you meeting people and see your confidence grow. I recently went scuba diving and got my certification! If water’s not your thing then boxing might be – just imagine your ex is the target!
*Take a trip to your dream destination – the one your ex never wanted to take you to because he was too cheap or too busy to take the time off. Selfies taken at a hot destination are the best revenge pictures to post!
*Think about getting a pet for some unconditional love in your life. Not able to commit? Then there are way too many animals looking for foster homes so help one out!
*Remind yourself to LOOK HOT! Sexy pictures are a great way to boost our confidence and self-esteem. CLICK HERE to book with my studio, Art of Seduction Boudoir, and I will do your shoot for free, just to show you how delicious you look!
Do you have more ideas on what to do after divorce? I would love to hear them and share them with other women! Send me your ideas to [email protected] with the subject “Life after Divorce”.
Big tabloid this morning, Angelina is filing for divorce (Source @hellogiggles). What I read in the social media news shocked me: if they can’t make it, what is the hope for the rest of us?
We dream so much about having our own perfect marriage and live happily ever after. But because that really doesn’t exist, we fantasize about other’s perfect marriage.
We put social pressure on celebrities to keep it together and perfect so we can feel better about ourselves.
We want to believe in fairy tales so much, we hold strangers accountable to prove to the world that there is the perfect relationship. A relationship that has everything: looks, money, fame, beautiful kids, kindness, etc. As if a perfect relationship ONLY happens if all these things happen at the same time!
So really, what is the hope for the rest of us? Do we really feel we are not worth of the perfect relationship unless we have all the above? All this fairy tail crap that is embedded in our brains from birth has created a concept of happiness that is very distorted and debilitating in our capacity to achieve a fulfilled happy life.
So if I’m not good looking, I’m short, average income or even poor, not famous at all and my partner is as average or less than average than me, we are not worth of happily ever after?
What is happily ever after anyway? We are taught to believe that happiness comes when we find the perfect partner, have the perfect body, lots of money, big house, beautiful well behaved children and of course remain young forever.
This is an illusion and I am proof of it. When I started to make plans for my life as a young girl and started to think what I wanted to be when I grew up, I envisioned I was going to be happy when I found my perfect husband, got a great job, lost weight and had two beautiful children. Of course that never happened.
I spent 20 years of my life in the pursuit of my happiness to achieve this and ended up marring and divorcing three times, starving my body on and off and pretending my engineering job was my passion so I could feel significant with a “smart career”.
One day I asked the right question: “Does it really matter who I am with, what I do or what I have, as long as I love the way I feel about my life?”
That moment my life changed and started to let go of the one obstacle that was stopping me from feeling happy, fulfilled and accomplished about who I am: My own obsession to fit the mold that society expects from women in order to feel worth of love, acceptance and admiration.
I decided to create my own happiness and as long as I was happy, I didn’t care what people thought about me. I embraced my over 40 single life with no kids, I quit my day job as an engineer and lost the fear of jumping full time to my Boudoir photography business and embraced my true talent and passion, capturing the true beauty of real women in sensual photography. Then it got better when I realized that by doing this, I was changing women’s lives! I was helping them feel beautiful and empowered and let go of the societies expectations of looking in certain way in order to deserve the title of “beautiful”.
We are so blessed not to be in the public eye like Angelina, Brad and Jennifer. Their lives get scrutinized every minute of the day and God forbid they start to look old, gain weight, struggle with fertility or any addiction, or face what so many of us face without so much attention from the world, divorce.
Why are they treated so unfairly? They are as human and imperfect as the rest of us. Everything that we say about them in the media is only a reflection of our our fears and disappointment of our lives. Think about it, if we think Angelina and Brad are the dream couple it is because we wish to be the dream couple and the envy of everyone. It becomes more important to us what people think about us and our “perfect marriage” that we will stay there to keep appearances because it makes us feel significant. If we get a divorce, we feel like a failure.
Does anyone get divorce because is super happy? or course not! we get divorced because we are not happy and we want something better for ourselves. So instead of society telling us we are strong and courageous for making a difficult decision to change our lives for the best, it is telling us we are a failure and not good enough.
It is time to stand up for ourselves and pursue our true happiness and in the journey be an inspiration to our children, people we love and strangers that cross our path. We have to let go of the opinions of others, the only person we need to impress is us.
I believe Angelina and Brad had a beautiful life together. I don’t follow public figures that much but I am sure they are beautiful human beings with the normal struggles marriages have. The only difference is that they are public figures and they will have a hard time dealing with the attention of their personal affairs. I send them all my love and support, I believe they are loving parents and will figure out a way deal with this part of their lives in the best way possible.
I know one day all this will pass, as it passed for me after my divorces. They will learn from this, will continue with their lives, loving their kids and doing great humanitarian activities. They do not owe us staying married for the sake of having a Hollywood’s most envied couple.
The same way, we common people, do not owe it to anybody to stay in a relationship that doesn’t makes us happy just for the sake of people’s opinion and judgment. I can tell you, making the decision to get divorced is not easy, I did it three times and every time it was hard because it made me feel like a failure. But it was the best decision every time. Thanks to my relationships, I have become the woman I am today and wouldn’t change a day. I am sure many feel the same and one day we will see a new Angelina and a new Brad and we will still love them dearly.
I really want to use this as an opportunity to help women who are recently divorced to regain their strength and self-worth by offering a complimentary boudoir session. I have walked that path so I understand how you feel. If you or someone you know think would benefit from a boudoir session, don’t hesitate, CLICK HERE to reach out to me and get ready for the most uplifting experiences of your life!
I leave you with a quote from my favorite [email protected] #DaringGreately
This week has been crazy busy shooting all you gorgeous creatures – and let me tell you, you are looking smokin’ hot girlfriends! It’s so important that we all feel confident in who we are and how we look, because living an abundant life is all about loving yourself as you are, right now. That’s what I’ve dedicated my life to – and that’s what Art of Seduction is all about.
Sadly, something happened this week to make me realise that not everybody out there understands this recipe for true joy and abundance.
Was I just body shamed?
I woke up one morning and checked my social media activity. Mostly it was great – heaps of followers had retweeted my body positive posts. All except one… Seeing my picture of a beautiful, curvaceous model, one guy had commented @argentinaleyva – please lose some weight”. What the @!%*? Had I just been body shamed?! Here’s the post so you can see for yourself…
I was seriously pissed! How dare any human being tell another that it’s not OK to love themselves exactly as they are? Now, I know it’d be pretty easy for any of you smart ladies to find out who wrote this, but I’m maintaining his anonymity because having investigated his website, it’s very clear that this guy – for all his macho talk – is incredibly fragile and has many issues to address himself. It’s always the case that body shamers are simply transferring their own insecurities onto another person. Their comments say nothing about the person they’re trying to shame and EVERYTHING about themselves.
Sad isn’t it?
This guy labels himself “The Depression Assassin” and suggests that depression is a “chosen weakness and not some imbalance in your brain that requires medication.” He continues to say that depression – as a weakness – means that “women won’t be attracted to you and men won’t respect you”. And the way out of depression? Work out and get your body to look the way society and the media expect us to look.
See, now you’re feeling sad for him too, aren’t you?
I have a friend who writes and trains in the field of mental health and as she told me, the way out of mental health issues is to love and accept yourself for who you are right now. Telling yourself that you’ll love yourself when you look a certain way just means you’ll never recover from these life-shattering illnesses – however much of a good front you put on to other people!
Although this sad specimen only has 51 followers on Twitter – well that speaks volumes! – I know only too well that body shaming is a real and present danger for us all.
I recently had a conversation with a client who was body shamed by an asshole on the street in public. She is getting married and almost called off the wedding because that asshole made her feel so bad about herself. Just typing that fills me with rage!
Thanks to her bravery and desire to give her future husband a confident wife, she contacted me to do a boudoir session and will be coming into my studio soon. I can’t wait to talk to her. We both cried on the phone about this incident because I lived it as well in my younger years, before I was able to see how truly beautiful I am.
So what to do if you’re body shamed?
When we’re body shamed, our instinct is to recoil and hide, with any confidence we’ve been able to build crushed with one simple hateful comment from a stranger. But one thing I realized when I read this week’s comment on Twitter was this:
A strong wind cannot knock down a well planted oak.
And so his comment didn’t even brush my leaves! It’s so important that we all know how to protect and defend ourselves from ignorant body shame remarks from others – whether they be strangers or someone we know. Here’s my strategy for making sure your leaves don’t even flutter.
- Stop and recognize how the comment makes you feel. Acknowledge that it hurts or makes you angry and that it’s absolutely OK to feel this way.
- Ask yourself: is their message absolutely true? For example, when the guy told me I needed to lose weight, the real message he was trying to force onto me was that I am not worthy of being called beautiful and hence not deserving of love, acceptance and admiration. He was trying to say that I’m not good enough. IS THIS ABSOLUTELY TRUE? You will find the answer is definitely NO!
- Recognize how the thought of needing to look a certain way to be worthy of love makes you feel. Does it make you feel sad, separated from the world, locked up inside, not good enough?
- Immediately take the opposite action. Flip that thought on its head and turn it around, so instead of thinking that you’re not ‘good enough’, tell yourself “I am enough. I am worthy of love and acceptance just as I am”. Repeat that thought until you feel strong, grounded and peaceful again.
- In the words of the wonderful Brené Brown,
“Shame cannot survive being spoken”
Call your best friend, your sister or someone else you can totally trust with your feelings and tell them what just happened. Say the words out loud! Even as you start to hear yourself speak them, I promise you they’ll lose any power they have over you!
My response to the guy on Twitter? Here it is!
How could I do it? Because I truly love myself for who I am right now…
Just like this TOTALLY inspiring woman!
Have you heard of Dana Falsetti? She’s a yoga teacher who is in huge demand across the US and abroad. And let me tell you, this beautiful woman can put her body into shapes that they rest of us can only dream of! Her message is one of love and acceptance – for ourselves and for the bodies we have. Dana believes that our bodies DO NOT set us limits – the only limit to what we can achieve is in our minds. Damn she’s right!
And here’s the incredible lady herself…
I LOVE this woman! Beautiful. Strong. Athletic… and REAL!
When people tell us how we should act or look a certain way, or when they just plain find things wrong with us, remember that it’s not really directed at us, it’s just a reflection of that person’s own issues in this area.
Copy that out and keep it with you at all times!
For instance, in reality it’s my Twitter friend who thinks that he needs to look a certain way to feel that he’s worthy of love, acceptance and respect. So if someone body shames you, bounce it straight back to the person saying those hurtful words, because he/she is the one dealing with the problem, not you. They’re simply trying to liberate their own pain of not being good enough.
Are you ready to beat the body shamers? Let me know your own stories. You can reach me in the comments section below, or on social media – just click on the links below!
Until next time my beautiful, warrior women!