Fitbloggin 2012: The power of “me too”

“Empathy is the antidote to shame. If you put shame in a petri dish it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and dose it with empathy it cannot survive. The two most powerful words when we are in struggle: “me too.”
Brené Brown

Mara, me and Karen. Photo by Susan.

It took about two minutes to go from worrying that no-one to would get up to the mic at our Self Acceptance and Weight Loss discussion to wishing we could keep going all afternoon. It was a moving, magnificent tear-fest!

This live-blog post (thanks Kim!) gives you a feel of the session but for the full effect, just imagine a gigantic lump in your throat and an overwhelming urge to hug stranger-friends ;)

kleenex

I don’t think it was just my overly-emotional brain but this year it felt like there was more curiosity about and embracing of the idea of self-acceptance. It’s easy to get tangled up in semantics and definitions, but from the stories I heard and conversations I had, so many of us are done with the whip-cracking, bullying approach and are being kinder with ourselves as we make healthy changes.

As Mara said at the time we didn’t want to leave everyone “on the edge of the cliff” after such an intense session, so we created a free e-book called Self Acceptance 101. We also wrote it so there’d be something for those not at the conference.

In the book we each address the questions posed in the discussion, including:

  • What does self-acceptance mean?
  • How can you make peace with your imperfections?
  • Does self-acceptance mean you’ll never lose weight?
  • How can we cultivate a community around love and acceptance instead of negative self-talk and comparison?
  • How can you begin to develop a blueprint for your life – that works for you – even when it doesn’t look a bit like anything you see anywhere else?

Many of my answers are things I’d meant to blog about but never quite managed to put into words. Nothing like deadline to put a fire under your butt, eh?!

You can download the e-book here. Hope you enjoy!

Huge cheers to everyone who came along to our session and to Roni Noone for the bold idea of ditching the traditional conference panel format, which resulted in a great space for a kickarse conversation.

Finally thank you to my buddies Karen Anderson and Mara Glaztel. I confess I developed huge crushes on them after last year’s conference, so to work with them on the e-book and discussion was one of those warm fuzzy I can’t believe this gets to be my LIFE! moments.

P.S. Just a warning, I have about ten posts brewing about this USA trip. Brace yourselves for unbridled enthusiasm!

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27 thoughts on “Fitbloggin 2012: The power of “me too”

  1. Oh…the Self Acceptance Session…sh*t got REAL, no?

    You guys did an amazing job, and you’re absolutely right, the idea of it was embraced in a much larger way this year. I know it definitely had an effect on me.

    Pretty sure you guys helped change some lives this year. Might sound like a bold statement, but I stand by it. :)

    • Steve that’s fab. I loved when you stood up and said, “I was ready to call bullshit on this self-acceptance thing, but…” and that made the long plane so worth it right there :)

  2. Am reading the e-book now over coffee. It’s making me a bit teary…just when I think I’ve got a handle on some of these things, I find out how much I need to be reminded and how my work isn’t finished…thank you all so much for putting it together!!

  3. I started to read the self-acceptance book last night but had to stop for a bit because I know I need to work on some of these things with my counselor. If I read it all now I’ll glaze over it and say “yeah, yeah.” But the session was such a powerful way to know there are others like me who struggle with the self-acceptance but are finding our own ways to work on it.

    Thank you to all three of you ladies for a session that provided a place for me to not just say the right words but want to actually believe them.

    <3 you Shauna!

  4. I wish I’d been there, but mainly because I can’t understand a word of the e-book because I just can’t get my head around the concept. I really can’t. I know what you’re all trying to say, and I’m sure it’s great, and I’ve read the whole ebook (which is great and very easy to read, thanks), but… the concept is just something I don’t understand. I don’t WANT to accept myself, because I don’t like or respect myself, so why should I ‘accept’ a person who I don’t want to be? *shrugs* Perhaps I need to do more reading, but really at the moment the whole thing is absolutely alien to me. *sad*

    (ps. Is there a line missing from the bottom of page 12? )

    • Sarah, hugs! I respectfully suggest that you put yourself at the top of your list of important people in your life. Could you try to step outside of yourself and spend a few moments thinking of yourself as if you were, in fact, a dear friend, sister, or daughter instead of your “self”? I bet it’s not hard to fathom talking to/about these people in your lives with loving kindness. Test it out, talking to/about yourself as you would to/about them. Cultivate that habit more and more. This is what you deserve from yourself every day, always! <3

    • Re p12: It’s one missing word I think: “acceptance”.

      It’s a process and very very very long and difficult one that needs a lot of patience and kindness. It has taken me years to learn anything remotely resembling patience and kindness. Anyone can see the ups and downs of the process just by looking at the vastly varying widths of my body over recent times ;)

      I’m not sure how it starts… I think for me it was realising that what I was doing was making me miserable and I couldn’t go another decade of Monday Is A New Day.

      Go easy on your good self, try to give yourself some credit for all the huge changes you’ve made. And please know that you have a huge tribe of people who ALWAYS care about you as you are right now even when you cannot :)

      Perhaps give yourself time to read some new things and digest some new ideas if you a curious? Decades of seeing yourself a certain way are not altered overnight but it’s never too late to try something different. You can call me any time at all if you want to talk about this shit.

      (comment was edited after posting to add a couple more paras :)

  5. Fantastic photo! I love seeing several bloggers together – we do meet in real life sometimes!
    So happy (and jealous) that you had a fantastic trip and bring on the unbridled enthusiasm :)
    The topic of self-acceptance is important, but I hate that it is so hard. So yay for the e-book :)

  6. Thank you gazillions for your comments folks. I know it can be a confusing and bewildering topic but hopefully the more we talk the more we can unravel it :)

  7. As you know I am grappling with the self-acceptance issue myself – as are so many of us. I think more and more of us are realising that by hating ourselves and our bodies we re continuing to make bad decisions in our lives because we don’t think we (or our bodies) deserve better.

    I’ve downloaded the eBook and, although I wasn’t there, still want to thank the three of you for sharing yourselves with the fitbloggin’ community.

    Deb

  8. I’m reading this and feeling sad and as though it’s all just another big job to do :(. I need some friends

  9. Hey Shauna,

    I just found this article on LifeHacker and thought I’d share in case you hadn’t seen it yet–it’s about self-compassion and success: link to lifehacker.com
    It made me immediately think of this blog post.

    Nikki

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