A Former Ballerina Discusses Body Positivity and Self-Talk
We all have a voice inside our head that speaks to us. It’s commonly known as self-talk. When it comes to our self-talk, we tend to see ourselves a lot differently than the people around us do. Think about your own self-talk. Does it encourage body positivity or body negativity? I personally have been fortunate to have very uplifting, positive influences around me. Even then, I sometimes say things to myself that people would NEVER say aloud to me. So where does that critical voice come from? What is the source of that voice, that voice we often value more than the words of the people around us who love us and have demonstrated that they care for us?
That voice is an unchecked ego that has developed based on past experiences around unexplored insecurities. People may say things, or we may think things about ourselves that give us a feeling and we never forget it, even if we shrug it off. Over time, those unexplored insecurities merge and begin to create a voice for itself. Eventually, that voice becomes loud enough for us to mistake it for our own. When we hear that voice in our head, it becomes whoever we ALLOW it to be until we CHOOSE for it to be something else.
That voice will dictate our behaviors. If we allow it to, it will guide our behaviors because we believe it. What we have to do is choose what that voice says to us and the minute we begin to do so, we quiet that voice just enough to hear that it’s actually our insecurities that need to be addressed. I’ve found that shifting my behavior changes how I think. In taking action to challenge our beliefs, we can change the narrative around that inner-voice. When we choose by action, the belief by default has to change with it.
Much of this insight comes from this week’s SPFPP guest, Emily, who talks about her journey to body-positivity.
Emily “Keanunani” Arnstein is a former ballerina who spent her young life struggling with self-image after being criticized by the dance community for not having the “right” body shape and size. As an adult, she overcame these negative thought-patterns by developing self-talk strategies, understanding the “function” of the body as it relates to health and fitness rather than placing the value of self-worth on physical appearance, and surrounding herself by an accepting and supportive community. She now studies and performs Hawaiian hula (a body-positive and accepting dance community) and aims to pay forward her improved sense of self by empowering others in overcoming challenges with health, fitness, and body image, and to help them recognize their ability to make positive changes in their own lives.