Cultivating Self-Love and Positive Body Image

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iStock_000021022342XLargePlease note that this blog post is for anyone that struggles with any type of difficult situation, thought, feeling, emotion… not just depression.

Once upon a time, in the month of March, it was a brisk weekend in New York City. I was already suffering from depression for years (and years). I tried all kinds of treatments, but I still was not well. In fact, I would say I was very sick. Until one day, when….

…okay, enough with the drama. This isn’t going to be one of those stories where I had a miraculous recovery and I’m going to tell you how you can also. This is about a conference I went to, that changed the way I see things and the way I hold onto thoughts, feelings and emotions.

At the conference, I learned how to conquer my thoughts, which allowed me to refocus that energy on the physical reactions my body was having that were keeping me ill.

If you could free your mind from the thoughts that are keeping you stuck, would you have more energy to focus on other areas of your life?

Good intentions?

How many times have you heard the expressions:

Live in the moment.

Be in the present.

You need to get over what happened in the past.

Stop worrying about the future. There is nothing you can do about it.

Well, for me, those are all very nice words, and in response, I like the phrase:

Well, that’s easier said than done.

Sometimes, I like to add “now *bug* off” in my head….

Let me start by saying that when discussing the on-goings of our mind, the phrase things are “easier said than done” is an absolute truth. But, as much as you are going to hate to ‘hear’ this, the fact of the matter is that, the expressions above are also true.

The ill feelings that arise when we hear those expressions are not because of the words themselves (unless it is said in one of those obnoxious, cavalier manners), but rather because deep down we know it is true and yet, after trying, we still can’t seem to attain it.

Good news…. it isn’t for lack of trying or for lack of willpower that we fall short. The reason is that we are never taught how to do it correctly! We are never taught how to … live in the moment … be in the present … get over the past… and not worry about the future.  Until now!

Believe me when I tell you that learning how to live well in the present while coping with…..

  • illness / disease
  • bad body image
  • troubled childhood
  • tumultuous relationship(s)
  • war
  • financial issues
  • death
  • work
  • guilt
  • kids
  • worry
  • jealousy
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • etc.

…..makes all the difference. It’s literally life-changing.

So, how do we do it?

We do The Work!

The Work

The conference I went to years ago on that cold March day featured Byron Katie.

She selected volunteers (a.k.a. courageous people) who opened themselves up in front of the large audience (a.k.a. strangers) to discuss their most vulnerable feelings, experiences and outlooks (a.k.a the things that were holding them back from living a happy, content, satisfied life). Byron Katie helped them through the process of what she calls The Work.

The Work is comprised of three steps:

1 – Filling out a worksheet called “Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet”
2 – Asking the Four Questions
3 – Finding the Turnarounds

Sounds easy enough, right? Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

To get a full understanding of The Work, I suggest you watch videos of Byron Katie working through various issues with people.  Hopefully, one of the videos on this site has an issue that resonates with you.

You can also click on this link where you can download the worksheet and be guided through the three steps.

(I found it helpful to see others go through the process before beginning my Work.)

As with pretty much everything you do, it can be difficult in the beginning. The thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. that are suffocating us are usually long-standing and deeply ingrained. Practice The Work. Start with some of your ‘simpler’ issues (i.e., My sister is annoying.) Watch Byron Katie’s videos. Follow Byron Katie on Facebook. Watch her webcasts.

Byron Katie also has numerous books; although, for me, (as silly as this sounds) the books are too wordy. Watching and listening to the videos is much more instructive for me, but I know others who have worn their books out by taking notes, dog-earring pages and putting post-it notes in it. Find what works for you!

If you are really lost and really want or need help, you can work with someone who is a Certified Facilitator of The Work:

If you decide to do The Work, please let me know if it made as big a difference in your life as it did in mine. Email me at

Just as a side note, Byron Katie’s life is very interesting. The more I learned about her, the more appreciation I had for The Work that she created.

Katie Wagner is a Certified Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  To learn more about Katie you can visit her website at where you’ll find plenty of free gifts and great information and resources on fighting depression.