Category: guest blogs

This morning I was inspired by a blog I read on igniting more passion in your marriage, and since I’ve just begun a new blog series on marriage, I decided I would host blog this touching article, and link to a video that has recently gone viral, entitled “Sweet Lorraine” about a 96 year old man whose wife recently passed away and the love song he wrote to her after 75 years of marriage. It was such a touching story, it brought me to tears, and I would like to share it with you!

Please follow the link below to the article and the you tube video, “Sweet Lorraine.”

Why ‘Love Your Body’ Campaigns Aren’t Working

Posted: 07/18/2013 10:38 am                                                                                      
Body Image, Eating Disorders, Lena Dunham, Dieting, Eating Disorder, Ideal Body Weight, Love Your Body Campaigns, Self-Acceptance, Self-Love, Women And Self-Confidence, Women And Self-Esteem,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Women News                                


Real Beauty


Like an unfortunately large percentage of women in the U.S., I grew up criticizing my body and dieting regularly from a young age. I spent years of my life terrified I would never get “there,” the place where my weight and all perceived rewards of thinness would finally fall into place. Getting thin was the only answer I could think of to most of my problems, and conversely, “being fat” or gaining weight, meant “losing–” it meant never achieving, never being loved, never “having it all.”

I remember seeing body-positive campaigns like Dove’s Real Beauty or Victoria Secret’s Love Your Body — campaigns that encourage women to “love the skin they’re in” — and thinking “that’s nice, but I still wish I was thinner.”

I would see images of “real women” and think to myself, I don’t want to be one. I wanted to get ahead, stand out, be special, and I didn’t see how accepting my body the way it was would get me “there” — the place where my life would begin. I believed my dreams were 20 lbs. away from me, and what seemed like a forced, new ideal of beauty on a billboard didn’t seem to change that.

Eventually my relationship with my body did start to change… when I finally realized I can get the guy, the job, the cute clothes in the window right now, regardless of my weight. Women with “non-traditional body types” are not disabled from creating what they want in the world, we’re just taught that they are.

I learned by working with countless women around body image that helping women “unlearn” the rewards and punishments they experienced around weight as children or were made to fear by the mainstream media (which, by the way, doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon) is more powerful than simply telling someone “your body is beautiful the way it is.” While changing the figures and images in the media is an important and wonderful first step (particularly for building new beliefs in younger generations), it may fall on deaf ears amongst those who have already been brainwashed that “thin” is where life happens.

One could argue that’s why Lena Dunham is so successful — she’s not just saying “beauty at any size;” she’s saying “you can have it all at any size.” After all, our insecurity is not just about our bodies at its core — it’s about creating and feeling deserving of the life we want to live.

If we don’t actively dismantle the myths that have been embedded into women’s psyche around weight historically, those myths will linger, regardless of how many plus-sized models they see on billboards (again, important first step, but not necessarily the “answer” for women suffering from body hatred now).

In reality, women want to experience, they want to feel, they want to be… far more than they want to look. Unfortunately, we’ve been taught that looking a certain way is a prerequisite for “achieving” throughout the rest of our lives. If body-positive messages were effectively combating that myth, women’s beliefs systems about weight would be shaken at its roots, rather than its petals.

In other words, instead of simply shifting the global paradigm of beauty, we need to start exploring why those paradigms are meaningful to begin with, and challenge the validity of those beliefs.

What are YOU making “fat” mean?

Are you making fat mean that you’ll never find a suitable partner?

That you’re unworthy of the respect of your peers?

That you’ll never “make it” professionally?

That no one will take you seriously?


If we don’t address those underlying fears, few women will gain the confidence needed to say “F YOU” to a body paradigm that doesn’t serve them. Women need to believe that their body shape does not dictate their success in relationships, their success in the workplace, their social mobility, etc.

When our belief systems around weight change — that is, when we challenge the “meaning” we give to weight or body shape — our bodies naturally become our allies in achievement, rather than an obstacle to overcome.

For more information on overcoming negative body image or emotional behaviors around food, visit and download “How To Not Eat Chocolate Cake… Really Fast, Standing Up, When Nobody’s Looking.”

Beautiful Is…

I was really struck and impacted by this blog I just read this morning on the subject of beauty. Isn’t beauty something that all women wrestle with at some point in life, whether it is an ongoing insecurity we battle with for all of our lives, or merely a result of something profoundly impactful that happens in life that distorts our understanding of beauty, or simply popular culture which dictates that beauty is skin deep… and what about aging? What do we do and how do we measure our beauty if we only look in the mirror and see the outward appearance? Must we be trapped by the image pop culture says about the subject? Or can we begin a new image for beauty… perhaps something far deeper and healthier for our self esteem than criticizing every feature we see when we look in our mirrors and walk away depressed that the image before us isn’t the perfect reflection we wish to see.

I encourage you to check out this link below to an article on beauty that weighs beauty by standards far deeper than the current trends coming out of Hollywood! Isn’t it time we value ourselves by something far deeper than our outward appearance?

Great guest blog on human trafficking. check out the link below:

Choosing to Love your Body

Women’s News: Can You Choose to Love Your Body? Margaret Cho Did.

September 20, 2012 By 3 Comments

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Freelance Writer

In my few talks with comedian Margaret Cho, she’s said things that have resonated so deeply, I hang up the phone feeling ridiculously inspired.

During our chat last week for an article on eating disorders, she eloquently expressed something I’d been feeling but hadn’t been brave enough to articulate. “I think now I’m at the point where I’m just sick of feeling negative and feeling this way about my body,” she said. “So I’ve just shifted my thinking to, ‘this becomes boring to always want to be thin.’”

I’d been feeling pretty bored with habitual body bashing myself, but I didn’t see a way out of it. Wasn’t self-deprecation just one of those unavoidable pitfalls of being a female human, like cramps or mascara-induced eye injuries?

“I was just immediately programmed to think the way my mother did and her family did. Now I have a choice,” Margaret continued. “I have a total choice now whether I want to buy into something that never worked for them and never worked for me or just forget it and move on to other things.”

And with that simple statement, Margaret Cho went a long way toward deprogramming my automatic tendency toward self-deprecation. She showed me that the anti-me autopilot switch could be flipped.

I was an absurdly overconfident child. That is, according to my mom’s recollection and to faded photos of a self-assured, sequin-sporting child of the early nineties. I’m well aware of the age-inappropriate Madonna lip synching routines I insistently performed for party guests. And I don’t remember modesty ever being an issue while unabashedly bragging to strangers about my straight-A-laden report cards. But my mom’s absolute favorite mortifying memory is of a chubby-cheeked, unfortunately self-styled four-year-old arrogantly admiring her reflection and definitively declaring to the mirror, “I’m so cute!”

While the dignified adult I pretend to be wishes she’d have kept that revelation under wraps, I can’t help but call upon that pre-adolescent version of myself to ask a couple of really pressing questions: When do we turn against ourselves? And when we do learn to engage in chronic, negative self-talk, are those really our voices we’re using to spew hateful, critical words? Or are someone else’s messages overpowering what we actually think, see, and believe?

Like most adolescents, I immediately buried any discernable shred of self-assurance deep beneath an armor of teen angst and awkwardness. Seemingly overnight I morphed from a cocky kid on the playground to a sullen, self-loathing pubescent nightmare.

But surrendering to what I believe to be a tragic trend in female self-esteem, I carried those adolescent anxieties about appearance and achievement into adulthood. It was completely natural to criticize every perceived flaw and automatically negate any incoming compliments. Every day was an exercise in ruthless comparison to friends and strangers, and every night a reflection on how and why I’d never measure up.

And then suddenly, that smug four-year-old refused to stay silent. I started to catch myself questioning every self-sabotaging thought. All those mechanical reactions toward my reflection of disgust and disdain suddenly seemed exhausting and, well, boring. Most importantly, those formerly instinctual, involuntary responses didn’t feel authentic or accurate. I realized it wasn’t my voice or my judgment at play in those moments of cruel criticism. I’d just become so accustomed to engaging in self-flagellation, it never occurred to me to question whether I believed I deserved it.

HuffPost Women shared a picture on Facebook the other day of a great t-shirt that reads, “YOUR BODY IS NOT WRONG / SOCIETY IS.” Sure, it’s a sweeping generalization about “society,” but it’s a novel idea, isn’t it? Imagine if we all got fed up, took a note from women like Margaret, and realized once and for all that we have a choice about how to feel in our bodies. I think I might choose to stop being bored and start feeling okay.

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Filed Under: Women’s News

Millions of domestic abuse cases occur each year. The exact number of such cases is difficult to keep track of since agencies report them differently, while other incidents of abuse are never reported at all. In the past, victims of domestic abuse were unable to protect themselves legally because police rarely got involved in such disputes. As such, families were left to settle and work things out thus allowing abusers to escape with their acts of violence without any consequences from the law. Fortunately, domestic disputes are now dealt with differently as all states have laws making domestic violence a crime, while various legal protections are imposed to help victims of abuse.

What Is Domestic Violence / Abuse?

When domestic violence is involved, acts of physical abuse are used, including threats, harassment and emotional abuse which can dominate another person. ; Domestic violence or domestic abuse can be found in all types of relationships and it is not based on race or economic class. Although women are often victims of domestic abuse, men can also become victims. Unlike in the past, police these days in many states, now have the power to arrest people suspected of abusing others regardless of the willingness of a victim to file charges because of fear. As such, victims and potential victims are protected from abuse after police leave. If victims want to file charges against the abuser, they can do so in civil court, allowing them to recover money damages for financial harm resulting from physical and emotional abuse.

Restraining Order For Protection

Restraining orders are legal options available in every state for victims against the abuser as they can make it illegal for abusers to contact victims. If a victim is in immediate danger, a temporary emergency restraining order can be secured from the local police department. However, a temporary restraining order will not be valid for long, so it is essential to secure a proper restraining order from the court that can last for three months to three years.

How To Secure A Restraining Order

In order for a victim to secure a restraining order that can last longer, a petition must be filed in court. Victims can handle the process on their own without a lawyer, but having a legal professional assist in the process and explain their rights is to their advantage. When a petition has been filed, the hearing will then be scheduled within two weeks. ; The abuser will also be notified and invited to attend the hearing as he will have the right to testify in court as well.

The victim will then have to explain to the judge, the necessity for a restraining order. At the hearing various evidence or documents, such as medical records, photographs, police reports and witness testimony can be presented to support the need for a restraining order.

Once a restraining order has been issued, the local police department must be informed about the abuser and the limitations imposed. All this information is recorded into the police computers for reference.

Other Forms Of Help

Domestic violence must never be tolerated in any way. It is necessary that victims must try to escape or leave their abusive relationship as soon as possible. There are various free legal agencies and shelters to help victims of abuse in every state. If a victim will decide to leave their relationship, they must be sure to have copies of their important documents as well as other items such as spare money and keys.

Valerie Clearwater is a freelance writer specializing in criminal law. She regularly contributes articles to legal websites such as where well experienced criminal attorneys can be consulted.

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