Considering Our Reflection

My daughter looks at herself with wonder and curiosity.

  • Even though her legs are pudgy.
  • Even though she can barely steady her arms enough to grasp what she wants to hold.
  • She can’t even crawl!

I know. Duh. She just turned 5-months-old yesterday. None of those things are “expected.”

But DANG! We get so hard on ourselves! We start expecting things of us that are, honestly, as ridiculous as if I expected her to run up and down the stairs.

My sense is that this kind of wildly harsh expectations and judgments around our body impact our capacity to embody confidently.

Is that true for you or anyone you love that you’d like to share? (You can always refer to them as “This person I know and care about” rather than by name… even if that person is you. :wink: ) We want you to feel safe and free sharing here.


This is so true!

I love seeing how open and free young children are in their bodies… and I wonder when it changes, with what kind of messaging gets absorbed from the larger culture…

I’ve worked hard to have a wide range of emotionally intelligent, empowering children’s books, and have been SO picky about the media my 7yo has been exposed to, largely to allow his sense of himself to grow of its own accord, rather than falling into stereotypical ideas of what his body or style “should” be.

And, we’ve been fortunate to have a little bubble (including his former preschool) that has been very accepting of all kinds of bodies and clothing choices and hair styles for all genders… such that when some of the new kids he’s met comment on his body or style being different than what they’d “expect” of a “boy”, he doesn’t take it too personally (so far) — he has certainly maintained his ability to “embody confidently!”

And, I wonder what it would be like if more kids had that opportunity, or if more adults had been allowed the freedom to be themselves, rather than criticized or forced into some box of believing what they “should” look like (or say or do) to be socially accepted.

What if we let go of those harsh judgments that don’t actually align with who we are — or even necessarily with who we truly want to be?

What if we extend compassion to those parts of ourselves that judge, as well as the parts of ourselves we judge? And listen to what unmet needs and desires they have, that could bring us into more authentic, sustainable confidence in the bodies we have now?

What if more and more of us do that, and gradually the world transforms?

That’s what I’m here to participate in! :rainbow:


Wow, so weird. I totally had a dream about your 7 yr old last night I think. He was interacting with me in a playful and a bit testing of boundaries way. He was very cute and knowing beyond his age. I don’t remember much about the context but it was some version of him. Funny how impacted I am to my friends’ kids, even ones I haven’t met yet. I clearly miss being around younger kids and sharing my real skills with them. Maybe I miss play in general. I’m good with kids and I’m sad I am not around any. Love hearing about his gender expression and that he hasn’t experienced much shaming or bullying (I hope). I just worked on a draft chapter for a book and had a chance to revisit my life story from a bird’s eye view. So much learning for me and themes around safety. Not feeling safe in my body because real shit happened to me (because I was different in some way…always my gender expression, being perceived as female, then visibly queer, then genderqueer, then trans, etc.). I revisited old traumas of physical, sexual, verbal assaults and harassment. No wonder I don’t feel safe, nevermind confident. And, yeah, expecting too much of my body all the time and throughout my life. My expectations were learned from what others expected of me. And I excelled athletically to be loved and seen and valued, diving into empty bleachers to save the basketball from going out of bounds at practice to gain the respect and admiration of my team and coach. I learned to disassociate from the pain, physical and emotional. My identity was more important. I want to go back in time and wrap myself up in one of @Angelsloveyou 's hug blankets! Damn.


Just saw this — and yes, playfully testing boundaries certainly sounds like my kiddo! :sweat_smile:

There’s something healing in getting to play with kids — their curiosity and insight and creativity and willingness to experiment can be so freeing! I hope you get to play with some kids, and/or your sweet younger self some more soon @Dru!

What would your younger self like?
What if you nurtured more of that?

I have a whole section in my Thriving Beyond Trauma course about the importance of play and curiosity to be able to heal old painful patterns we’ve been carrying… Yes, definitely acknowledgement, acceptance and compassion first, and coming back into our bodies more consciously, but then getting curious helps so much! And it makes the stakes easier to manage too, when we approach our healing and self-cultivation with a sense of play, knowing it’s ok to experiment and try things, and to recalibrate or course-correct as needed…

It can help to ask gentle questions, and to let ourselves imagine different ways that things could have gone for us, to help create healthier ways of being, so our bodies can shift any unhelpful patterns created by painful or confusing experiences (or the responses we had to them as younger people without the resources we have now!)… and, our current bodies & spirits get to feel the difference, as we let go of those early judgments and expectations, and open to possibilities that feel more aligned with who we truly are.

I’ve been asking my son for the past year or two, when he tells me something someone else has said to/about him that clearly seems to bring some questions up for him:

“Does that feel true to you?”

And he can pause and reflect… and it seems to bring him more empowering clarity about who he is and what ideas to take on as part of his identity… and what ideas or expectations are the other person’s, not his own, and how to navigate those differences better. (And, these lessons with him certainly help me, too! Wish my child self had those opportunities… and glad to have them now!)