Necessary disclaimer to you – I speak from the perspective of a Caucasian, female, cisgender, and I can only speak for myself. As a therapist I am called to broaden my view of other cultures, experiences, skin colors, sexual orientation, ethnicities, values, religions, etc. All things that influence how we interface with the world. I acknowledge my privileged position that enables me to be able to stop and reflect on my own biases, and further my understanding of myself and the world. YOU should not expect anything less from your therapist!
Hello YOU! In this post I wanted to touch on a great self-help book, “Your body is not an apology, workbook; tools for living radical-self love,” by Sonya Renee Taylor, a sort of tool box sequel of the “Your body is not an apology.” The author’s intent seems to be to empower her audience with practical tools in order to grow and heal when it comes to our relationship with our bodies and media (though not limited to that). I found it particularly helpful as a self-help book in creating a dialogue between our own bodies and the image that it is expected of that in the media. I also want to be clear that recommending a self-help book does not align with the recent mentality that pushes us to “feel better at all costs.” The journey is what matters, and I believe that books that promote self-awareness and self-discovery, are as healthy a gym membership or a walk in nature.
“Your body is not an apology workbook,” contains different chapters among which: Taking Out The Toxic, Mind Matters, Unapologetic Action, Collective Compassion. Finally, there is an epilogue titled: “Embodying radical self-love to change the world.” I believe that each chapter and self-help exercise in this book can be used in no particular order, and the activities listed in it can be proven very effective and useful especially if used in a therapeutic relationship. Some of the exercises listed in this workbook can be used as homework for clients and discussed with the therapist. Among the chapters that I particularly enjoyed is: “Banish the binary.” During the past couple of years, we have probably learned like never before, the importance of acknowledging gender differences and gender expressions. We have been learning about how using our pronoun when we introduced ourselves can normalize a non-binary vision of gender. Though, I find that a lot of people are still struggling with this concept, and do not understand the point of introducing ourselves with our pronoun. There is a lot of ignorance about what it means to be LGBTQ + allies. On page 79 of this book Sonia Renee Taylor explains how the binary thinking really is a very limited and dichotomic way to looking at things (eg. Bad vs good, white vs black, etc). The author briefly talks about how a binary language can be marginalizing, and a potential barrier to what she calls, “radical self-love.”
From a therapist point of view I can see how different techniques and approaches have been collaged into this workbook. I am thinking CBT, DBT, strength based, narrative approaches, just to mention few.
Even though it is not always easy to do, I find journaling very helpful when it comes to work on self-awareness, and seeking a change in our behaviors. Journaling not only helps us become aware of what happens in the moment, but also sets the bases for a potential next step that might lead to it change.
If journaling seems too hard, just think of what you would like to write down, maybe say it out loud; or even better, share it with someone.
This is a example of journaling that you can do directly on the book.
In the book I liked the idea of creating your own Mantra, of rewriting your narrative and embracing a new one. The workbook absolutely embraces the concept of radical self-love that was introduced with Sonya Renee Taylor’s same titled book. I have not read her book yet, and this was an intentional choice. I wanted to see if this workbook was approachable even without reading the book. I share the authors mentality about living in the moment and exploring what you think you need to in the moment. For some people might be best to start at the beginning; but if you find yourself in the middle that is where you might need to be to learn. I tried using this book as icebreaker when working with Cisgender Female adolescents as well as non-binary adolescents who feels more attuned with their female side. Because the language of the workbook it is so friendly, non-judgmental, and the nature of the exercises it’s not pretentious, I found that this a useful tool to talk about how the adolescents relate to their body. How is their relationship with their bodies and social media. I found it helpful to go through the exercises together with my adolescent clients, as well as giving them if few copies to work on between sessions.
Finally, I would love to see more men approaching this kind of readings to get in touch with their nurturing female parts, and potentially bring forth these parts in their daily lives. I wish you to enjoy this workbook as I did.
Stay at-tuned and share it if you liked it!