Hello all, happy second day of awareness week! Today’s post is going to focus on ways to be an activist. I wrote a little article for proud2bme on activist tips a little while ago and I am going to include it in part of this post. Below is the piece I wrote as part of the pamphlet–I’ll elaborate more on it below!
One quote that will always stick with me is a quote by Gandhi that reads: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. As cliché as it may sound, you have the ability to inspire a change, to influence someone’s life, and to redirect the thoughts of society.
I was seventeen, and almost a year out of treatment, when I decided that I wanted to seek a change. I had decided that I was no longer going to be a victim of my eating disorder—my eating disorder (and other’s too) were going to be victim of me. I started a non-profit that would both educate and conduct research on eating disorders and almost overnight I experienced an overwhelming amount of support. I have never felt so passionate about an issue, and I really enjoy every time I meet with someone and discuss a new approach to treating eating disorders and body image! I am going to share with you a few of my activist tips, and I hope they will be useful.
- Start within. Before going out to promote positive body image, make sure that you have a strong image of yourself! Everyday you should practice healthy eating and thinking. When practicing these things, you are going to be a role model without even knowing it!
- Plan it out. Plan out your goals, and what you would like to see changed in society. Start very general and “funnel down” to something specific. This will serve as your plan. This list does not need to be concrete—my plan has changed numerous times, but the same values I listed at the top have been incorporated into everything have done.
- Don’t be afraid to get yourself out there. The reason I am writing for you guys today is because I took a chance. I know the concept is scary, and there is always the fear of rejection, but rejection isn’t the end of the road. I have sent out HUNDREDS of emails that have never been replied to, I have made dozens of phone calls that have never been returned, and I have even been laughed at, and told I was crazy to try and take on such as task. Any coward can shoot down a dream, but the ones who persevere are the ones who make a difference. Don’t be discouraged!
I hope that you find these tips useful, and are able to apply them to all aspects of your life, not just body image activism. Maybe a year from now I will be reading one of your tips in this activist guide! Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Something that I would like to touch a little bit on is being a role model. Of course it would be wonderful if every single one of you were able to openly and confidently discuss the warning signs of eating disorders, but some people just aren’t able to do that. Instead, we would all benefit from living out a healthy relationship. Lead by example–don’t talk negatively about your body, model healthy eating habits/overall behavior, and encourage others to do the same. Many would be surprised with the amount of people that look up to them, even without them knowing. I hope this makes you empowered–you have the power to influence the way that someone sees them self! Later on this week, I am going to give you a little write up from one of my role models who was unaware that I looked up to her! I’m really excited for you to read what she has to say!