Proud2Bme | Dear Melody: What Inspired You to Become an Activist?

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Dear Melody: What Inspired You to Become an Activist?

“Monthly Matters with Melody” is a monthly advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth. Her work has been featured in the books Yoga and Body Image and Yoga and Eating Disorders: Ancient Healing for Modern Illness, as well as in Yoga Journal, Yoga International and Origin Magazine.

What inspired you to start the Embody Love Movement?

Thank you for this question! I know firsthand how difficult it is to find and to keep a commitment to positive body image, and I recognize the extent to which the consequences of not accepting one's body have a collective impact. So do the consequences of self-love. Knowing this, because I have inhabited both ends of the spectrum, I had to do something to create a shift toward compassion. When any of us get in our own way of contributing to the world around us because we are caught up in and consumed by how we look, it takes a significant amount of energy, resources and time. These negative evaluations are pervasive and insidious, and stop us from inhabiting our potential. When one of us suffers, we all suffer. I struggled with negative body image and self-criticism throughout my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. It breaks my heart that so many others do too. 

As a clinical psychologist, I spent a decade working almost exclusively with girls and women whose self-esteem and self-identity was wrapped up in their weight, size and shape. I wanted to find a way to allow these women to not only recover from negative self-beliefs, but to also be able to give back from their experiences gained through finding independence from disordered eating. I wanted to support them not only in healing, but in using their healing as a rallying cry.

Embody Love Movement was inspired by a group of six teenage girls who I treated for several years, individually and in a therapy group for recovery. Each of them discovered their own inner awesome, and I felt certain would be capable of supporting others to discover the worthiness and lovability within them. So, I led this group through a program, the Inner Beauty Shop, that they could take into their middle schools, high schools and college campuses. The mission was to turn the conversation, both internal and external, from criticism to compassion. My hope was that the young women in recovery would benefit from the built-in relapse prevention plan of standing for self-acceptance, and that others would be prevented from onset of eating disorders through empowerment and collective responsibility taking. 

Both of those outcomes have proven to be true, and along with them a host of other possibilities opened up for service through conscious activism via Embody Love Movement. Now, I consider myself to be a social entrepreneur, in that I have the privilege of training facilitators in our four curricula, age-specific, to deliver the revolution that begins within to girls and women throughout the world.

We also now have campus clubs as well as programs for adult women, many of whom have no idea how their own negative body image is contributing to passing down and around this self-loathing, comparison, and judgment among girls and women. This work is my purpose, as being engaged as a commitment to self-love forces me to confront my own negative critics and instead be the love I want to see in the world around me. 

I hope my story will inspire you to look into what has broken your own heart, and to engage in your own healing in a way that perhaps will empower others to do the same. Each of our contributions are unique and are necessary, but none of us can offer our gifts to the world if we are held back and held down by our own self-doubt, self-hate or self-neglect. When you can find the way into integrating the parts of your journey that have been difficult or even impossible to understand, you begin to open up room for the possibility that you are exactly where, who and how you need to be right now, just as you are. This acceptance for you, for your body, mind and spirit IS the message of Embody Love Movement, and it is what will promote healing for each of us, and through each of us, all of us. 

You can get involved in Embody Love Movement in several ways, and we would love to have your participation and support!
 

Have questions for Dr. Melody? Post them in the comments below!

 

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

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