The (Good) Word: Week Of September 5-11th, 2015

The (Good) Word: Week Of September 5-11th, 2015

Body Community Work

As a kid, I was scared of “The News.” I mean, I was scared of the swings and the “big slide” at the park, too – so maybe that isn’t saying much.

But in general, I grew up viewing TV news reports, non-sports talk radio (sans Mark and Brian, of course!), and 80% of the newspaper as a way to either hear about horrible, scary happenings or listen to/read about how despicable someone or something was. It’s why I only read the comics and “Calendar” sections of the Los Angeles Times, and why I tuned out of everything media-related after the prime time shows wrapped around 9 or 10pm. It was like choosing to watch violence, sadness, and hate.

Last week, as I was visiting with my grandpa, I noticed the news on in the background. He’s not doing great, and has been watching a lot of TV. And I got angry. This is what he’s watching while he’s down for the count? THIS is the media that he’s taking in while he’s supposed to be healing? There is absolutely no way the stress, anxiety, and ill will depicted is doing anything to relax and soothe him in the way someone whose health is in jeopardy is supposed to be relaxed and soothed.

And then I thought about how much of it there is now in comparison to when I was growing up. The internet is incredible, but it also uses shock-factor headlines and hateful stories to entice us, hoping we’ll bond over negativity and start a comment flame war, because more comments means more engagement, and more engagement means more eyeballs, and more eyeballs means more potential for money. Basically.

And then I had another thought – what if I could not only create a round-up of all the good stories out there, but help others find the good in the midst of what might just be misunderstanding? So I’m bringing you The (Good) Word. Just some good news that’s happening out in the world that makes me smile, plus maybe a reflection or two on a controversy that’s got people up in arms…a different, more positive, more empathetic perspective.

 

The (Good) Word, Week of Sept 5-11th:

This new app is helping people – especially women – feel safer while they walk home. Not just that – it’s actually alerting police if something bad happens. via Business Insider

Forbes digs into why being nice is a business strength. Thrilled to see a major business mag/site diving into the power of positivity and connection. via Forbes

Adore this French artist’s body image illustrations on Instagram. I love how playful these are – and how the women are shown not making any grand statement besides just being themselves. Cecile, you are SO WANT Woman status. via Instagram

CNN reports on strength training for a healthier body image? This is such a WIN. via CNN
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A little WANTmmentary on the “Fat Shaming Comedian” scandal…

If you haven’t read about this, let me summarize: comedian puts video on YouTube that “jokingly” fat shames overweight people. Viciously. Gets backlash. Account gets suspended. Account gets reinstated. She does not apologize. Because it’s “comedy.” (*I will not put a link  to her, as I do not want to give her more clicks, but you can read more about the backlash here)

No, this wasn’t a smart move. But I think there is a bigger takeaway than it just being “not-smart,” hopefully, especially for the online entertainment world. The basis of so much comedy, both professionally and in real life, is at someone else’s expense. It’s poking fun at someone to make someone else laugh, or assuming that others will “take it lightly” because the one making the joke is “just kidding.”

Jokes hurt. And joking about someone else, ie. shaming someone’s body or something else personal, is just hitting others in their most vulnerable spots for a cheap laugh.

Hopefully, this will make not just other comedians, but people in general think twice before they make a joke at someone else’s expense. Even if it’s made “out of love.” Even if it’s “obviously just a joke.” Because the thing is, something that seems like it’s obviously a joke isn’t always so obviously-a-joke to the person being joked about. Hopefully, this little bit of backlash will make these kinds of jokes a little less acceptable and a little less “funny.” And hopefully, that means it’s a small step forward into a kinder, more empathetic way of living in general. Hopefully…


Heard some (good) words on the street? Leave a comment below and fill the rest of us in!

Inside Out And Negative Talk.

Inside Out And Negative Talk.

Body Community Motivation + Inspiration

(Warning: spoilers ahead.)

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There’s a scene in Inside Out where the emotions are projecting one of the memory orbs onto the screen of Riley’s mind. It’s a happy memory that was created with Joy at the helm, meant to make Riley feel good.

Then suddenly the memory turns sad.

There’s Sadness, with her hands on the orb and that look we get when we realize we’ve done something wrong. “I don’t know why I’m doing this” she whimpers. She knows that the golden rule of Head-quarters – keep Riley happy – as happiness is the main fuel for Riley’s personality, even through this daunting life event of moving across the country to a brand new house in a brand new town with a brand new hockey team and a brand new school where she has to make brand new friends.

The more memories Sadness touches through this event – uncontrollably, unwillingly, without reason – the more they turn into ones that make Riley cry. Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith pretty damn perfectly) is viewed as somewhat of a screw-up by Joy, who tries to keep her under control. But it’s Joy’s forceful attempts to control sadness that accidentally gets them both out of the picture….leaving anger, fear, and disgust in control.

And this is when I went from liking the movie to LOVING it.

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In one hour and forty-two minutes I was seeing things adults don’t grasp in an entire lifetime being laid out in plain layman’s Disney terms. Inside Out is one of those clever, poignant Pixar movies that’s made for kids but really made for adults, too, which is to be expected from Pixar now (and feature-film cartoons in general). What makes this one different is that it doesn’t just amplify what we already know – it conceptualizes what we need to learn.

This movie caused me major anxiety: it was like watching the foundation for negative self-talk patterns being built up in every frame, in the mind of a girl who was at the exact age these patterns start carry weight and inform the way we transition into adulthood and perceive the rights and wrongs of our emotional intelligence.

How many times do we all try so hard to stay away from sadness and what’s really troubling us, only to find that in the moment, joy seems virtually impossible? In Inside Out, Sadness really WANTS to make things better. And when she’s not being eclipsed by her type-A strong-personality’d coworkers – she does. Sadness is type-B and submissive, and all she wants to do is help Joy. She admires her, reveres her even. She’s soft spoken, comfortable watching the other emotions shine as she inserts herself when necessary. She doesn’t want to make Riley sad, but knows that sometimes it’s necessary in order to move “their girl” forward.

It’s the very premise of WANT.  Darkness is a clue. Sadness is an ally. Having moments of sadness creep into our day isn’t necessarily what causes negative self-talk – trying to squash them down is.

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Anger, Fear, and Disgust focus on the external and on the excuses. In reality, Riley’s not angry at her parents. She’s not fearful of the hockey tryouts. She’s not disgusted at the broccoli pizza…okay, well, maybe she is…but the broccoli pizza isn’t what really matters in the grand scheme of things. In reality, Riley is plain old sad: she feels alone, lost, like an outcast. Her sense of purpose is being challenged, as she’s always been praised by her parents for being their “happy little girl.” And because she can’t be happy right now, she doesn’t even know her place any more. In a world without sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust are reactive, responding only to external events and the things we can see.

When we pick ourselves apart and convince ourselves we need fixing, or can’t do something, or we lash out because of the situation we’re in, we’ve got these three emotions at the helm. And with days and weeks and moths and years of anger, fear, and disgust in control more often than not, our “Islands of Personality” begin to crumble and our emotional control panel shuts down. We begin to act from a perfunctory place that’s based off of what we’ve previously known to be true and what is so engrained in our internal vocabulary that its become our identity. IT’S CASUAL NEGATIVITY: We’re not addressing the whys of how we feel, the true whys that can ultimately lead us back to joy.

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Shifting around your negative talk patterns (and moving into the self-actualized, unique person you’re meant to be) is NOT about squashing sadness. It’s not about Pollyanna-esque optimism or interminable joy. It’s not about any one emotion, really. It’s about sadness and joy working together – feeling the sadness, identifying what it really is that is off-kilter – and letting that live so that joy can come back in and provide balance.

I’ve read a few quotes from critics saying this movie will help adults understand their children a whole lot better. But I really think it will help us understand ourselves, if we really make the space to dive deep, dig in, go there and identify.

That sadness is there for a reason; it just wants to help. It’s not about losing those moments of sadness – because if we do, we’ll also lose joy. It’s about letting our downs, our bad days, and our sad moments live and inform how we can let JOY into the rest of our life, ultimately working to conduct the symphony of emotions that makes us so unique.

INSIDE OUT
photo sources: here, here, here, here, here, and here.