Hello and welcome to the BARE Podcast!
This is your host, Susan Hyatt. This is Season Two, Episode Four.
The BARE Podcast is a show where we talk about your body and your life.
On this episode, we’re getting into a big topic, which is… RELIGION. Specifically, how religion can shape the way we think about our bodies.
Whooooa, ladies. We could probably do 1,000 episodes on this topic. There’s a lot to discuss.
Let’s dive right in…
The BIG QUESTION I’m answering today:
Usually, for this segment, I choose a question from a client, or from a woman in my BARE DAILY program, and then I answer.
This episode is slightly different. Today, we’re diving into a more philosophical question.
“Is religion ‘good’ for our bodies and our self-esteem?”
And here’s my answer:
There are approximately 4,200 different religions in the world. Every religion has its own rules and traditions and customs.
In certain religious traditions, women are instructed to be completely covered with clothing, with nothing exposed except for their hands and face.
In other traditions, women are told that they should never be touched by a man, for any reason, not even a handshake, unless it’s their husband.
In other traditions, women are told that if a man gives them unwanted attention or kisses or touches them without permission, it is always the woman’s fault for “tempting” the man. It’s her fault for “provoking” his behavior.
There are some religious traditions that say, if you’re menstruating, then you are dirty, and you will “defile” everything you touch and make it “impure.”
And then… there are some communities that follow a matriarchal religion, communities that worship a female God—the Mother Goddess, or the Great Goddess.
And so on.
I could go on and on.
My point is, there are thousands of traditions, and hundreds of thousands of rules and beliefs about women. Beliefs about the women’s role in the household and in society. Beliefs about women’s bodies and what women are supposed to do, and not do.
I’m not here to say “Be religious” or “Don’t be religious.” And I’m certainly not here to impose my personal beliefs on you.
Your spirituality is personal. Your faith is entirely up to you.
BUT… whoever you are, and whatever type of spiritual tradition you follow, I invite you to be curious, to be contemplative, and to explore how religion may have shaped some of the beliefs you have about your body… and your self-worth.
Here are some questions that I’ve contemplated over the years. Questions that, perhaps, you’d like to contemplate too…
– What are some of the most vivid memories you have, when it comes to religion? Moments, conversations, celebrations, punishments… memories that stand out strongly in your mind?
– Within your spiritual or religious community, what kinds of things were you taught about your body? About food? About sex? About desire? About what’s OK to do and not do?
– Were you taught to feel ashamed about certain things?
– Were you taught to be meek, quiet and obedient, and never to make a scene?
– Were you taught that if a man misbehaves, it’s probably your fault?
– Were you taught that it’s your duty to please your husband and satisfy his needs, even if you don’t want to?
– Were you taught that your most important role in life is to give birth and procreate?
– Were there any religious or spiritual ideas that gave you a feeling of power, purpose, that make you feel stronger?
– How do you think religion has shaped the way you think about yourself?
You can think about those questions. You can get a journal and write out your feelings, your memories. Or, discuss those questions amongst friends that you trust.
It can be really interesting to dive in and see… where some of your beliefs came from.
And if those beliefs are still working for you, or not.
Personally, I was raised Catholic. As a grown woman, I have found that there are certain aspects of my religious background that I resonate with—and there are certain aspects that simply don’t work for me. I’ve decided to keep what works for me—and release the rest.
I believe that God, Universe, Spirit, whatever term you prefer, is not vengeful and full of wrath and punishment.
I believe God wants us to love our bodies, and enjoy our bodies, and experience all kinds of pleasure—pleasure from food, pleasure from music, from art, from travel, from beauty, from nature, from friendships, from sex, all the pleasure that this world has to offer. God wants to see us thrive and do great work and be HAPPY.
I believe God wants to see us dancing, laughing, painting, singing, supporting one another, helping one another. I believe God wants to us to bloom wide open, to be courageous and brave—not hide, or shrink, or feel shame.
I believe God is watching and wants us to know, “Your body is a MIRACLE! Enjoy it! Decorate it! Love it!”
That’s what I believe.
You can believe… whatever you want to believe.
But, I hope you can find a belief system that gives you space to LOVE yourself and ENJOY your body.
I hope you can find a belief system that expands your confidence… and expands your self-esteem… and expands your power, instead of causing pain and shame.
That’s my hope for you.
Our next segment is called TELL ME EVERYTHING!
This is where I chat with an amazing woman that I L-O-V-E and we have a conversation about food, feminism, fitness, sex, or… something else that I am dying to talk about. Today we’re chatting with Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin. She’s the founder and CEO of Gaia Project Consulting; Founder, The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership; Host, #ResistanceLive and The Women’s Leadership Podcast.
Here we go!
About Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin:
Described as a “celebrated career coach” and “fearless entrepreneur,” Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin’s work has earned the support and recognition of women such as Arianna Huffington, Ali Brown, DailyWorth and WorthFM Founder Amanda Steinberg, and Emerging Women Live Founder Chantal Pierrat, among many others. Elizabeth has a storied track record of success as a Wall Street lawyer, serial CEO and entrepreneur, and high-powered executive coach. After a fifteen year career as a full-time Wall Street securities litigator and trial lawyer, Elizabeth founded Gaia Project Consulting, LLC, an executive consulting and coaching firm that serves senior executives across tech, finance, banking, law, fashion, healthcare, non-profit and consulting, propelling its clients to new heights of growth and professional alignment. Five years later, she founded The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership, offering virtual and live programming to grow New Paradigm Women’s Leadership worldwide.
You can find The Daily Resistance Live right here!
Find her on her website right here!
In this episode Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin shares:
- Being a woman in the public eye and the comments that come with that.
- The messaging that we’ve had in this culture since we were really little girls is that our appearance is the thing that we’re judged on first and always and often.
- How the way you feel in your skin changes everything.
- Being mindful of self talk.
- Doing the work inside and modeling it to others on self love and appreciation and seeing beyond appearance.
- How we need to stop critiquing other women on their appearance.
- When we women are competing with one another and critiquing one another, we’re not working together to lift one another up, and that in and of itself just maintains the status quo.
From your desktop you can skip right to her interview here! From a mobile device manually go to 5:58!
Wanna watch the interview?? Click the video below!
Today’s BARE Victory:
Today’s BARE Victory was emailed to me from an amazing woman in my BARE Daily membership community. I’m going to read you some excepts from Amber’s testimonial. She has SUCH an amazing story and is truly a phoenix rising. Amber writes about her childhood and how at a young age she was shuffled around between family members and she was really given the message that she didn’t matter. And, as she grew up, she made many mistakes with men and thought that her life turned out pretty okay considering all of that. And then she writes:
When I became pregnant with my own son, I promised to be the best mom I could!. I was now responsible for a human life and shaping him. I wanted him to know with absolute certainty that I loved him with all my being! I abandoned my circle of friends that I knew were not the influence I needed around my son or myself, stopped smoking, stopped my opioid addiction and gave a perfectly healthy birth to my sweet baby boy. As an adult this story I created when I was 8 was proven in my mind by how I had chosen to live my life and the deep regrets I had. For years I have been morbidly obese, I went through periods of cutting myself to “release” pain as I called it. I haven’t had a best friend in years and food was used in place of emotions I didn’t know how to sort through. I have searched for answers everywhere as to why I have this problem with food. On my billionth time trying to diet and being terrified of failing and just yo yo again, I stumbled onto a suggested add on Facebook for Susan’s miracle week. Desperate to feel any of the things she described within that add , I joined the free group for the week. In that week I was faced with a lot of hard truths about how I’ve been treating myself. It hit me like a ton of bricks that all my life I have searched for this love like my grandpa had selflessly given me……yet I hadn’t loved myself! Not one bit! I made dear friends in miracle week who would tell me daily how I’m inspiring them. “That can’t be true” is the thought I would always come back with in my head. “Who in the world would be inspired by this mess?” As miracle week came to an end, I was blessed with the miracle of a 1 month membership in BARE daily. Friends, this journey started in January 2018. In 4 months of working the steps in BARE daily, I have had more healing then I could have ever hoped for. Before BARE I was so depressed I couldn’t even bring myself to shower regularly.I have a lot of work left to do but I found a home with people who are just like me. They have felt a hole in their life they couldn’t fill because they didn’t even know why the hole was there! BARE teaches us how to be attentive to what we are feeling and why. It teaches us how to create new thoughts instead of being reactionary to our original thoughts. It teaches us about the stories we have written for our lives up to this point and how to find the lies in that story so we can seek the truth!. When you truly love yourself, you treat yourself so much differently. You sleep better, you don’t turn to food to fix anything… so a natural side effect is a healthy body without dieting. You learn to do loving things for yourself, not for a transactional reason such as “I will exercise to lose weight!”. Rather, “I will exercise in a way that feels like love because I know it’s healthy for me!” You will learn how to truly find pleasure in your life! It amazes me that prior to BARE, how I truly looked in all the wrong places to find pleasure….yet it was all around me! In fact one of the questions that I now ask myself that is changing my life is “Does it feel like love?” That is an empowering question!Your home starts to become a sanctuary instead of a burden that stresses you out more. You begin to realize the things you have and are allowing into your life that DO make a difference, even if you don’t think so. You learn to love yourself right now! Right where you are, no matter where your at. You learn you don’t need to hide or be ashamed anymore….that you ARE deserving and worthy! This family has been the biggest blessing to my life! Its giving me my life back! You don’t know what your missing until you find your tribe! No amount of words that I could put together can ever be adequate enough to explain to Susan how much BARE means to me and so many others! The best advice I can give is…..don’t give up on yourself! My home and my body…it was all a reflection of what was happening inside of me because of the story I had created based on events in my life that were out of my control! My story doesn’t end there and neither does yours! Susan, I thank God for the gift of you to my life everyday!
PS. Check out the BARE Daily program right here. When you become a BARE DAILY member, you get daily inspiration for your body and your life. You get… Workouts. Recipes. Coaching sessions. Challenges. Prizes. Accountability to help you stay on track. Emotional support during tough moments. Kind people who will listen, who really care about you.
There’s so much awesomeness in there. BARE DAILY is truly one of the loving, most supportive corners of the entire Internet. You can get a membership for 1 month, try it out, and see how it transforms your body and your life.
Have a beautiful day—and I’ll see you in the next episode!