We can’t wait to introduce you to our friend, colleague, and “Happiness Alchemist” of Daring Happiness, Jen Anderson. Jen is a joy and true treasure. In our latest Body Trust™ Insights she shares some of the wisdom she’s collected along the way. Thank you for joining us, Jen!
Jennifer Anderson is the fearless leader and Chief Happiness Alchemist of the Daring Happiness Revolution. When she’s not leading Certified Desire Map and Daring Way™ Facilitator workshops she serves clients at her private practice in Portland.
After making the choice to go back to school at age 30 she got into University of California Berkeley and graduated with a degree in Psychology at 34. She attended grad school at the California Institute of Integral Studies and graduated with her Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology at 37.
Her official title is “Licensed Professional Counseling Intern” (LPCi). Most of the time she sees herself as the counselor that writes personal blogs about vulnerability and encourages people to feel into every emotion under the rainbow, because great things come to those who dare.
“I get to look at the things I want to change about myself from a place of LOVE, not from a place of HATING myself. Big difference.”
- What led you to Health at Every Size® and Intuitive Eating?
A couple of different things led me to this work…
Mostly it was my own personal journey with my weight, my relationship to food and my body image. My weight has fluctuated up and down over the past decade and I am currently at my heaviest weight. But I was in a place where I just didn’t want to be freaking out about “having” to lose weight anymore. I was tired of hating or loving (or maybe vaguely liking) my body based on its size!
So when I discovered Dana and Hilary’s work, I was very excited to dive in.
The other component was the fact that I have many of my counseling clients come in with similar body image and food issues. So I wanted to be able to help them, as well. And as usual, my work in the world is usually the work I need for myself. 🙂
- What has surprised you the most as you have learned to accept yourself?
How kind of easy it has been…that’s not to say that it’s all lovey-dovey and rainbows over here in my body and mind, but there has been a big shift once I felt like I got “permission” to love myself in the body I have now.
I still have some work to do around my relationship to food and exercise, but I’m coming at it from a whole different perspective and that is a freeing feeling.
- What are three aspects you feel are the most important to remember when moving toward radical self-acceptance?
1. We are ALL worthy of love and acceptance. NO MATTER WHAT. It’s that simple, and yet so difficult for us each to believe about ourselves. It’s like, “Well I know THAT person is worthy, but I AM NOT.” Yet most of us are running around thinking that about ourselves. It’s pretty ridiculous when you really think about it!
2. Just because I am accepting myself as I am RIGHT NOW, does not mean that I have lost any motivation to become a “better” person. It means I get to look at the things I want to change about myself from a place of LOVE, not from a place of HATING myself. Big difference.
3. The journey towards radical self-acceptance actually needs to be full of acceptance. Ha! I can’t tell you how many times I have seen my clients (I’m guilty of this too) beat themselves up for beating themselves up! Talk about crazy-making! We need to live in a place where we can truly be as gentle, kind, and understanding to ourselves as we would our loved ones.
- What is your favorite part of your body? How do you celebrate it?
I am really beginning to love my curves! I used to wear baggy clothing as I got bigger, but now I am finding that I love me a fitted tunic and some leggings that show off my waist, hips, and booty! I also love my tattoos, which makes me love my arms even more. It’s fun to show them off. I’m telling you, getting tattoos on your body is truly a way of decorating the place! 😉
- What is your favorite food and how do you like to enjoy it?
I LOVE sushi…I love trying fun new roll combinations and sharing it when out with friends.
- What inspires and renews your dedication to your process when you need it the most?
Seeing my clients, friends, loved ones, or things on social media where they are “hating” on their bodies, or trying a new diet. I see it EVERYWHERE now. Once you go through a HAES training, it changes your whole perspective.
- Radical self-acceptance means…
I love and accept myself right now, exactly as I am, in all my glory…flaws and all! I am worthy of love and belonging, just because I am human and I exist.
- What books, music or websites inspire you right now?
- Favorite quote or poem?
It’s actually a song lyric by Leonard Cohen from his song, “Anthem”:
“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
We are not supposed to be perfect. We are supposed to be cracked and flawed. It’s what makes us human and beautiful.