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The real reason you still feel insecure. (It’s not what you think!)

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Over the past year or two, my private client work has taken an interesting direction. 

Clients generally hire me to help them understand and overcome their body image issues, which means unlearning the things society teaches us about what a person’s body and appearance means about them— including all the oppressive biases and beliefs about what makes a person good or bad, deserving or undeserving, and worthy or unworthy. 

Like any good coach, I always offer my clients personalized and curated resources/information to help them identify their body-based biases and beliefs, and to contextualize them within overarching social systems of privilege and oppression. 

Education is a powerful tool when you’re challenging mainstream beliefs about weight, health, beauty, and worthiness— it’s nearly impossible to view a fat body as neutral or acceptable when you still believe things like “weight loss is just a matter of discipline,” and “fat people deserve to be treated poorly,” for example. 

But education alone isn’t enough, because the way we feel about ourselves, our bodies, and the world is a feeling, not a thought. 

The history of our emotional experiences (including our traumas, wounds, and experiences of discrimination/marginalization) lives in our bodies. Although we’re not usually aware of this stuff  consciously, that history determines what feels safe or unsafe to us, how we move through the world, and how we feel both in, and about, ourselves and our bodies. 

This is why just having different thoughts won’t necessarily change how you feel, when it comes to body image and self-worth. 

Years ago I started noticing a pattern about which clients were able to eventually break through and close the gap between what they believed and how they actually felt in their own skinand which weren’t. And do you know what the biggest difference was? 

The clients who broke through nearly always had one thing in common: they let themselves get angry. 

Photo of a person wearing black, screaming against a white background
Photo by Anna Shvets

Upon learning about weight stigma, racism, or the objectification of women, some people just say “oh well… it sucks, but this is the way things are, so I better keep trying to make myself acceptable in the eyes of other people.” 

But the clients who I saw go through the biggest transformations didn’t respond that way at all. 

When those people realized their body image issues, self-doubt, and overall lack of confidence were actually a strategic and intentional part of the plan by people in power to keep them deferential and obedient, they got pissed. When they realized striving to conform to social ideals and expectations (about what makes a person good, deserving, and acceptable) made them easier to control, exploit, and manipulate they said “oh, hell no!”

Those clients managed to overcome a negative felt experience (of shame, insecurity, and failure, for example) by transforming it into righteous rage. 

They were able to stop blaming themselves (and their bodies) for their experiences of being bullied, mistreated, disrespected, objectified, dehumanized, or discriminated against for how they look, by recognizing that the blame in those situations belonged exclusively to the people who caused them harm, and the systems of oppression that support them. And as their anger allowed them to shift accountability from the internal to the external, they started to feel differently: about themselves, their bodies, and the world. 

These were incredible transformations. In these clients, I watched shame shift into liberation; obedience into agency; helplessness into power. I would watch them stop apologizing, criticizing, and policing themselves, and blossom into a more authentic, empowered, and fulfilled version of themselves. 

There is something magical about watching someone whose confidence once depended entirely on social status, beauty/body privilege, and the approval of others, cultivate an embodied and felt sense of their own agency, power, and worth for the first time.

I thought… holy shit.

After years of observing this pattern in my clients, I decided to place righteous anger (and mutinous rule-breaking) at the forefront of my coaching approach, and the results were astonishing.

I am utterly convinced, at this point, that the magic you’re looking for (think: body neutrality, empowerment, authenticity, self-worth, and confidence) is on the other side of righteous rage. 

Anger is a superpower.

Photo of a hand giving the middle finger that is covered in multi-color paint
Photo by Soulful Pizza

Anger is an evolutionarily important signal from your body that an injustice has taken place or a boundary has been violated.

Without being able to connect to (and express) anger, you have no choice but to blame yourself for every single injustice you experience, which means it will turn into shame, anxiety, and self-criticism. Without anger, you can’t hold other people accountable or defend your territory, which is how you end up spending your life trying to change, control, punish, or suppress yourself into being “more deserving,” rather than speaking up, setting boundaries, and advocating for your right to be treated with respect. 

What’s your relationship to anger? 

  • Are you comfortable feeling it, expressing it, and using it to hold other people accountable? 

  • Do let anger’s fiery energy push you to stand up for yourself and fight for justice and respect (on your own behalf), or do you turn it inward against yourself and let it collapse into shame and self-loathing?

If you want to see real changes in your body image, self-worth, mental health, and confidence, tapping into (and expressing) your anger is the way. 

Of course, most folks who were conditioned as girls and women really struggle with this, because the patriarchy says anger is too masculine, too intimidating, too ugly for our delicate constitutions. (Apparently justice and boundaries are only for men, while it’s our job to smile and be sweet while people disrespect and exploit us?? Hell no.)

Anyway, I’ve decided it’s finally time to bring the life-changing power of anger to the world, which is why I created my new group coaching program PROJECT UGLY!!

Project Ugly logo

This program is the missing piece you’ve been looking for, without even realizing it. It’s designed to help you finally close that gap between what you think or believe, and how you feel (both in and about your body), alongside a group of like-minded rebels looking to cast off self-objectification, reclaim their power and worth, and disrupt the patriarchy.

Learn more about PROJECT UGLY here, send it to a friend who would love it, and register now to secure your spot in the group. (We start February 26th!) 

I’ll be honest: I have elaborate fantasies about what would happen in the world if enough women and femmes learned to alchemize their shame and insecurity into power and rage the way my private clients do. 

I created PROJECT UGLY to find out. 

Yours in disrupting the patriarchy,


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Feb 23

This in-depth examination of anger as a driving force for human development is quite insightful! The article persuasively highlights the significance of owning up to and expressing rage in order to overcome self-criticism and stand up for one's boundaries. If anyone seeking to release repressed anger and foster mental well-being can read this

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