Posts tagged with "acceptance"

Amaal_Honey Single Artwork from Brittany Peterson for use by 360 Magazine

AMAAL TO RELEASE EP MILLY THIS FALL

“These songs are an unapologetic celebration of my womanhood,” says Amaal. “They’re the sound of me reclaiming my power, my pleasure, myself.”

Listening to Amaal’s extraordinary new EP Milly (releasing this fall) you’d have little idea that the breakout Canadian R&B star was born in Somalia, or that she was raised in a strict Muslim community in which expressions of female autonomy and sexuality were considered explicitly taboo. The songs on Milly transcend language and religion and culture, tapping into the kind fundamental humanity and search for self that binds us all. Amaal writes with a vivid sensuality here, reveling in the power of both physical and emotional touch, and her performances are visceral to match, delivered with a mesmerizing intimacy that hints at everything from FKA twigs and Kelela to SZA and Jhené Aiko. The result is a quietly revelatory work of self-actualization from an artist fully embracing her true identity in all its strength and beauty, a bold, intoxicating collection that, by its very existence, serves as a radical act of feminine liberation.

“My art is my way of confronting the misogynoir and the old, oppressive ideologies that have constrained me for so much of my life,” Amaal explains. “Without music, I’m not sure I would have been able to discover the woman I’m truly meant to be.”

The fourth of ten children, Amaal began her remarkable journey in war-torn Mogadishu, where she and her family lived until they were forced flee as refugees in the early 1990s. Starting over fresh in Toronto, she embraced the poetic nature of her cultural heritage but bristled at the conservative strictures and customs that came with it, particularly the repressive expectations placed upon women. Though it was forbidden at home, Amaal found escape in modern pop and R&B music, and as she began spending more and more time outside of her tight knit immigrant community, she adopted the nickname Milly as something of an alter ego.

“Milly was a version of myself that could be and do whatever she wanted without fear of shame or judgment,” says Amaal. “When I was Milly, I was anonymous, which ironically helped me find myself.”

By the time she hit 20, Amaal had grown bold enough to begin making her own music, but she still felt limited as to what she could sing about, so she focused her creative energy on politically and socially conscious material inspired by the civil unrest in Somalia and the struggles her people faced as a result. It was powerful stuff, to be sure, but there was more to Amaal than being a refugee, and she longed to express the fullness of herself and her story in her art. 

“It felt like I was absent in my own music,” she explains. “I was just trying to do things that felt safe and that would make my community proud because I knew that the moment I strayed beyond that, the backlash would come.”

In 2019, Amaal finally worked up the courage to step outside of her comfort zone with the release of Black Dove, a surprisingly vulnerable collection that found her reckoning with love and heartbreak and desire in her music for the very first time. Though it felt incredibly risky, the EP was a critical smash, garnering a Juno nomination for Soul/R&B Recording of the Year, racking up millions of streams online, and prompting rave reviews across the board. Complex hailed Amaal’s “airy and ethereal vocals,” while Exclaim! dubbed her “an artist that demands attention,” and Vibe proclaimed her a singer “like no other.” Perhaps more important than any reviews, though, were the messages Amaal began receiving from women around the world who saw themselves in her story and were learning to find their own voices through listening to her music.

“I called that EP Black Dove because I felt like this bird that was finally being uncaged,” says Amaal. “It was the beginning of me stepping out of the constraints that I’d grown up with.”

If Black Dove represented Amaal’s first steps towards self-expression, then Milly is more like a flying leap. Written and recorded with GRAMMY-nominated production duo Nicky Davey (Beyoncé, Zayn), the collection embraces the wild sense of freedom and discovery that came with Amaal’s alter ego growing up, tackling sexual liberation and female empowerment in no uncertain terms. The arrangements on the EP are spare and spacious, fueled by sultry beats and hypnotic synthesizers, and the minimalist approach only serves to intensify the spotlight on Amaal’s captivating vocals, which flow from a deeper, more full-bodied register here than ever before.

“This project forced me to explore whole new ranges in my voice, which put me in touch with whole new parts of myself as a woman,” Amaal reflects. “I honestly didn’t know I could sing that low or feel that confident until we recorded these songs.”

That confidence is clear from the outset on Milly, which opens with the steamy “Heaven.” “Open up the gates of heaven / Holy water dripping blessings / My blessings on you,” Amaal sings on the track, elevating physical intimacy to the level of divine consecration. Like much of the EP, it’s a rapturous ode to power and pleasure, to flipping the script and centering the sexual experience on female satisfaction. The swaggering “Honey” minces no words when it comes to women knowing their worth in the bedroom, while the dreamy “Renegade” takes the reigns with dominance and authority, and the effervescent “Special” brushes off the dime-a-dozen men who don’t have what it takes to keep up. Even a sweetly romantic track like the understated “Lullaby,” which features Syd from The Internet, blurs the lines between love and lust in its portrayal of the kind of deep, committed relationship in which insecurities and inhibitions are a thing of the past. 

Watch the mesmerizing live performance of Amaal’s latest single “Honey” here.

“After a lifetime of being told how I could speak and act and present myself as a woman, it felt like some kind of spiritual experience to be able say and do whatever I wanted on this EP,” says Amaal. “Singing these songs felt so radical, but at the same time so natural.”

It’s that duality that lies at the heart of Amaal’s music. For much of her life, she’s lived between two worlds; with Milly, Amaal is creating her own.

LFREAQ x Lissyelle single artwork by Anna Azarov from Leigh Greaney, Big Hassle Media for use by 360 Magazine

L’FREAQ shreds her puppet strings – Gimmick

“Fans of FKA Twigs and Banks would be remiss not to check out synth-pop enchantress L’Freaq” -Billboard

L’FREAQ’s blend of gothic sensibilities and sultry soulfulness manages to continually hit the marks of bona de pop bangers.” -Nylon

L’FREAQ has a sexy, neo-goth, synth pop sound.” -Bust

“world-building music… colossal” -Refinery29

Today, LA-based dark-synth pop artist, L’FREAQ, shares a music video for her latest single “Gimmick,” the debut single from the forthcoming release and sophomore EP, Showgirl, due out on August 27, 2021 via Position Music. The first visual from the upcoming release is absolutely stacked with metaphor, all-star fashion, witchy vibes and an important message about the role media plays with children – especially young women. From puppet to powerhouse, L’FREAQ breaks free of the monotony and shreds through the brainwashed stereotypes, as she literally shreds on a guitar.

Describing the video, L’FREAQ says, “While the song is about my experience on a singing show and the judge who made me doubt myself, I wanted the video to have a bit of a darker message. My director and I, Shepherd Flashman Lowrey, came up with the idea to have a little girl watching me on a growing TV screen, a symbol for how the media consumes and controls us. I came up with the puppet master idea to go along with it, showing that what we see on our screens is not always what is happening in reality.”

The new track embodies the theme of resiliency in a time of self-doubt. “Gimmick” combines heart-pounding beats with passionate lyrics about believing in the power that everyone inherently owns and nobody else can take away, while and emphasizing L’FREAQ’s expansive “robust range” (Refinery29).

Describing the song L’FREAQ says, “After a grueling audition for a singing show in late 2019, I felt incredibly disempowered. One of the judges called me “gimmicky” and I felt as if my career had ended. What I didn’t realize was that this one person, one show, and one opportunity just wasn’t the right fit for me. After months struggling with mental health, I wrote this song as a way for me to empower myself and others, and a tongue in cheek diss to the judge that made me doubt my power.”

Having recently performed for Backline’s “Set Break” live stream alongside Alanis Morissette, Tom Morello, Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles and more to raise funds and awareness for mental health services to be distributed to music industry for free, L’FREAQ has been a champion for her community. This song is another chapter of that consistent commitment to rise up and bring people with her.

L’FREAQ, continues to remain an open book of emotions for fans as she lays out her own experience with rejection and struggles with mental health. L’FREAQ belts, “Got the courage to be vulnerable, got the guts to wear the crown, cause I dare to bare it all, I refuse to water down,” as a testament of truthfulness and self-confidence even when it’s hard. Intimacy on this level allows L’FREAQ to push the storyline forward when it comes to believing in dreams as a reality, especially in the face of adversity. NYLON says, “Look at L’FREAQ, draped in jewels and Cleopatra-esque eye makeup; then look a little harder. Behind the artifice, integrity abounds.”

L’FREAQ is all about being inclusive, and she is outspoken when it comes to defending the underdog. As an ally of everyone on the spectrum of gender and sexuality, bullies, racists and sexists are not allowed in L’FREAQ’s kingdom. She also shows her love for those closest to her, by highlighting their work: namely her fashion photographer mom, Kelly Cappelli (as seen in Vogue), who does all the photography and artwork for L’FREAQ.

The new release follows L’FREAQ’s debut EP, Weird Awakenings, which played with themes of self-discovery, as well as her 2021 single “Make Me Move.” Armed with a full book of poetry, L’FREAQ took pieces of her work and composed songs with Mike Irish, who also produced and mixed the EP at Shifted Recording Studios. The EP was mastered by Stuart Hawkes at Metropolis London Music. They took their time in discovering a sound that felt genuine, one that explored all the raw places she had been longing to find. Together, they created a modern amalgamation of L’FREAQ’s dark, thoughtful poetry and her raw musical instincts, which inevitably alchemized into songs that are all at once aggressive, sensual and moving.

Having shared a stage with ABBA, India.Arie and Jakob Dylan, it’s important to note her live performance prowess, even without tour dates on the books (speaking of longing). L’FREAQ played a packed NYC performance debut at SoHo House, and channeled Britney Spears (especially during her ferocious “Toxic” cover”), Nick Cave and Beats Antique vibes. The Deli Magazine later dubbed her “NYC’s Favorite Emerging Artist.”

With over 500k streams, 240K plays on YouTube, and songs featured in “Riverdale,” Playboy, Netflix’s “Dating Around, “Good Trouble,” “FBI,” “The Voice,” “City on a Hill” and more – all born from her 5-song debut EP, it’s safe to say this follow-up EP is highly anticipated. Stay tuned for more visual components to follow, along with brand new singles. Showgirl is on the way.

Track listing: SHOWGIRL EP

  1. Gimmick
  2. Showgirl
  3. Take You Down
  4. LOUD
  5. Nothing on Me

Previous Releases By L’FREAQ:

Listen To “Make Me Move”: Here

Watch “New Skin”: Here

Listen To Weird Awakenings Ep: Here

Watch “Weird Awakenings” Video: Here

Watch “Moonlight” Video: Here

About L’FREAQ:

L’FREAQ is the alias of Brooklyn and LA-based singer/songwriter Lea Cappelli, who crafts songs inspired by pop and R&B but with a biting edge. Some highlights of her career include performing privately for Muhammad Ali, sharing the stage with Jakob Dylan, and performing with Grammy-winning artist India.Arie.

L’FREAQ released her EP, Weird Awakenings, to critical acclaim in October 2018 and was voted one of NYLON’s 20 Best Releases. The EP has also garnered radio play and enthusiastic reviews in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia. Her second music video was premiered by Billboard while her most recent music video, “New Skin,” was released exclusively through NYLON which noted “integrity abounds” throughout.

Playboy recently used the title track “Weird Awakenings” in its groundbreaking video of actor Ezra Miller, while another song from the EP, “I’ve Become a Thief” has been featured in the trailer for the CW’s hit show “Riverdale.” L’FREAQ was recently voted “NYC’s Favorite Emerging Artist” in an open poll sponsored by The Deli Magazine, and can be seen this fall on her upcoming west coast tour in support of the Weird Awakenings EP.

Stay Connected with L’FREAQ:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Spotify

Things You Say presents Expression image by Things You Say for use by 360 Magazine

Things You Say presents Expression

Things You Say invites you to join us for a bi-weekly evening of disco and house music at “Things You Say presents Expression.” This performance will debut Thursday, July 15th at The Queensberry in Los Angeles. The free event intends to bring LA’s music community together to celebrate local artists.

“Things You Say presents Expression” is a space of acceptance, camaraderie and liberation. Things You Say presents Expression promotes an open-door policy that celebrates inclusion, intersectionality, and the rich traditions of club culture. In this way, Things You Say provides a unique space that is the “Expression” platform.

“Things You Say presents Expression” hosts artists, musicians and tastemakers from around the world to share their perspective and to explore love with positivity through movement in an embellished multi-sensory environment.

On their Spotify account, Things You Say describes their music as such:

“We are Things You Say. We come from club culture, it’s embedded in us. It’s where we met. It’s where we found ourselves and each other. We want to make you dance. Despite our name, we hope that you’ll say less and dance more.”

The group’s most recent release in collaboration with Arama, “Angel,” celebrates the same feel-good, groovy attitude of club culture. The track illustrates feeling “weightless” while spending time with a lover. Things You Say melodically sings:

“All I wanna do is see the world with you/ the stars/ the moon/ floating with you./ it’s you, I think I found an angel.”

Things You Say has just released a remix for Tiana Major9 out now on Motown listen here. Other remixes from the band features Grimes’ “Miss Anthropocene (Rave Edition.)” The band has 18,550 monthly listeners, the majority of which are based in London, Los Angeles, and New York City. As Things You Say’s influence continues to grow, they are surely a musical group to watch!

Listen to Things You Say on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

“Things You Say presents Expression” will take place from 9pm-2am at 819 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017.

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Q×A

Reese Sherman is a talented photographer who creates stunning portraiture. The photographer has been featured by the likes of Town & Country, Essence, Ambassador Digital Magazine, W Magazine, Muze, and more. The vibrant portfolio of Sherman’s evocative, striking, beautiful photographs can be viewed on their website or Instagram. Sherman looks to empower viewers with their photography and highlight gender-neutral inclusivity and LGBT+ acceptance. During this pride month, we sat down with the artist to discuss their latest photography project, which involves self-exploration, unity, and love.

Could you tell us about your photographic approach to this project?

This all came about during the BLM and Trans Lives Matter movement, where I was noticing so many people were standing up and showing up as themselves. Such an array of different people showed off their style and spoke loud and proud about who they are. [It] really inspired me to pick up my camera and shoot my husband wearing masculine clothes mixed with feminine jewelry against bright, bold and colorful backdrops. [These photos] showcase[ed] him being 100% comfortable within the style of art and fashion. I wanted to explore incorporating feminine elements within a masculine framework in a way that transcends sexuality. This is all about style and freedom and identity that goes beyond any pre-conceived category.

“This is all about style, freedom, and identity…” Was your model, Jamarr, a part of the creative process as well? 

Jamarr is a creative individual… I love to collaborate with him and have him give his input into projects, especially this one, where we both styled the wardrobe and jewelry. Also having my husband a part of this, I wanted the story to stay true to his own authentic style, since his normal everyday accessory wear isn’t geared towards feminine pieces. But, styling him with a pink beaded necklace, yellow roses and eyeliner really took him out of his norm—but he was confident in wearing it all.

Did photographing your partner make this project more intimate/personal?  

Absolutely! We just know each other so well to the point when we first started to talk about this project, we spoke about the issues the LGBTQ+ community was going through. The issues that the Black community was dealing with made this personal to us. Seeing Jamarr model and stay grounded in his sexuality was inspiring to me. This made us both proud of what we’re hoping to accomplish, which is gender-neutral inclusivity.  

Some of your images are more detailed and some of them not, could you tell us what this mean/how you would like the viewers to interpret your photos?

I want the viewers to see timeless, intimate and non-conforming pictures. I want viewers to feel confident to do whatever is it that makes them happy. if you want to pile on a bunch of jewelry head-to-toe, do it! If you’re a man and you come across an accessory that is traditionally feminine, wear it and be proud! If you’re a woman, same thing applies, if you want to wear clothing that’s traditionally male. Be proud of how you present yourself. I just want people to feel empowered.

What is the most important component of this collection of work?
Two words: unity and love.

What is the most challenging component of this collection of work? 

The challenge was putting this all together and hoping the result would match what we envisioned in our minds.

Could you comment on the styling of choice and what inspired you to choose these colors in particular? (Apart from the colors of the pride flag!)

The unapologetic energy of the model, the juxtaposition of the traditionally feminine jewelry against his body hair, the structured clothing made of shiny, flowing fabrics—they all promote the idea that masculinity is what you make it. Initially the pink just felt fun and exciting. Yellow felt like sun kissed skin plus it reminded us of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The orange/red was striking and sexy. And a lot of the jewelry was my grandmother’s, so that added an even more personal aspect to the work.

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

Reese Sherman Spectrum 1 photograph for use by 360 Magazine

PrideHouseLA Image via Jessica Katz and Melanie Du Pont at Katz Public Relations for use by 360 Magazine

PrideHouseLA Q×A

PrideHouseLA has created major buzz this June during pride month. The accepting, rainbow-emblazoned content house supports the LGBTQIA+ community and is a judgement free zone for all. The content house’s members consist of Mollee Gray, Jeka Jane, Kent Boyd, and Garrett Clayton. Together, the Pride House collective looks to spread tolerance and supports everyone being the most authentic version of themselves. We spoke with the members of the house about their coming out stories, advice for those who may be afraid to come out, and how PrideHouse fosters queer expression.

What was the original concept for PrideHouseLA?

PrideHouseLA was always intended to be an inclusive platform for people in the LGBTQ+ community and our allies! We wanted to create a positive space that radiates acceptance and love, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity!

If you’re comfortable saying so, how does everyone in the house identify and what are their pronouns?

Of course!

Mollee Gray: I’m queer and my pronouns are She/Her.

Jeka Jane: I’m straight and my pronouns are He/Him.

Kent Boyd: I’m gay and my pronouns are He/Him.

Garrett Clayton: I’m gay and my pronouns are He/Him.

Besides PrideHouseLA members being part of the LGBT community, in what ways does the PrideHouse foster and feature queer expression?

We truly feel that queer expression is what makes us PrideHouseLA! Whether it be “gender bending” how we identify, or simply just being, we represent our community in all facets! The community is really big on self-expression. Through the arts, makeup and creative collaborations, PrideHouseLA is extremely vibrant and loud with how we choose to showcase our life!

What are the biggest ways in which PrideHouseLA is contributing to the LGBT community?

PrideHouseLA is very involved with GLAAD and is openly supporting The Trevor Project as our charity on social media. Apart from being an advocate for big organizations, we personally take the time to respond to our DM’s, support small LGBTQ+ businesses, and always make sure to be extremely active in elections to make sure our community is being fought for and to demand that our rights be as important as others!

If they’re comfortable answering, what were all of your coming out experiences like?

Mollee: I grew up Mormon in Utah, so I was extremely nervous to come out. I do believe it was a shock to some people and others responded with, “I’ve been waiting for you to tell me.” I had to be okay with it being a process for everyone and not just myself. I didn’t come out until I was about 20, so I know it was a change for others! I gave people who needed time, time and they were able to witness my relationships and see that love is love! They realized that who I love is just as valid as who they love.

Garrett: When I came out to my mom, I accidentally dramatized it by saying I had something really important to tell her…she got nervous and thought I was doing drugs! I immediately told her no, and that I just needed her to know I was gay. Right away, she said she knew and that she loved me so much. The response was the same with my step dad! The relationship with my brother is very different. Ever since I came out, our relationship has been estranged. He does not believe I should have the right to get married, which is obviously very hurtful and unacceptable, so we have not spoken in years.

Jeka: My coming out story is pretty crazy, and I feel like a lot of trans people can relate. In elementary school I had my first realization that I wasn’t a girl, but back then transgender wasn’t a big topic so my feelings just fell away. I always knew I was attracted to girls and the only label, and I use that lightly, that made sense was lesbian. Something about that didn’t sit right. My mom was very accepting but some other family member weren’t so inviting. They told me it was a phase. I didn’t let that affect me! I lived with this mask on for years. Then, one of my really good friends came out as transgender a few years back and my gut just sank. I remember the feeling of being weirdly jealous. Not in a bad way, but in a way that he was living his truth and I was stuck wearing this mask. First came top surgery, which was a slow filter into what I was really feeling without actually realizing it. After some time with this internal battle I told my wife “I am transgender.” Oh the weight that I felt lift off my shoulders. Since then, I’ve been educating myself on trans issues and really connecting with my community. I want people to know that there’s no timeline for coming out. So do it at your own pace and safely.

Kent: I actually was very lucky, being from Ohio. I came out to each of my family members, and gratefully enough, they were all so supportive. My sister was the first one I told, and she was so sweet and accepting. She later wrote me a letter explaining that she was just sad that I hadn’t let her in sooner, but she was so happy I finally did.

What advice would you have for fans of PrideHouseLA who are afraid to come out?

Coming out is YOUR process and YOU deserve the right to handle it how you want. Please know that you always have a safe space with PrideHouseLA, and we will love you unconditionally!

 PrideHouseLA has already collaborated with internet personalities such as Todrick, Jojo Siwa, and Ruba. Can fans expect any other internet collaborations to come?

Yes! We have some really fun ones coming up, so follow us on TikTok and Instagram to stay up to date!

 Does PrideHouseLA have any exciting, upcoming plans for Pride Month?

Most definitely! We will be hosting our own event as well as teaming up with our community to bring you all the joy and excitement this month!

Body positivity — a balancing act

By Janna Breslin

Body positivity is a phrase we hear more and more often, lately. It’s a push to alert people—especially impressionable children and teens—that there are many harmful media representations out there, especially for women.

Just as people once wrung their hands over Barbie’s unnatural shape, the Kardashians and other airbrushed social media influencers make certain “desirable” body shapes seem naturally attainable. We’re all guilty of it to a certain extent. Who doesn’t use strategic selfie angles to mask our “imperfections?”

The body positivity movement is aimed at normalizing all body types, rather than focusing on and celebrating only super-ripped Abercrombie and surgically-enhanced Victoria’s Secret models. Realistically, no matter how much we diet and exercise, the majority of humans can’t achieve those standards. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wear the clothes we enjoy or avoid photos with friends.

But acceptance is a balancing act. We should all recognize that our bodies are constantly changing, and to hold ourselves to impossible ideals is detrimental to our mental health. On the other hand, body positivity isn’t a substitute for physical wellness. Luckily, physical health also comes in a number of different packages.

The push to normalize all body types

Your body image is how you feel about the way you look and feel, when you look in the mirror or at photos of yourself. Healthy body image is not merely not hating the way your body looks, but actively accepting it without trying to change yourself to fit arbitrary standards. For example, if you tell yourself, “I’ll look better once I lose fifteen pounds,” that’s not a healthy body image—even if you actually need to lose that weight to be healthy. In fact, it can actually promote unhealthy behaviors.

Body positivity initially started as a plus-size movement, and has grown more inclusive over time. The movement includes people of any shape, size, gender, race and physical ability (or disability). The point is to challenge the way society presents the physical “ideal” in pop culture, media, and more. That ranges from putting plus (or even average)-size models in ads to workout videos hosted by plus-size yogis.

How acceptance can help you stay healthy

For some people, the idea that you can be healthy and physically active, even if you’re plus-sized, is nothing short of revolutionary. Of course, there’s plenty of blowback—detractors accuse body positivity advocates of “glorifying obesity.” Since the movement is diverse, you may come across conflicting options from different sources. The key is that weight stigma hurts your mental health—and when you’re struggling emotionally, it’s that much harder to get fit and enjoy life.

Judith Matz, a clinical social worker cautions people not to put off activities until they reach a certain weight or fitness goal. The key to body acceptance (and staying or getting fit) is to continue to practice healthy behaviors regardless of your current size. When you consistently get the message that you’re not worthy of taking a barre class while you’re thirty pounds overweight, or you can’t wear a crop top until you’re perfectly toned, you’re more likely to give up.

That’s how body positivity can help: it reminds us that we all have the right to exist in and enjoy our bodies just as they are, right now. That includes engaging in healthy exercise and enjoying balanced nutrition.

Body positivity is no substitute for physical wellness

With that said, body positivity isn’t a substitute for physical health. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be a physically fit person at a higher weight. As long as you and your doctor are happy with your fitness and body size, healthy bodies really do come in all shapes and sizes.

The key is to balance the mental health benefits of body acceptance with physical fitness. You don’t have to be the “perfect” BMI (and in fact, research suggests that is an outdated metric) with ripped abs and biceps to be healthy or to love your body. However, if you struggle to get off the couch and get any physical activity at all, chances are you could stand to get back into fighting shape. You wouldn’t be alone, either. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are struggling now than ever—which feeds right back into negative body image.

The goal for everyone should be to accept ourselves as we are—works in progress—and prioritize our physical fitness over whether we fit into arbitrary aesthetic standards. When we do that, we make healthier decisions.

Janna Breslin is a well-known fitness model, certified personal trainer, health coach, and
nutrition expert. With Evan DeMarco, she co-founded Complete Human, the new
multi-media platform that takes a deep dive into the areas of mind, body, soul, and planet while
exploring what makes us who we are and what will make us better. Their flagship podcast can be found on all major streaming podcast players including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, and their namesake streaming video channel is online at YouTube.

Instagram | Facebook | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Youtube

Handling Your Anger

5 STEPS TO UNDERSTANDING YOUR ANGER AND HANDLING IT EFFECTIVELY IN INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Anger can be a normal and healthy emotion. So why is it often so problematic? Here are a few signs that your anger may be harmful rather than helpful:

  • I’m often told I have a “bad temper”
  • Others distance themselves from me when I’m angry
  • Expressing anger leads to fighting
  • I don’t feel understood when I’m angry

Let’s take some time to understand anger in a different way.

As normal and as common as anger is, the emotion is frequently misunderstood and mishandled. In today’s day and age, we are taught that we are supposed to let others know exactly how we feel, which can be helpful at times; however, expressing anger is complicated for two main reasons. First, because it is often a secondary emotion, meaning that people often use anger to mask more vulnerable feelings such as hurt disappointment or fear. These feelings may be frightening because they can leave us feeling weak and helpless. This may cause us to resort to showing anger instead so that we can maintain a sense of control. Second, anger can be problematic because expressing anger, in the wrong way, can trigger fear, defensiveness and anger in the recipient. This may cause the other person to begin to protect him or herself instead of trying to understand you.

So What Is Anger?

In its purest form, anger can be a natural response to feeling purposely violated or wronged in some way. When we believe that someone has intentionally violated us, anger can give us the energy to stand up for ourselves. However, the way in which we understand and express our anger can either cause constructive or destructive results.

If expressing anger leaves you feeling misunderstood, or others feeling hurt, angry or shut down, these tips may help.

1. TAKE A MOMENT TO BREATHE

When you notice that you are feeling angry, slowing down your breath can give you a sense of self-control and peace. This will give you time and space to think about your process so that you don’t go on autopilot. If you feel tension in a particular part of your body, breathe relaxation into it.    

2. NOTICE WHAT YOU ARE FEELING

Notice the thoughts that are passing through your mind and the emotions in your body. Is there a tinge of sadness or fear? Are you longing for something? Do you need reassurance? Because many people fear that the other person won’t be there for them in the way they need, these softer feelings often get ignored.  

3. DISCUSS YOUR CONCERNS

Let the other person know that you have some apprehension about sharing your feelings because you fear that he or she won’t be receptive. For example, you may say something like “It’s hard for me to tell you what I need because I think you will judge me.” Once this is in the open, discuss this with the other person until you feel safe enough to share your more vulnerable feelings.

4. BE WILLING TO ADDRESS THE SOFTER FEELINGS

Acknowledging feelings such as loneliness and the desire for acceptance and appreciation can trigger feelings of vulnerability. However, expressing these feelings can connect you to others. When you let someone know your needs, if the dynamic is healthy, the other person will likely try to understand them and help search for a viable solution.

5. BE SOLUTION ORIENTED

Think about your intentions. What are you trying to accomplish by addressing your anger with others? Are you trying to hurt them in the same way you believe they hurt you? If so, this can feed into a destructive pattern of fractured relationships. On the other hand, if your goal is to resolve the issue so that you can build trust and harmony with the other person, then addressing your anger can be helpful. See my blog on Conflict Resolution for detailed steps on how to address conflict.

Understanding and addressing your anger in a way that restores harmony in your relationships can be easy when we focus on the right thing. Call me today for a free consultation so that I can help you change your relationship with anger from one that is harmful to one that creates peace.

About Dr. Crystal Clements:

Dr. Crystal Clements is a psychologist, who practices as a  registered psychological assistant in Downtown Los Angeles at Here Counseling. She works with adults, adolescents, couples and families to treat depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, and relational issues. She loves what she does and is passionate about helping people feel good about themselves and life. Dr. Crystal earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Studies and MAs in Psychology and Christian Leadership from the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. She earned a BA in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania. As part of her training, she completed an APA accredited internship in Health Service Psychology at California State University, Fullerton.

Contact her today for a free 15 minute consultation!