Where do you source your self-worth? Success and achievement? Physical appearance? Giving to others? Your intuition?
Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, the Expert in our upcoming call for Living Wholly's “Virtual Speaker Series,” has asked this question of the over three thousand women she has supported as a nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, and cognitive behavioral therapist. She asks this question because she has found a striking trend between a woman’s self-worth and how diligent she is in sticking to her diet and exercise plans. If her perception of her self-worth is out of balance, old behavioral patterns and self-doubt could sabotage her nutritional and fitness efforts.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The integration of Dana’s work with these women, and her extensive research, led her to identify four archetypes that describe most women, and why they struggle in their relationship with food, and their bodies. The four archetypes include Wonder Woman, Nurturer, Femme Fatale, and Ethereal.
We all have a dominant archetype at our core that can bring out the shadow elements in our life and cause us to engage in behaviors such as using alcohol to unwind (Wonder Woman), comfort eating (Nurturer), constantly dieting (Femme Fatale), or numbing ourselves with food (Ethereal). We also have an overlay archetype that can bring out more of our positive qualities.
To help us determine which archetype we fit into, Dana created a simple and fun quiz to provide the answer. I completed the quiz, and while I identified with certain attributes of all four archetypes, I found that my dominant archetype is Ethereal, while my overlay archetype is Wonder Woman.
So what does this mean? In Dana’s words, the Ethereal is, “Feminine, intuitive, expressive and enchanting. You appear to float through life. Your intuition is your guiding compass. You believe in the harmony of the universe and conflict is very distressing for you.”
The innate sensitivity of the Ethereal can often lead to the behavior of numbing emotions with food, alcohol or drugs, if that sensitivity is not understood. Does this feel accurate? Absolutely. Do I consciously have to make different choices? Yes.
Dana has also identified that the Ethereal tends to be low in estrogen, have dry skin and hair, and can experience digestive issues when their creative expression is stifled - all challenges that can be remedied if we identify, and learn to work with, the archetype we’re playing out.
The overlay archetype that I identified with was Wonder Woman. Dana defines Wonder Woman as, “Strong, dignified and resilient. What you set your mind to, you get. You are an overachiever and expect the best from yourself (and others). However, as your self-worth is derived from your achievements, you are vulnerable to criticism and perfectionism.”
The Wonder Woman often prioritizes work over most other areas of her life and uses food as a reward, and alcohol as a de-stressor. Women who fit into this archetype may be at risk for imbalanced adrenals and thyroid issues, and tend to store fat in their stomachs. As Dana says, the Wonder Woman’s challenge is to “learn how to embrace your intuition, femininity and feelings.”
And so begins my journey of deconstructing the shadow side of my archetype, and layering in the positive attributes of the other archetypes, to become a more complete woman.
I’m excited about (and a little intimidated by!) this journey because not only do I get to take a deep dive into my relationship with food and my body, but also have the opportunity to peel back the layers of my self-worth and get to know myself on a profoundly intimate level.
Curious about what archetype you fit in to? Want to discover your strengths, vulnerabilities, subconscious behaviors and your rebalancing tools. Take the archetype quiz to identify what resonates most with you and receive some insight on ways to navigate this path of integration.
LAST CALL for our LIVE Zoom call with Dana James this Wednesday, May 23 at 6.00 pm pst. Dana elaborates on the female archetypes and explores the integration of body and mind, science and psychology, so we can experience profound shifts of living wholly. Register and confirm your spot here.