I will start this post by saying that every woman needs to put this sticker on her mirror. Negative self talk is so prevalent among women that I think we could all use a little reminder. I am not sure how common it is among men, but I’d love to hear comments from men and women alike below! Also, you can check out my previous Motivation Monday posts here and here.
When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I was slim without trying to be. I wore quite a bit of make-up and, looking back, dressed quite provocatively, too. Anyone who knows me now (overweight, bare faced, and wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt – sorry, JP) wouldn’t recognize the “old me.” Back then, I was happy with how I looked, but I wasn’t healthy (physically, mentally, or emotionally). When I looked in the mirror, my biggest concern was debating between pretty outfits because I was happy with how I looked in all of them.
If you fast forward to now, I am definitely unhappy with how my body looks. For a long time, I avoided mirrors and photographs. When I did catch a glimpse of my reflection, I wouldn’t say very nice things to myself. Statements like, you look so fat, your body is disgusting, you’re so ugly now (and even worse) would flash through my mind and make me feel terrible for the rest of the day. I was depressed about myself, but I was also, more importantly, dealing with my father’s illness and death, so I didn’t make the changes that I needed to make.
My regular readers will remember my T25 Focus challenge, which is when it finally clicked for me that my obstacles were mental and not physical. At first, I didn’t even want to let myself try to workout with Shaun T because I just assumed that I couldn’t: I was too fat, too out of shape, too incapable. But then I tried it. And guess what? I did all of the videos and I did them well. That was when I started to realize just how powerful my thoughts really are when they come to my well-being. I might not be happy with where I’m at currently, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be kind to myself along the way. People need to enjoy the journey and not just focus on the destination.
I read an article that really put my negative self-talk into perspective when a simple question was posed: would you talk to your best friend how you talk to yourself? I pictured my best friend and then I imagined that she was working hard to get healthy and improve her life. Would I tell her that she was fat, ugly, disgusting, or incapable? Of course I wouldn’t. I would tell her that I was proud of her for taking accountability for her own future, I would celebrate every goal that she reached successfully, and I would tell her how great she looked and how well she was doing. So why couldn’t I say that to myself?
Well, I do now. When I’m doing yoga, I used to tell myself that I sucked at it and that I’d never be as good as the girl in the video. But now I celebrate when I can do many poses with ease, even ones that used to make me want to cry in frustration. I will look at myself in the mirror and find areas of my body that are getting leaner and looking better. I feel good about how I’m making holistic health a priority and that I am getting enough sleep every day, focusing on my mental well-being, and not neglecting one area of my life for another.
When my friend AW was going through cancer treatments, she maintained positivity throughout the process. I used to think, what’s the big deal about thinking positively, whatever is going to happen will happen anyway. Maybe. But negative thoughts can make you miserable, depressed, and don’t serve you. They can also change your attitudes and behaviours, which can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of terrible things happening. I encourage you to follow the same rule that I do when you look in the mirror: if it’s not something kind enough to say to your best friend, then don’t say it to yourself either. Your mind is a powerful tool. Use it to your advantage!
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