i am not a proponent of diets. ‘nuff said. but, with the risk of sounding contradictory, there is one diet that i think every single human on the planet could benefit from. (drum roll please….) the ‘diet’ of cutting out negative self-talk.
listen to how you speak to yourself. for most of us (for me, it was especially in my teen years), it’s often a steady barrage of negative thoughts and put-downs. “ugh…you look soooo fat in that. / your hair is a frizzy mess today. / you think you can eat that? it’s gonna go right to your stomach pooch!” you women out there, can relate, i’m sure…which is kind of sad…
but that voice is not you– it’s talking “at you”, as if it’s a necessary commentator for your life. for me, that voice is a mix of unreliable sources, like the media. from reading magazines and watching tv, we learn that to be loved and adored, we have to be at least 5 foot 7 inches tall, 110 pounds, have gorgeous flowing locks and flawless skin. i’m only 5 foot 5 – so according to this faulty belief system, i’m already failing! that sucks!
purge yourself of your negative self-talk. cut back on it as you would calories or carbs. no amount of self-criticism will ever make you happier – has it worked yet? so try something different. if you see no results, and don’t feel any better, you can always go back to beating yourself up.
when a negative self-judgment pops into your head, notice it. that’s the first step – just notice. don’t judge because that’s a self-criticism, too! (i know, it’s a tricky game to play, but it’s worth it!) then just let it float away.
if you’re feeling really bold, bring to mind something you like about yourself. maybe your big beautiful eyes, your sense of humor, or your slender fingers that can play the piano (sort of). even if it’s something small, it’s a start. if you’re having a lot of trouble coming up with something, think back to compliments you’ve received from others – maybe you’re often acknowledged for your kindness, or your great smile, or your easy-going nature. whatever it is, bring it to mind, and revel in the awesomeness that is you…even if it’s just for a few minutes.
for me, yoga has been key to eliminating my harsh self-talk. yoga teaches you to accept all of your being - inside & out, mind, body and soul - just as it is now. without forcing change, you're asked to become an observer of your body and mind, and then, from that place, you work to align the two with breath, movement and awareness. pushing yourself to "change" with mean words and thoughts, only weakens you - you're pitting your mind against your body. if you can, instead, work to combine the two, you have twice the power to affect positive change in yourself and your world.
as you crash diet your way out of negative self-talk, you may just notice that you feel a bit lighter in a way that has nothing to do with the number on the scale.
meditation prompt for your journal or cushion:
what are three things you like about your physical body?
what are three things you like about your personality?