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How do you turn your self-image around when all you hear is negativity?
We’ve all heard it. “That dress makes you look huge!” “Why are you trying to convince these people? No one cares what you think!” “You want to go back to school? Ha! You’re not smart enough to keep up!” “It doesn’t matter how much makeup you put on, you’ll never be pretty.”
What awful person is saying these terrible, demoralizing, sabotaging things to you?
The only person who you can’t walk away from, that’s who. YOU are saying those awful things to yourself every day.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
It really doesn’t.
You can reprogram that inside voice to say things that will empower you, support you, and lift you up!
We are victims of our own inner voices, putting us down, telling us we are fat, ugly, stupid or not worthy. We are our own worst critics. There is nothing anyone can say to us that is as hurtful as what we say to ourselves.
To be successful, we have to reprogram our inner voice.
We need to use empowering language and positive messages that will give us the power to achieve our goals.
How do we do that? And how do we retain a positive inner voice and self image if people around us give us different and negative messages?
What drives your insecurity and negative inner voice is usually nonsense when examined in the light of day.
Have you ever thought “I’m not losing weight as fast as I should. I’m not ever going to be thin!”
When you stop and examine that statement, all kinds of questions come up.
You’re not losing weight as fast as you should … oh, so you are losing weight.
But not as fast as you should … by whose standards?
Every body is different and people lose more or less at different times.
You’re never going to be thin … because you are going to stop doing the thing that is getting you there?
Because these thoughts originate inside ourselves, we are inclined to believe that they are the truth. But negative thinking usually crumbles into dust and blows away when we examine them closely.
There’s a saying “Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory.” It means failing right when everything looked like you were going to succeed. It also applies to negative feelings.
Let’s look at the example above again and tack a number on it.
You’ve lost one pound this week. Your diet buddy lost 2. Now, let’s hear it again.
“I’m not losing weight as fast as I should. I’m not ever going to be thin!”
So you are failing because someone else got a bigger number this week?
What we should be saying to ourselves is this.
“I was really great on my food plan this week. I tracked everything and I got my exercise in. I had a challenge at the office potluck, but I planned for it and did great. I’m really glad to see a loss on the scale, but I’m especially proud of myself for working so hard on my goals.”
Because if you don’t focus on the positive things you did, how are you going to handle it when (not if) you hit a plateau and don’t lose anything for 3 weeks?
Changing behaviors tend to change your thinking.
If you take care of your dietary & exercise needs, you begin to identify as a person who eats right and exercises. And as you get results from your behaviors, it reinforces your self-image. You are not a fitness failure when you walk 10,000 steps every single day or go to the gym 5 times a week. You are not a diet failure when you choose your foods carefully and track them faithfully.
This is the kind of change that you can make every single day. Replace negative thoughts and judgments with positive affirmations about yourself. It might feel a little strange at first, but you will be amazed at how fast you will enjoy hearing yourself tell your negative self how great you really are. And yes, that’s a cuckoo sentence. And no, you will not become full of yourself just because you are being kind to yourself.
Take the Self Image Assessment quiz right now (in our resource library. Sign up below).
Be honest with yourself in filling it out and then put it away.
Now set a target about ONE thing that you are down on yourself about and want to change and make a plan that addresses that.
For example, let’s say one negative thing you wrote down was that you couldn’t even walk a few blocks without feeling winded. So maybe your target is “I want to walk a mile every evening after work.” Create a plan on how to do that.
Start walking as far as you are able tonight. Maybe right this minute that’s only 4 blocks. That’s ok. Tomorrow, go just a bit further. And then a bit more the next day. Add more distance until you are able to walk a half a mile, turn around and come back.
Now go back and look at your assessment. Do you still believe that you can’t walk a few blocks without feeling winded? Can anyone else tell you that and get away with it?
Language impacts how we feel about ourselves too.
Phrases like “I can’t” make you want to do whatever it is that you can’t.
I can’t eat that dessert.
Even if it’s me telling me that I can’t have that dessert, now I’m going to have that dessert, darn it!
Now try rephrasing that and see how it makes you feel.
I choose not to have dessert today.
Oh, ok. I choose. I made that decision, no one told me I couldn’t have dessert. I’m just all Miss In Control and I chose not to have that dessert. And no one is going to tell me I have to!
How about other negative ways of saying things that could be replaced with positive declarations?
Go back to the resource library and print out the Negative Thought Replacement worksheet.
Every time you have a negative thought about yourself, write it down in the left column. Immediately rewrite that thought into a positive way in the right column. Say it out loud three times. Start believing it.
Keep writing down the negative thoughts as they come and turn it into a positive affirmation you can repeat to yourself until it becomes real to you.
You know how to deal with bullies. You walk away, you confront them, you tell yourself that their opinion of you doesn’t matter.