The Dirty Truth About Negative Thinking
The Dirty Truth!
The Dirty Truth about negative thinking is that it has a direct effect on our sense of self-worth. I wish I could tell you that once you make the decision to learn to love yourself, that it’s all downhill from there. Problem is, if you’re anything like me, you have decades of self-hatred, and quite the abusive mental script in your head to unwind. That is an uphill battle all the way, my friends.
Your own issue!
The truth is, everything you feel about your body is YOUR issue. I’ll say it again, EVERYTHING you feel about YOUR body is YOUR issue. Now I know you want to blame today’s society, the images you see on television, in magazines, plastered on Instagram, and other forms of social media. Guess what, they aren’t the real reason you look in the mirror and want to cry or why you grab a part of your body and squeeze it as shame and what seems to be an unending wave of despair slides through your head.
Questions float around in your mind, that nasty voice inside repeating a nasty well rehearsed script. You will never lose this weight! Why can’t I look like …? Am I Ugly? Is this why I feel so unlovable? I know this is just a small sample of the many questions that race through my mind as I stare at myself. Sitting on the floor in front of my floor length mirror. Shame pumping through my veins. I want to tear this skin off of me, rip this fat from my bones, and find the woman that surely has to be underneath all this ugly.
The reality is
If we’re being real here, and that’s the whole point here, I can’t remember a time that I actually liked my body. I can recall being a small child, around 4 or 5, and feeling like I was so different. It wasn’t because of pictures of women I saw on TV or magazines. It was from losing something so valuable, at such a young age, that I have never felt whole again. It’s taken me years to figure out where that hole inside me came from. It created the voice inside my head that convinced me over the next almost 4 decades that I wasn’t worthy of love. That there was something so fundamentally wrong with me that I couldn’t be good.
The dirty truth about negative thinking is that it makes us treat ourselves terribly. So many people in my life have tried to tell me I’m not the monster I see in the mirror. I remember having a friend tell me one day as we were driving around shopping. “Do you realize that you see yourself as so much bigger than you really are?” I stared at her, trying to process what she was saying. She was right, in my mind I was so grotesquely big that anyone who looked at me had to be gawking at my freakish roundness. It never once occurred to me that they might find me pretty, beautiful or fascinating. They surely couldn’t be curious enough to want to meet me. Can you imagine how many people you have kept out of your life because of what you think of yourself?
So how do we work on changing this self-image?
How do we stop avoiding our own gaze in the mirror as we pass? How do we stop the endless negative conversation in our minds? The answer is beautiful in its simplicity, and yet so painfully hard to accomplish. You have to flip the script. It’s up to you to rewrite the mantra in your head and turn every negative thought into a positive one. It sounds simple, but I can assure you, when you start it can be very tough to accomplish. It takes work, it takes consistency, and most importantly it takes the willingness to endure the pain of rebuilding your mental self. I promise you though it can be done! A few things I have done in the past and am working on now that are really helping are:
This is one of the harder things I did after meeting my first therapist. He told me to try mirror work for 30 days. This is where I sit in front of a mirror, look myself in the eye, and say “amber I love you” 30 times a day. It sounds so simple, so deceptively easy. Truth is, I was only able to say it 3 times the first day before I called myself a liar, and walked away from the mirror crying. It took courage to go back and try again, but I did, day after day. Then something unbelievable happened, I was walking by the mirror one day and the first thing that popped in my head was a compliment! I didn’t force myself to say it, it was a natural response!
Wrote a letter to myself
I chose to write a letter to myself, about being under construction and to not fear the changes I was making and wanted to make to myself. First, I apologized to my body for hating it, and wrote why I was thankful for the many things it does for me, despite the constant verbal and mental abuse I put it through. I find to this day it’s still hard to re-read this letter. Yet I do read it, to remind myself of the promise I made to my mind and heart.
Stop Negative thinking in its tracks
This one is a bit difficult because the horrible things we say to ourselves are ingrained and on repeat in our heads. I read from the national science foundation that the average human has 12,000- 60,000 thoughts a day. 85% of those thoughts are NEGATIVE! What’s worse, 95% of them are repetitive! Can you just imagine! No wonder we struggle to see ourselves in a positive light, we are on a negativity auto-pilot! This is something that HAS to change in order to change inside.
The bottom line is simple
The dirty truth about negative thinking is that we end up creating our own pain. It also becomes such an addictive habit that it is hard to give up. It won’t be easy, but I truly believe that I have the tools to change this for myself and share it with others. What do we have to lose, self-hatred? Pain? What do we have to gain? EVERYTHING! I’m ready to learn to love the skin I’m in. Who wants to join me?
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