Have you ever said things to yourself that you might call critical or even cruel were you to say them to another person? We all have at one time or another. In our effort to be all that we think we should be, we can easily fall into the trap of putting ourselves down. Hard.
When I was a young girl I learned a spiritual tenet found in many religions - “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” I found that rule quite puzzling, as I thought loving yourself meant you were conceited. Today I know it means you care and value yourself as much as you do your neighbor. I wish someone explained that to me back then. I might have been more comfortable owning any of the positive qualities I had. Instead it was easy to notice the things I didn’t like about myself and dwell on them. It lay a foundation for self-loathing or self-criticism so many of us need to work through once we recognize it’s neither accurate or useful.
If you’ve been following my work, you know that the focus I place on nourishment is much broader than just food. It begins with food - what you choose to eat, how much and how often - but it extends outward to many other non-food forms of nourishment. This includes self-care, pursuing one’s life purpose, caring for your body, mind and spirit. It also includes the cultivation of caring relationships, the most important of which is to yourself.
For those who struggle with food, here are some of the self-criticisms I hear you say:
I was bad yesterday
I have no discipline
I hate my body - I’m so unattractive
I sabotage myself - I lose weight and then gain it back
I must be an idiot if I can’t change my habits
I wish I looked like him/her
A pattern of self-talk like this fosters self-loathing and will likely prevent you from accomplishing your goals. These comments become deeply embedded but one needs to actively listen for them. If you see yourself using these words, notice how and with whom you express them. Is it private self-talk, or are you saying these things to your friends or family? How long have you been saying them? How does saying them make you feel? Has saying them ever helped you accomplish your goals? Did you know that your brain has no filter, so what you say is accepted as truth. A horrifying thought if everything you say about yourself is negative. But because the brain cannot filter, you can change your script and your thinking to positive comments about yourself, starting today.
Changing a habit like self-criticism calls for new thought and new language. It’s well-proven that what we think, we become. So if you want to become successful in mastering your self-care, you need to think it is completely possible.
Here is a re-phrasing of the comments listed above. These new statements are designed to lead you closer to what you really want:
I made some poor choices yesterday; today I have techniques that will prevent a repetition
I stay on course when I remain conscious that I have choices
My body is mine to care for and love
I set goals and stay with them, reminding myself that I and strong and proud of my accomplishments
I change my habits by writing better ones to replace the old unhelpful ones
I’m grateful to be me - I’m unique, like to other
Need help in creating a better relationship with your food, and especially with yourself? Is it time to like yourself more? Contact me for a free consultation and we’ll start the conversation.