Put a stop to your own ‘Negative Nancy’.
Do you ever talk to yourself?
You know that little voice that pops up in your head and gives you their opinion on something happening in your life. I know that little voice well…sometimes it’s positive and kind, and other times it’s downright mean.
It took me a long time to understand that the voice of negativity is not my own, but instead a series of events that shaped me when I was a little person. That voice is often the combination of other peoples beliefs, standards and opinions.
And as a child I was not able to understand that other people’s ‘stuff’ was passed onto me. The voice inside that says “you are not enough” is very good at speaking louder than my real voice.
I wonder if you have ever had the same experience, or can notice the difference between the part of you that is unkind, verses the part of you that is loving, compassionate and kind.
Lately a lot of the conversations I’m having with women I coach and also friends I hang with, is about the negativity they feel towards their own body.
Sure we can put this down to the media bombarding us with images of ‘perfection’ and ways to improve ourselves. But what’s really going on is that we have learnt to listen to the negative part of us (other peoples stuff) more than our own true voice.
Whilst this might be making companies who sell ‘perfection’ to us filthy rich, it’s doing something very damaging to our self-worth. And that’s not cool because it’s either driving women to push harder, do more, be more…or it’s causing a sense of helplessness and sadness. Neither of theses things help a women when it comes to her wellbeing and happiness.
I was at the gym this morning and had it in my mind that I wanted to do a tough workout. Being a Monday I usually set myself a short and sharp session to do – 30 minutes or less of some sweat busting moves.
I like the feeling it gives me at the end (not always in the middle of it though – LOL!). But today I noticed something happening. As I was on the bike doing sprints and trying to beat my previous time I noticed a little voice in my head.
It went something like this…“Your legs are a little tired today aren’t they. You’re going as fast as you can and it’s ok not to beat that last time. I’m proud of you for doing the best you can today. Thank you legs for what you bought to the session”.
Now before you roll your eyes and think I might be little nuts – after all, who has this going on in their head…hear me out.
The thing I noticed was that instead of listening to a voice that said “go harder, this is not your best effort, push, go – go – go!!!”, the dialogue I paid attention to was kinder, and in fact was coming from a place within ME. It was not someone else voice…it was my own.
How did that happen?
Why didn’t the negative voice win out this time? My theory is that I was ready to hear it. I was prepared to listen to that part of me who is wise, kind and is self compassionate.
It’s taken me a while to listen to ‘her’ (ok, 20 years is more than a while!) and I attribute committing to regular yoga sessions as the catalyst for this change in dialogue. After all, yoga is about going within and tuning into your body in the present moment and asking “what is it I need right now”.
So how does a woman go from the ‘negative Nancy body-hating’ voice to her own – especially when it comes to being kinder to her body.
I have three tips that might help if you are willing to try something different.
TIP 1: Do some yoga on a regular basis
I was skeptical of yoga and it’s amazing powers until I was forced to try something different after burning out physically last year. But it’s now the part of the week I look forward to the most because it gives me time to pause and tune into my body – it’s like a gift I give yo me each week.
If you are after an awesome yoga solution you can do at home, I use www.yogaglo.com – for $18 a month you get access to some beautiful yoga routines.
TIP 2: Start a new ritual
I’m a big believer in keeping things simple. So here is what I invite you to do for the next 30 days. Each night before you go to bed, spend 5 minutes with your eyes closed, breathing in and out deeply and saying one simple thing to yourself…”Thank you body for…”
You have to fill that space with positive things that your body allowed you to do. Make a commitment to yourself to name at least 1 thing. Here’s some examples to help you…
“Thank you body for…”
- Giving me strong legs to do that hill walk
- Making it possible to give birth to my beautiful children
- Telling me that I needed a power nap
- Getting through a hectic day
- Helping me carry 6 bags of groceries up the stairs
So you can see from the examples that the focus is on what your body helped you DO today…not what it looks like. And that’s the key to seeing your body in a positive and self-respecting way.
TIP 3: Play the ‘perspective’ game
When you notice the negative self talk creep in, train yourself to say “put this into perspective”. I recently met up with an old friend who was diagnosed with mouth cancer last year – she is my age, has 2 kids and a husband, and until then was a fit, healthy and active woman.
She has been through the most horrific experience treating this disease and the one thing she said to me was “I really see what’s important in life now”. WOW, talk about a reality check!
It’s a powerful thing to put your life into perspective against experiences others are having. We all know people touched by devastation…use this to help you realise what is good about you, your body and your life.
Changing your negative voice (or the mean girl inside) can take time, so be patient and kind. But it’s totally worth it when listening to your true self helps you to live life the way you really want to.
Love Lisa Xx