She said it without even realizing it, “my sister got the good genes.”
I stopped her.
“Don’t say that.”
“Say what?” She asked; she hadn’t even noticed that she had so easily passed judgment about her own appearance. Except that deep down inside, she had. Subconsciously the things we say or even just think are always noticed and noted. It is those judgments we pass about ourselves that ultimately hold us hostage to a negative body image. And the negative judgments we have about ourselves can ultimately hinder more than just how we dress. It changes how we interact with people, what goals we attempt, where we go, what we believe about or want for ourselves. Contrary to what most people believe, it is not our body that needs to change in order for our body image to improve. It’s our mind. Here are four steps for you to take to better mind your mind so that a negative body image is never what holds you back again.
Pay Attention. Too often, we don’t even consciously notice what is we think about or are saying about ourselves. So start by tuning into what it is you think or even say aloud. How do you perceive yourself? What are you communicating to yourself and others about who you are? You can’t change your thoughts without knowing what they are so step one is all about getting really aware of what you say.
Wonder Why. We tell ourselves stories for a reason. Every belief we try to adopt is meant to serve us in some way, even if it is a bad belief and in a misinformed way. So now that you have been paying attention to the racket in your head, consider why it is that you have chosen to believe it. How is this racket “serving” you? We are not meant to be perfect nor are we imperfect either. We are each uniquely made and so all that rubbish about good genes or bad genes, good hair or bad hair, etc. is just a way to place a limit on ourselves. Why is it that you are placing this limit? What are you afraid of or avoiding? How have you been using this thinking to, ironically, keep you safe and small?
Consider what you really want. All of our thoughts serve a purpose. They can inspire us, or they can keep us small, especially if we are scared of growing or reaching outside our comfort zone. So, we have these negative thoughts for a reason, maybe to keep us from taking a risk that might secretly thrill us but more overtly terrifies us. Now, it is time to push past them. What is it that you really most want in your life? What is your dream? Picture that because it is only with having a new vision in mind that you can begin to let the old ideas of yourself go. If you want to take this exercise a step further, create a vision board brimming with your possibilities.
Reframe your thinking. With your new vision in mind, it is time to reframe your old thinking. As you catch yourself rehashing this old, nonproductive, limiting thoughts, rewrite them. When you think your sister got the better genes, reframe your words to reveal that she simply has a different body type. For every negative thought, there is a way to redirect it and, even more important, a way for you to affirm all the gifts- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, that you bring to the table. Never let a negative thought linger. Instead, embrace who you are and what you have to offer by using those occasions to retrain your thinking to celebrate you. With practice, you’ll soon be using your positive energy to achieve exactly what you dream.