A friend called when she was frustrated. We’d talked three months ago about this event, and she wanted to lose 10 pounds to fit into a particular dress. I WAS NOT going as planned.
On track, lose three pounds. Off track, gain four. Change diet, lose 3. Get really stressed and tired, good habits of planning and preparation fall by the wayside. When needed, she didn’t have good and ready options available.
“I was so tired that I just grabbed whatever I saw,” she said. “Now I’m so mad at myself. If I’d only been disciplined for the last few months, I could have lost 10 pounds – probably more by now.” What followed were a number of choice words for herself before I could help her step back from that cliff edge.
Sound familiar? It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? And we blame ourselves, shaming and saying things we’d never say to anyone else. It’s not even fair – you don’t deserve that kind of self-abuse, and it never truly helps. Worse, it’s more likely to send us running to comfort foods.
Where do we begin to break this bad habit, cultural go-to, poor tool for change?
Let’s look at the result we desire. Imagine what your days would be like if you didn’t beat up on yourself?
— If you didn’t stare in the mirror looking for flaws but instead commented on what you liked.
— If you didn’t refer to yourself in a derogatory manner after a mistake or poor choice but simply recognized it and noted what you learned from the experience
— If you didn’t ruminate on past grievances but instead ruminated on good experiences and people who love you
— If you didn’t question your value or worth and instead believed in it and what you bring to friends and family, work, social settings, and the world
How would you feel?
During Lent this year, I gave up focusing on grievances and turned my attention to what was going well in life, work, and relationships. When I saw a memory pop up that wasn’t helpful, I skipped it and just let it flow by. Then I found a good memory to focus on. I didn’t allow myself to tell any negative stories but chose to tell fun, rewarding, and loving stories. It was a challenge, but it helped my heart heal.
When we don’t ruminate on the negative, it doesn’t reinforce it. It also gives space and energy for enjoying the good possibilities. AND – that doesn’t need comfort nor stress relief.
If this resonates, or you need a little help believing it’s possible, let’s have a chat. There’s no need for you to struggle.