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November 29, 2012

Why Negative Self-Talk Doesn’t Keep Us “In Line”

By Jillian Teta

We have noticed over here at JillFit that mental transformations can lead to physical transformations, and that physical transformations can lead to mental transformations.

It seems to be pretty universal that we would like to be happier or feel better – after all, that is why we are trying to change our bodies, right? So that we can somehow be happier or set our minds at ease, and then our life will be better. Yet, if we asked a group of competitors in peak condition, or someone who has achieved their goal for fat loss if they were satisfied completely with the way they looked, so many of them would say “no”.  Even with attaining their goals, even with a body that others would kill for, it’s just “not enough.”

We seek that elusive perfection because on some level we feel inadequate or less than. This applies to us whether we are in a size 2 or a size 12.

Is it possible for us to skip the step of the unattainable perfect body and just be happy?

I have noticed when you skip this step, you are able to look in the mirror and see that the body you have IS the perfect body. You are thus powerfully motivated to do all that you need to do to take care of it and treasure it.

By beating yourself up, you are, well, beating yourself up. You’re not fooling anyone, and you’re certainly not fooling us, when you tell yourself that negative self talk keeps you on your nutrition and training and keeps you happy. That negativity isn’t preventing you from obsessing over food, the mirror, the scale, comparing yourself to others and overall feeling miserable – the exact opposite of what we want!

How do we begin to relate to ourselves differently? It starts with our thinking. We actually choose to think we can’t change, in order to avoid exerting the effort required to begin to unseat some of these deep patterns. Once we understand it is a choice, then life becomes a practice.

It is hard to let go of old patterns of thinking. The mind is naturally pulled toward prior experiences as a way of projecting and predicting might come in the future. So, if you expect that any type of change will be hard because in your experience it has been hard in the past, you subconsciously expect difficulty and are actually increasing your chances of creating difficulty.

This is a choice, and you can make a different one!

Karen Casey says, “There is always the choice between hanging on and letting go”. I think this is brilliant. We can hang on to our old, negative thinking patterns – which is easy, because it is what we have always done. Or, we can let those negative thinking patterns go and make a different choice. It doesn’t mean you lay on the couch stuffing yourself to the gills with cupcakes, and it doesn’t mean you are a passive doormat for society, it means you are not so invested in your negativity as a whip to propel you into the future that you completely forget to do what you are supposed to do: be happier, freer.

When we cannot see that our reactions to our thinking are a CHOICE, it allows us to be irresponsible. We can wallow in self-pity, self-righteousness, insecurity, indecisiveness (maybe I need a new coach!), self-consciousness and victimhood. When we stay mired here, we are missing all of the lessons that we could be learning from these very things by CHANGING OUR PERSPECTIVE.

You will stay stuck in the same cycle until you decide you are ready to break out of it.

To begin this practice, use negative emotions as your alarm clock. When you experience them, simply ask yourself how you could view the situation with a positive spin on it. Ask why these themes are in place in your life. Acknowledge that reactions are a choice, and if we give ourselves a chance, we can choose a way that will ultimately make us freer. If we become freer, everyone we touch in our lives also becomes freer. Can you catch yourself? Give it a try and let us know how you do.

OX, Jillian

Related: 8 Ways to Avoid the “Comparison Trap”

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