What is it that you are saying to yourself everyday? Are you saying things that are uplifting? Or saying things that you wouldn't say even to someone who you didn't like? Sometimes we are aware of the messages that we are giving ourselves, but other times we are not. The messages of our self-talk can become so ingrained that we often do it without thinking about what we are even saying to ourselves. And yet, what we say to ourselves is extremely powerful. Oftentimes we are tearing ourselves down, belittling ourselves for our perceived shortcomings. The biggest problem with negative self-talk is that regardless of how unfounded our message is, we will begin to believe it if we repeat that message enough times. And once we believe the lies, it is very hard to tell ourselves otherwise. If you are telling yourself over and over that you are not good enough, you will start to believe it. Then you will start to act on that belief. Once a belief has taken root, it will take continuous, consistent effort to undo it. This is why it is so important to guard our thoughts and when we become aware of untruths that we are telling ourselves, we need to confront those lies with truth. My Own Negative Mantra
Recently, I had to confront some lies that I was telling myself. I had been doing so good at staying positive lately. So when these untruths came into my mind, I was surprised by how strong and overwhelming they were. I think what made them even more pervasive is that they played over and over in my mind in a three adjective chant or mantra. This is especially detrimental to me because negative thoughts about how I think I look add fuel to my ED fire. I know that how I think and the things that I say to myself are so crucial to my recovery. And yet, I found myself struggling to stop this negative mantra. I could feel these words beating me down but I could not seem to stop them. Once they had taken root in my mind, they were not going away. It was like someone hit the "repeat" button in my head because as much as I tried not to, this chant kept playing in my mind.
A Positive Mantra
The next day, I woke to find that this mantra was still with me. I had hoped that sleep would make it go away. But how could it when it was my last thought before falling asleep? When I awoke to the same three negative adjectives running through my head, I decided to push ahead with my morning routine and start out the day exercising, even though that was the last thing that I wanted to do at that moment. While I was exercising, the thought occurred to me that since I could not block out this three word mantra, maybe I could replace it with a three positive words. So I asked myself, what did I want for myself and how did I want to feel about my body? The words quickly came to me and I knew that I wanted to be "fit, strong, happy". So as I exercised, I repeat this new positive mantra over and over to myself. Then all throughout the remainder of the day and the next day, whenever the negative mantra would play, I would answer it with my positive mantra. And gradually the positive words began to crowd out the negative ones.
Making a Choice
I may have not been able to stop the negative words from surfacing in my mind, but I could choose if I was going to let those negative thoughts control me or if I was going to control them. And for the first day, they did control me and I felt miserable as a result. How can you feel happy, content, and confident when you are saying such awful things about yourself to yourself? But when I decided to fight back against the negative, the peace and calm came back into my life.
What is Your Mantra?
So ask yourself, "what is my mantra?" Decided what you want for yourself or what you want to feel about yourself and set your intention on that. Make that your daily mantra and crowd out the negative self-talk and lies.