Yesterday I sat among preschoolers rolling out Play-doh. And as I showed them how to make the letter B (“Big line, small curve, small curve”), an innocent-eyed child looked up at me and admitted, “I’m not good at this. I’m a bad boy.” Hearing this 4-year-old vocalize his poor self-perception was heart wrenching.
But isn’t it the same with us? While we don’t vocalize our self-defeats, we speak them to ourselves. “I can’t lift that. I have horrible form. I am not strong enough/fast enough/flexible enough.” And often, what we speak is what we eventually believe. And what we believe becomes our reality, spiraling over and over in a cycle of negativity.
So, on this Valentine’s Day, while we speak lovingly to our neighbors, our significant others and our kids, let’s try speaking lovingly to ourselves. Try this exercise:
1. Write out your beliefs.
What do you tell yourself, in and out of the gym? “I don’t fit in the community. I am an outsider. I’m fat. I’m weak,” or “I’m a lazy parent. I have no direction in life. I have little talent. I’m ugly.” Write it all down.
2. Perform a litmus test.
To figure out if your beliefs are anchored in truth, find out where they originated. If you believe you don’t fit in the gym, is it because you have poor confidence to approach others? Do you tend to judge others before meeting them? If you think you are unskilled, untalented or ugly, is it because you were told that growing up?
Another way to test if a belief is true is to say it out loud to friends and family whose opinions you trust and gauge their reactions. “I’m ugly,” sounds pretty defeating when said out loud and most (if not all) people will assure you of the opposite.
3. Rewrite your beliefs.
Now list your beliefs based on truth. If you have a hard time believing anything good, you can try writing what you’d like to be true, “I am in good shape. I am accepting and nonjudgmental.”
4. Remind yourself often.
As you set your beliefs straight, you need to speak these truths into your daily life. When your mind wants to wander toward a lie, “I can’t do that workout” you must attack it with a truth, “I’ve done those movements before. I can do it again.”
By straightening out our beliefs, we change our self-speak from negative to positive, and ultimately change our life path. We morph our fixed, victim mentality to a potential for greatness.
Do you need additional direction to change your thinking or help with other life issues? Email our resident life coach, Coach Tina at [email protected].