How Well Do You Know Yourself

Have you ever caught yourself labeling yourself in a negative way?  I did that this weekend.  It has been a struggle for me, even after all these years.  I had gastric bypass almost 6 years ago.  It seems like yesterday and yet, other times it feels like it’s been a lifetime.

I used to be about 160 pounds heavier than I am now and very inactive.  I was one who would drive around the parking lot and wait for someone to leave so I could park closer.  It was more than that though.  I would actually think about every step I had to take.  It consumed me.  I remember Christmas shopping being a nightmare.  I could never find a spot close enough and then, I knew if there was more than one store I had to go to, I would have to walk too far.  I hated walking, let alone exercising.  That was completely out of the question.

Even after the bypass I wasn’t very good with activity.  It became a lot easier and I did it but I didn’t like it.  I used to roller skate when I was young, EVERY DAY, sometimes for 8 hours total.  It wasn’t as if I always hated exercise.

I seem to fall back into the same patterns as before the bypass at times.  Don’t get me wrong, I can’t eat like I used to, but I find myself eating too much for my body to handle at times.  I know better.  I also find myself getting complacent, lazy.  This is where it gets bad.  I am very big into teaching others the benefit of watching their self-talk and staying positive and being good to themselves but I seem to forget to take my own advice sometimes.

This weekend my husband and I went to Killington Mountain.  I’ve been upset all week about it.  Allow me to explain; two weeks ago, he and I participated in the Spartan Sprint at the mountain.  This was our second Spartan this year, having finished the one in Amesbury just a month prior.  The Killington one took us twice as long, as we climbed the black diamond to the crest and watched every step back down.  Somewhere just after the 3 mile mark, in the woods, my left foot slid in deep mud and I landed on my left knee and it bent the wrong way.  I made it out of the woods and through another section, determined to finish.  We got as far the last water station before I was transported back to the medical tent.  So close.  “NEVER AGAIN,” I said, “NEVER!” (I said this about the previous Spartan Sprint 6 weeks prior but, there I was.)

Diagnosis: sprained knee.  But what did I want to do for my birthday?  Go back and hike an easier trail at Killington.  For my birthday!!  Who am I?  I had to laugh.  I am the one who calls myself lazy, still, out of habit, after all these years.  I am the purple belt kick boxer who has been having withdrawls from not being able to go because of my sprained knee.  I am the one who went to the gym Friday to use the elliptical to try to loosen up my knee to see if there was any way I could still hike on Saturday.

We arrived at the base of the mountain on Saturday and I limped up to the counter and, being mad at myself, ordered 2 round trip tickets for the gondola ride so we could at least enjoy the colors of the leaves and the scenery from the crest that we saw during the race that we were unable to take pictures of.  I could see the trail to the right of us that we had planned to take as we took the 10 minute ride to the top.  The view was breathtaking.  As we neared the top, the mist settled over the mountain and the view was no longer clear.  By the time we got off the gondola my stubbornness had kicked in and that was it.  We were hiking back down the mountain.

It wasn’t as easy as I envisioned in my head and I was grateful for that.  There were a great number of times I looked at the steps I needed to take in front of me and wondered how I would get to where I needed to be without falling or slipping again.  My fear of falling was intense at times, as was the pain in my knee in the beginning.  But I took baby steps where I need to and we made it to the bottom.  My knee popped several times and I’m not sure why but by the end, it no longer hurt.

My calves and thighs were stiff this morning but I don’t have any regrets.  I’m glad I did it.  It was my birthday present to myself.  So, what is my point with this story?  Why did I just bare my soul for all to read? Because I came to the realization that we tell ourselves things all the time that are not true about ourselves.  I’m not a lazy person anymore.  Sure, I have my moments and I make excuses at times when I shouldn’t; that doesn’t make me lazy, especially on the scale of where I used to be.  So why am I so hard on myself?  Why do I choose to see myself that way?  Perhaps it’s habitual.  I told myself that for so many years that it just carried over.  So, now that I’ve realized that I do it, imagine what I could do now that I no longer believe it?  If I have come this far, I could definitely go further, and I intend to.

How well do you know yourself?  What things are you telling yourself that need to be reevaluated?  What do you believe about yourself that could use a mental makeover?  Consider what you say to yourself.  Listen.  You could be completely wrong.  What you believe about yourself is up to you.  The choice is yours.  Stay the same or change it?  It’s up to you.  Be kind.

You can check out other inspiring posts here that will cause you to think, decrease your stress and increase happiness.  You can also check out my other blog site, Where The Ghosts Live – by Missy Bell.

Thank you for stopping by!!

Missy Bell

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10 Ways to Improve Your Self Image

When Ashley Monroe from my home town was 16, she recognized the need to do something drastic.  She was tired of hearing everyone in her high school putting themselves down.  She wrote, “You’re Beautiful” on 1,986 sticky notes and placed them on every locker to make a statement.  My son was one of the recipients of these notes and was very touched by it.  Many of those students had gotten into a place where they were putting themselves down initially for attention but after a while, started to believe what they were saying about themselves.

It’s a shame that so many of us see ourselves in a negative light.  I have spoken with so many people who are told they are beautiful but still choose to not believe it.  We are so busy criticizing ourselves and assuming what others are thinking about us and worrying about them judging us that we do not take the time to appreciate the good things about ourselves.

Back In Time

Let’s stroll back in time and take a look at some of the things you remember being told about yourself.  Did people point out what they thought were your physical imperfections?  Did they tell you that you were not good enough at something you really wanted to do?  Did someone simply just have a way of berating you and making you feel “less-than?”  Or were you the culprit, keeping yourself down with negative self talk? You may have chosen to believe it simply because it was said or you heard it in your own voice. You may have even trusted the person it came from.

We also watch what others do and are capable of and we compare our best to theirs and if we don’t match that in our own eyes, instead of working harder, putting in the time and focusing on just improving where we start from, we lie to ourselves.  We say that we are not good enough to compete with them.  The thing is, often times we don’t stop there.  Those thoughts start reminding us of all the ways we did not measure up in our own minds and we end up believing that we just aren’t good enough, period.  This sets us up for all kinds of future issues.  Have you ever caught yourself doing this?

What you may not have realized was that you actually had the choice to hold on to it or discard it.  We also have the choice to believe that when it comes to competing, we should only compete with ourselves.  We all have our own starting points and should compare ourselves only to our most recent best.

Making the Change

Are you ready to put all of this behind you?  Only you have the power.  It may seem unnatural at first because of what you are used to, but if you make the following steps a habit, you will guarantee yourself some freedom from that negativity you keep hearing inside your own head.

1.  You must stop listening to other people’s negativity.  If someone has something to say to you that is negative, dismiss it immediately.  Do not get defensive and argue about it with someone because adding emotion to the situation causes the memories and the pain of it to last longer.  Remember that some people are just insecure or angry and lash out at other people without regard for their feelings.  Often times it comes from insecurity and is not the truth.

2.  Always be aware of your thoughts.  Pay close attention to what you hear yourself saying inside your own head.  Follow the above instructions by dismissing the negative immediately.

3.  Question what you once thought was truth.  Realize that the only things that are actually true are things you decide to believe.

4.  Make a change only under your own terms.  For instance, if someone comments negatively about your weight, whether the scale reflects what they say or not, never make the change based on their comments.  Only make changes for yourself.  If you are not ready for the change and do something to make a statement based on someone else’s judgment, any results you experience will not be lasting.

5.  Call the person out on it if you are comfortable.  State the opposite aloud.  If someone tells you that you’re hair looks terrible, thank them and tell them that it wasn’t them you were trying to impress and that you happen to like it that way.  Do not let them have power over your thoughts.

6.  Affirm the opposite.  In correlation with number 5, use a positive statement to counteract what someone has said or what you are saying in your head, such as, instead of, “I look fat in this dress,” use, “I look amazing in this dress.  I am so glad I made the choice to wear it today,” and BELIEVE that statement.  Affirming the positive will lessen the chances of the negative sticking in your head.  Creating any kind of affirmation and repeating it on a daily basis to counteract something you feel you are stuck on and posting where you can repeat it aloud before bed and in the morning is a very efficient way to create change.

7.  Eliminate past judgments.  For the old tapes we play in our head that were perhaps from ourselves, our parents, siblings, friends or relatives years ago, discard the tape or tape over it.  Remind yourself that the person may have thought they were helping you in some way but in no way were they telling you the truth.

8.  Do the opposite. Perhaps you quit at something when you were young because you didn’t like it.  It does not make you a quitter.  Find something you like and stick with it and you will create a new positive label.

9.  Forgive.  It is important when trying to let something go that you forgive the person who you feel is responsible for placing a label or negative thought in your head but at the same time realize, only you have the power to believe what someone says about you.  It does not need to be your truth.

10. Simply relax and never, ever, take things personal.  This cannot be stressed enough.  So many things are said carelessly by others and once out of their mouths they have forgotten what they even said.  By taking something personal you are not only assuming how it was meant but you set yourself up to hold onto that negative.  Feel free to ask questions as to why the person said what they did.  Having clarification may help you to understand it was not meant as a personal attack.

Feel free to print these steps out and place them on your fridge or bathroom mirror where you can be reminded of them on a regular basis.

Taking these steps will hopefully start you in the right direction of starting to see yourself in a much kinder light and lead you toward a greater inner peace and happiness. This will alleviate some of the stress and anxiety you may feel when you are out amongst others.  Not everyone is judging you.  Most people who do not know you will look at you and look away without a second thought.  Those who interact with you, if they are a person of integrity, will see you for who you are through your personality.

One of my favorite quotes is from Bernard Burach which states, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”  Keep this quote in mind when faced with the judgment of others.

Please discuss below ways you would recommend for other people to help them see themselves in a better light.

(For additional tips, advice, videos and inspirations to increase your inner peace and happiness please see more posts and categories to the right.  If you found this helpful, please share on Facebook or Twitter. You may sign up to follow by e-mail by clicking the Follow button at the top or bottom or through other options located on the right hand side of the page.  I appreciate you stopping by! )