This weekend I had the opportunity to watch some very powerful things occur at the My1FitLife Adventure Weekend at Lake Las Vegas. I was moved to watch individuals who indicated they have little confidence in themselves flip 300-pound tires, participate and enjoy Zumba® when they told me they couldn’t dance, participate in a challenging Boot Camp class, and literally climb mountains, just to name a few. It is inspiring to watch someone overcome the mental blocks they use to limit themselves from living life large.
Perhaps one of the moments that hit me the most was during a simple breathing exercise I asked them to participate in as a group. As I started to speak about loving and talking nice to our bodies, many tears were shed. After the talk, someone came up to me and told me that this had been a very powerful moment for her. To tell her body “thank you” for all it does for her instead of putting it down was something she had never done before.
It got me thinking about self gratitude. We talk about how important gratitude is in life. How taking time in our day to be thankful for all that we have and all that we can do can change our lives, quite literally. It’s the “waking up on the right side of the bed” mentality. When we take time to appreciate the little things, the bigger things fall into place.
But we don’t talk much about saying “thank you” to ourselves, do we? For me personally, I tend to say thank you for my job, for a roof over our heads, for a healthy family and I try to be grateful in the moments; when I’m doing something that I ordinarily don’t get the opportunity to do. But to tell my legs, “thank you for getting me through a class today” does not happen as quickly or as easily.
The moment that struck me was this:
I had the participants close their eyes and focus on their breathing for a few moments. Then I asked them to say “thank you” to their bodies. Not superficially; but to really say thank you.
What are things we often times say to our bodies? I asked them if any of these sounded familiar?
“Your legs are fat”
“You have cellulite all over the place”
“You have no muscles”
“Your hair is ugly”
“Your nose is too big”
“Your feet are too big”
“You have crows feet and wrinkles and your skin is ugly”
It is not always physical.
“You are a bad person for saying that”
“You are bad at your job”
“Your friends must not like you very much because of your behavior”
What I saw in the audience during this exercise were a lot of tears and heads shaking “yes”. I’m curious, if you heard your best friend, mom, dad, daughter, son, or anyone you loved say these things to themselves, what would you say to them? Would you approve of it and agree with them? If it is not ok for them, why is it for you?
When we self-shame, we fall into a pattern of self-sabotage. We don’t see our worth and we begin to doubt ourselves. It is a dangerous, but common, pattern too many individuals fall into. We don’t even think about it, it is a part of our every day self-talk. And that makes me very sad.
My challenge to you is this: over the next few days, when you start to say something negative about yourself, I want you to replace it with something positive. I always encourage my clients to write down both the negative self-talk as well as the positive self-talk they are going to replace it with. Keep it near at all times so that you can turn to it in a time of need. You will find some beautiful things happen when you start to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. Self-love will lead to a great love for others.
To quote our sweet Christine,
“I AM STRONG”
“I AM BRAVE”
“I AM ENOUGH”