The number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. This is understandable given that at that time of year we’re just coming off the holidays, with their many food-laden gatherings. While I myself no longer have this particular issue, I was once a chubby teen, and remember well what it was like to dislike what I saw in the mirror. At that age, fitting in is crucial, and for a girl that meant fitting into smaller-sized clothing. And so I would often think, I hate my body.
In the face of this common problem, we can be so unkind to ourselves. I have many clients who feel very deeply the pain of their body dissatisfaction. And that’s understandable. We all want to feel comfortable in our own skin, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting a fitter, healthier body. We should, however, approach physical improvement from a place of self-acceptance and inner ease. It feels rotten to think of oneself as fat, or squat, or dumpy, or ugly, or gross, or in terms of any number of other critical words I’ve heard my clients use in their self-descriptions. You wouldn’t treat a friend this harshly, so why behave that way toward yourself?
In this case, it's important to take a bad-feeling thought, such as I hate my body, and turn it into a more constructive, better-feeling one. You don't do this by simply stating the opposite (My body is perfect), because you don't believe that. Instead, you gradually move from bad-feeling to better-feeling thoughts. Here's an example:
I hate my body. I wish I could fit into my size x pants again. Well, I've actually done not so bad with my weight over the years. I'm relatively close to where I was a few years ago, and not a lot of people can say that. It shouldn't be that hard for me to lose the few pounds it would take to get back to that size. No big deal.
You get the idea. That is much kinder and more encouraging (thinking the worst of yourself only makes you want to give up on improvement). And you should do this with any/every area of your life in which you’d like improvement. Tell yourself things such as the following:
Right now, I am where I am. I can always make a U-turn. It’s always possible to shift, and I don’t have to continue on this path. I’ve done that in other areas of my life when I decided I didn’t like the way things were going. I was able to make a change. I’m sure I can do that in this area of my life as well. It can even be fun to reshape myself in one way or another. I can make this a learning experience.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) teaches that there is no failure, only feedback. Anything that’s true about your current situation is an opportunity to create something better. Think of your current dissatisfaction with the way things are as an opportunity to reshape and recreate your life.
You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/store
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