Yesterday someone told me to banish all negative thoughts about myself for the next three weeks. Okay, I thought, that shouldn’t be too hard.
Actually it turns out I think bad things about myself all the time. It’s not that I spend all my time moaning about how (insert negative adjective of choice here) I am. If you asked me before yesterday I would have said I had a good self-image. But the little subconscious negativity station is always playing in my head. I’ll look in the mirror and think, “I’d look better if my stomach were flatter,” or I’ll read about something brilliant someone did and think, “I don’t think I could do that,” and on and on. These aren’t those full-blown self-loathing “oh god if only I were ____!” moments, but gentle, almost unnoticeable little thoughts that just happen to be put-downs. It really surprised me how often these self-criticisms came up, even at times when I would have assumed I felt neutral and had no thoughts.
I started replacing those negative internal remarks with positive thoughts, which was unexpectedly hard to do, but you know what? I feel pretty good today. After reading an article in a yoga magazine, I was also inspired to combat negative feelings (about stuff in general) with positive statements about my motivations or aspirations, so that a thought like “bleh I don’t want to go to work today” became “Today I have the opportunity to help people.” It looks cheesy in print, and sounds unbelievably cheesier when spoken aloud, but inside my head it worked miracles. I got into the shower this morning feeling very ugh-y about my day, and when I got out, I had transformed every negative thought about the upcoming day into such positive feelings that I felt truly happy.
I think the important thing about this positive thinking isn’t just the optimism per se, but the renewed focus on why I’m doing something or what I hope to accomplish, rather than all the problems I might run into along the way. I mean, if I can’t find something inspiring in my reasons for doing something, or feel uplifted by my potential achievements, then why do it in the first place? I’m so easily sidetracked and discouraged, it’s really helpful for me to remind myself of my goals and reasons. Maybe this is something I can keep up all year to help me keep my New Year’s resolutions. It’s all in the same line of thinking.
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]