“Quit bullying yourself”
I remember one evening at a boot camp session, when a fellow boot camper working out right beside me managed to slightly vex me, to put it nicely… her self-talk, which she let out for everyone to “enjoy” went on something like this:
“O my god, it’s so hard, it’s so hard, it’s so hard, it’s so hard, it’s so hard…”
Now, when you are in the middle of an interval session trying to get as many burpees as you can in 30 seconds, let me tell you, it doesn’t help. Now, I wasn’t going to let her spoil my fun, so I started shouting: “It’s so easy, it’s easy, it’s easy, it’s easy, it’s easy…”, which is not easy when you can barely breathe! Needless to say she didn’t get many burpees. I did. To this day, she hasn’t lost any weight, which is why she joined the boot camp. Wonder why?
See, a lot of people, for some strange reason, insist on sabotaging their efforts in life. Be it in the gym, in their personal life, or in work… they are great at messing things up for themselves, and sometimes for others too.
“You can’t do that!”, “That’s way too hard!”, “If you try, you’ll probably just fail anyway”…
Statements like these sound as if they’re coming from a tyrannical and cruel person with a mission to destroy one’s self-confidence. If a stranger on the street, a friend, or even a family member spoke to you like that you probably wouldn’t take it. The chances are you would tell them to “shut the F**k up” and get lost, or worse!
So, why bully yourself like that?
Negative self-talk is something we have all engaged in at some time. A lot of us have heard our own parents verbally abuse themselves, or each other, or us.
Since we were kids many of us were consciously or subconsciously taught that being too confident is not a good thing, as it may be mistaken for arrogance; that life is hard and even if you work really hard you’ll never amount to anything; that you are not beautiful enough or intelligent enough and you’ll never be…
Then, you turn into an adult, maybe a well educated one, but one that is messed up. Then, you meet other messed up adults whose behaviour reinforces what you allowed yourself to believe about yourself and the world.
Maybe you have low self-esteem, confidence issues, maybe you procrastinate, or lack zest for life and direction… and wonder why you keep sabotaging your dreams and goals in life.
See, you have to be very careful about what you allow yourself to believe.
What you were told or decided to make up in your head may or may not be true. So, be very careful what you choose to believe about yourself and the world around you, because whether it’s good, or bad, it most certainly will shape your future.
What’s worse is that we usually don’t recognize that we have been sabotaging our own efforts. We attribute our lack of success to inadequacy. This, in turn, strengthens the negative messages we feed ourselves, and we get caught in a self-sabotaging cycle that can be difficult to break.
The tell-tale sign that you have been sabotaging yourself is when you grind to a halt when you’re getting close to achieving your goals, for no rational reason. Or when you achieve them, but then regress. Like when people lose weight, and then put it all back on again, or when someone longs to be in a relationship, but then they are in one and do something stupid to cause a break up.
The skill, ability and desire may be there. But something seems to be getting in the way of your happiness.
Your beliefs direct your inner dialogue and the way you talk to others, which in turn determines your actions, which in turn affect your results.
It’s vital that before you set off to achieve your goals, you make right with yourself and the state of your internal affairs.
If you crave the respect of others, you need to respect yourself first.
If you want to lose weight and maintain it for life, you need to believe you’re worth it, and believe you can do it.
If you want a promotion, it’s a good thing to desire it, and also truly believe you are the best person for the job.
See, your brain already knows how to help you succeed, you just need to get out of the way.
Feelings of unworthiness, negative thoughts, preconceptions about things, crappy past experiences, bleak future predictions… put them all together in the jug that is your brain, stir them a little, and you have the perfect cocktail for eternal misery!
The truth is that just because you “feel” something is true, it doesn’t mean it is true.
A few months ago I had my body fat percentage measured. I thought I was going to be 20%. My husband, a fitness trainer, told me not to be stupid, that he reckoned I would be maximum 16%. I said no way, and that I felt like I was about 20% for sure. As it turned out I was less than 14%!
My advice is that you feel less and do more. But we are governed by emotions. Emotions are the result of thoughts. So, wouldn’t it be a good idea to start to actually think more useful thoughts, think better thoughts, so that you can get to feel good more often, so that you can get on with things and get stuff done.
Even the most successful and happy people have critical, inner voices – they just don’t hear them very well, or they choose to disbelieve them, or they ignore them, or they simply tell themselves to just shut the **** up, whenever they catch themselves thinking crappy thoughts.
What if every time that annoying little voice creeps up at the back of your head, you think about a person who told you the biggest lie ever and hear the same lying voice. Or, maybe you know someone who every time they open their mouth you go “oh here we go again, what a load of BS! Blah, blah, blah…”
Once you’ven take control of your mind, now, what would you do if you had all the confidence, tenacity, power and determination you could ever need?