Workouts

The First Stages to Loving Self

Part 1 = the “I”

Loving self is the first stage to mental health and self confidence. Loving self is about accepting yourself as you are, that’s both positive and negative traits of self. We must also understand and tame  what the buddhist call, the monkey mind. This is the eternal chatter that goes on within ourselves. 

Let’s start with self, we have an individual self the ’I’ and a social self the ’me’. To feel comfortable in our skin we have to marry the two. So I will begin with the ‘I’, this is the private self that only you know. These are your “I” statements, as in “I am beautiful” or opposing statement “I am ugly”. “I am gay” or “I get angry / jealous”. These are all” “I statements that you can choose to share with others or not.

When you talk about self in terms of “I” how do you describe yourself to you and then to others. If these aren’t positive statements and beliefs about self then you need to change the conversation. Instead of concentrating on what you believe to be negatives about yourself start describing and talking about yourself only in positive terms. What do you love about yourself, what do you do well. 

Then your next step is accepting the traits in yourself that you perceive as negative and put them into a more positive light. 

So what do I mean by this, an example is “I’m fat / ugly”, change this to “I’m a beautiful person but I need to lose some weight” or “what do I need to do to feel better about myself”.

A bit like writing a reference, it is not acceptable or professional to only give negative comments no matter how bad that employee was. You have to find positives before laying into the negatives. Even when you are giving negatives you still need to put them in a professional manner.

So for instance you can not just say “she / he was always late” or “he / she is lazy”. 

You would have to come at it from a different angle e.g “she / he is a good team player but has a problem with time keeping” or “he / she is a good communicator but lacks motivation”. 

Did you see what I did there 🙂

This is no different when we talk about the self in “I” statements. So whenever critiquing the self think how you may do it in a reference. This ensures you have a certain amount of positivity when it comes to the self and changing behaviours and thoughts that restrict you.

Self-Empowerment

Image by @nelsonphotography

By Michelle Crawford

“In order to achieve, you must believe..”

As a counsellor and trainer I often speak to my clients about the ‘Self-fulfilling prophecy’, so what do I mean by that?

Well if you believe yourself to be weak you will be weak, if you tell yourself you can’t do something then you won’t. What you believe about yourself, your future, your abilities, etc is the reality you create for yourself.

Self-empowerment means taking responsibility for your life and changing your life and this begins by how we talk to ourselves.

Being empowered means we own our weaknesses and our strengths and not looking at our experiences as black and white. For instance not achieving something when you first try is not a failure. It is, however, guidance to what you need to do next time in order to achieve your goal. We should learn from our mistakes and not berate ourselves or be berated for trying. Every experience in our lives is there to teach us something, it is up to us to listen and learn from it.

As a personal trainer and therapist, I don’t like the title ‘life coach’, I promote self-awareness regardless of how hard my clients might find this at first because I know in the long run my clients become mentally stronger as well as physically stronger and this will create long term behavioural changes.

Training mental and physical strength;

Some people in society have very low self-esteem caused by experiences growing up, and this low self-esteem creates a negative dialogue in our minds. This negative dialogue can cause us to stop believing in ourselves and our self-worth. So if we constantly use the phrase “I can’t”, then you won’t and you’re limiting yourself and denying yourself.

If you tell yourself “I don’t know if I can do that” and you try then if you weren’t successful you are more open to the reasons why and changing them in order to get there.

My experience with female clients tells me they do this all the time. I will give them a 6kg weight to lift and they will tell me it’s too heavy. Yet they pick their child up all the time which probably weighs a lot more. When their child comes to them and needs comforting they don’t instantly look at the child and say I can’t pick you up you’re too heavy, they will find a way.

Women’s self-fulling prophecy is that they believe themselves to be weaker than men. They don’t say to themselves I might be weaker than him but by no means am I weaker than you. They then push this philosophy on all women. So now all women are weaker than all men. No this is not the case. They then continue this prophecy even further and believe they can’t build muscle or shouldn’t build muscle because it’s unattractive. Well with muscle comes to strength and when you discover how much you can lift far outweighs what you thought this becomes empowering.

For people who struggle to lose weight, this self-fulfilling prophecy stops you from either losing the weight or maintaining the weight loss. In order to maintain weight loss, you have to look at what allowed you to gain weight in the first place.

What was it in your life experience that makes you dislike yourself so much that you present to the world an image you don’t like yourself.

If you loved yourself you would want the world to see the best of you.

This negativity to self can come out in the language we use to talk about ‘self’.

Some people do this by constantly using themselves as a source for humour i.e Dawn French and Jo Brand. If they loved themselves and their weight so much then why have they both lost weight or have even bothered with diets?

Others use negative language when describing themselves such as “I hate my arms they’re all flabby” or “er I don’t like looking at myself in the mirror”. By refusing to see themselves in the mirror there is obviously a dislike there.

Some people will only get undressed in the dark, while others won’t be seen in a bathing suit and talk about their bodies in very negative ways. They then victimise themselves by using language that intimates they don’t have control over themselves or their lifestyle.

If we tell ourselves we are unattractive or we are not able to stop eating even though we dislike how we look then there are self-sabotaging behaviours going on stopping us from achieving our goals. At this point you probably need some professional help or a support group to help you achieve your weight loss, but what about your mental health.

Some people go on to run marathons to get better self-worth, others may do this in a different way. But however, you do it in order to maintain weight loss you have to develop better self-worth and love for yourself.

Weight loss is not all about the food and calories it’s about developing a better lifestyle and better understanding of the ‘self’, abandoning negative talk and changing your ‘self-fulfiling’ prophecy.

Use positive affirmations like,

“I love myself and am open to receiving and giving love”

“I forgive myself and no longer hold guilt around…..”

“I love myself and believe in myself enough to know I can achieve my goals”

Or try finding one that suits your needs better.

Look at yourself in a mirror while reciting your positive affirmation to yourself like a mantra. Any successful person in life or sport believes in their abilities before achieving their success.