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I grew up as a child in the 1970s – back in the days when changing a record took a bit of time and effort. That’s all ancient history now that we can chop and change our musical choices at a swipe or even a voice command. Now, wouldn’t it be lovely if it was that easy to shift the voice that runs on a loop in our head?
You might think that my work as a health coach mainly involves educating my clients about food. Well, yes, food plays a huge role in it. But not as big a part as our self-beliefs and the things we repeatedly tell ourselves.
Not good enough. Fat. Stupid. Slow. Ugly. Failure. You probably wouldn’t dream of hurling those insults at someone else… but how often do you fire missiles like these at yourself? And have you stopped to think how much cumulative damage they’re wreaking on your self-esteem, on your health, on your ability to shine as you’re meant to?
If you don’t like what’s being said to you by you, change the conversation! You and only you have the power to do this. Try tuning into your internal dialogue for a day and catch yourself when you hear those negative soundbites kick in. Then keep it up for a week. Ultimately, the goal is to replace these toxic thoughts with positive affirmations that build rather than bulldoze your self-esteem.
Yes, it’s a tall order to change an inner voice that’s been slating you for years or even decades…but if you keep it up, you will gradually start to replace your default internal dialogue with something far more positive. Just like the body needs regular exercise to develop muscles, so too the mind. We need to put in the practice if we want to train it for kindness rather than self-destruction.
So, starting from today, be conscious of your posture (are you trying to disappear or are your walking tall?) and your language: make a concerted effort to stop putting yourself down when talking about yourself to others. You’ll probably find it’s such an ingrained habit that you do it all the time without even realizing – but every time you trot out “Oh, I look dreadful in this” or “I hate my bum” or “I’m rubbish at maths”, you reinforce your self-limiting beliefs of not being good enough and keep yourself small.
And if you’re someone who runs themselves ragged caring for everyone (including your pet dog) at the expense of your own wellbeing and health, it’s time to finally give yourself some vital self-love.
Not sure where to start? Go with whatever lights you up. Whether it’s reading a trashy novel you don’t normally allow yourself time for, lounging in a candle-lit bath… or just sitting outdoors listening to the birds. It might seem unnatural at first to stop and do something that’s purely for yourself but push through that barrier and you’ll find a more relaxed, happier, more fulfilled you on the other side. And if you feel guilt kicking in, remind yourself that you can only love others if you love yourself first.
Last month, I got a call from Dr Aseem Malhotra, consultant cardiologist and best-selling author of The Pioppi [...]read more