I love this quote and have it posted on my bulletin board as a not-so-subtle reminder to stop getting in my own way of going for exactly what I want.
How often are we judgmental toward ourselves? We can be hard on ourselves about a great number of things. One thing we are particularly consistent at being judgmental about is our appearance. I think most everyone can relate in some capacity and what I’d like to share is how I move away from the negative self-talk.
The self-loathing includes but is not limited to hating our skin, hating the size of our feet, the fat around our belly, or the cellulite in our thighs. This applies to everyone – all shapes and sizes. To some degree, we are all familiar with negative body image, and verbally beating ourselves up.
The thing that gets me the most is that while getting lost in this verbal attack on myself, I start to feel physically ill. My body temperature rises, nausea sets in, maybe even a headache. And how often do we try to fix this with a bowl of cereal, a hershey kiss, or an extra diet soda? How often do we turn to food for comfort, as if any of this will magically make all of our imperfections disappear? Or at the very least we try to distract ourselves for the 30 seconds it takes to devour that chocolate kiss.
I have battled with this for years. However, after years of practice, I’m much better at putting my internal bullies to rest. Trust me, I know what it feels like – when your mind really goes for a ride, telling yourself things you wouldn’t DREAM of saying to anyone else. So, how do we stop it?
Let’s compare the obsessive negative self-talk result of feeling physically low to when I get a migraine. Neither one feels good and yet I am very familiar with both. With migraines I know that there are things I need to avoid such as eating tomato sauce and doing too many chatturangas in yoga. I choose to avoid these things because I know the ramifications are just terrible. The same thing happens with this negative self-talk. I will start to go down the road of putting myself down, whether it be in the swimming pool, in front of a mirror, or even out to dinner. However I know that if I stay on this road and keep bashing myself, I’m going to feel terrible both mentally AND physically. I want to avoid this result so I have trained myself to turn around and run away from the negativity. In order to do this I picture I am stopping myself in my tracks, IMMEDIATELY. Imagine you are running to catch a bus, and all of a sudden you realize you forgot your wallet at home and have to stop short immediately. What do you do? You turn around … and run in the other direction!
I remind myself of how horrible it feels to go down that path of self-criticism. In order to “turn in the other direction”, I will say positive affirmations to myself. This can feel corny and really challenging at first but, the more I do it (ex: “You are strong and stunning!” or “I am enough”) the easier it becomes. It is like training a muscle: everything shakes and hurts at first but the more you strengthen it, the more work it can do.
This may sound simple, so much so that you are thinking “it’ll never work.” And trust me, there are multiple practices I use to combat these internal bullies. But give it a try and start to train yourself out of that path of self-doubt and run toward love.
How do YOU deal with negative self-talk? Do you have any strategies you call upon? If so, I’d love to hear them! Please email, leave a comment on FB, or my blog.
I have received some pretty incredible emails and notes of encouragement from family and friends throughout training. So I decided today that I’m going to start collecting these notes to print out and put in my special needs bag for Ironman Lake Placid when I need that extra push.
I received the following message from a dear family friend last week:
It served as a clear reminder of how much courage we need to live an examined life which is, after all, the only kind of life worth living and yet so few people take the time.
See? Every little bit counts. You guys have no idea how much everything means to me and helps me keep on trucking! Or riding. Or running. And yes, I’m a total cornball and am not afraid to admit that I love this stuff.
Click here to donate to help me raise funds for research for NF.
PS. Do you know what else will be going in my special needs bag? CROISSANTS.
Or what I learned from my weekend of training:
Coffee. Croissant. Can’t talk.
Weston Memorial Day 5K – running in the rain!
This note went out to many friends and family, but I wanted to share it here as well…
Here’s My Story …
I’m doing an Ironman this year and it’s going to be in Lake Placid, NY and it’s on July 28. The distances are a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. If you’re one of my friends who live in New York, it’s quite likely that I’ve turned down a dinner (or two) because of a late swim or an early run the next morning. And I can only hope that one day you will forgive me for this. But maybe you can relate.
Have you ever wanted something so bad it gave you chills any time you thought about it? Have you ever set a goal or made a promise to yourself that you would accomplish something? An item on your bucket list if you will. Ironman is one of those things to me. In 2010, after a summer of getting my first taste of triathlons, I was a spectator at my first Ironman in Louisville, KY. I remember just watching Ironman was exhausting, I couldn’t possibly imagine how the participants felt. But something about that day and the way people just kept going forward moved me and I made a promise to myself that I would complete Ironman Lake Placid before turning 30 (at the time I was 26 so 30 felt like it was eons away). Well, in case you didn’t know, I’m turning 30 this year and to CELEBRATE I will be doing Ironman Lake Placid.
If you’d prefer to watch a video, click here and you can skip the rest of my story. Otherwise, read on!
Triathlons have taught me a lot about what I’m physically and mentally capable of. I’ve come a long way from the days in middle school where I absolutely dreaded running the mile, to the point where I would fake sick. Not only that but I’ve met some pretty great people along the way and formed friendships that began when we were literally at our worst and sweatiest.
I draw strength to get through workouts and races from the people in my life who have shown me how to accomplish their impossible – these people are YOU – whether it’s having the guts to submit a work of art to a prestigious museum, taking several years to live and work in a foreign country, running Boston Marathon, fighting a terminal illness, or watching and supporting a loved one as they fight an illness – all of these things are meaningful and seemingly impossible but we get through them some how, we dig down deep.
After going through one of those typical “really bad break-ups” last winter, I gave up on triathlons for a while. It was in April 2012 that my friend Sarah asked if I wanted to do NYC Triathlon again with a non-profit called Children’s Tumor Foundation. They raised money for research for Neurofibromatosis, also known as NF – a genetic disease in children that causes the growth of tumors for which there is no cure. I was reminded that there were people out there fighting a tough fight, and these were not not just any people but they were children. If these kids and their parents could deal with all the complications associated with NF, I could certainly pick myself up and get through a triathlon.
So I did just that and to make a really long story a little less long, I knew then that I would be racing Ironman Lake Placid in 2013 with CTF. All of the pieces came together and here I am on the road to my first Ironman. This is one of my IMPOSSIBLES that I can only get through with your support. Just being able to talk to you about my fears, my excitement, my anticipations makes me feel that much closer to getting there. And so for that I thank you. (And for bearing with me when I bow out of social plans so that I can stick to my training schedule.)
And I of course have a huge thank you to my hero, Clara, who you can learn more about on my page and in my video but she’s 4 years old and fights NF like a true champ. Clara also rides her bike, wants to be a teacher, a mermaid, and an eye doctor when she grows up and I can only hope to one day be as strong as she is.
With many thanks and much love,
Is there something that you’ve always really wanted to do but never thought it would be possible?
This may come as no surprise, but here is one of mine that I’m hoping to add to my possible list on July 28!