I have distinct and gory memories of the torturous routine of getting ready for school when I was in 7th grade. It would go something like this:
Me: “Mom, I have nothing to wear! Nothing looks good on me” (Yelling from my upstairs bedroom into the downstairs kitchen in sheer frustration)
My Mom: “Honey, you have a full closet of clothes.” As she ran upstairs and picked out something from my closet and held it up to me, “How about this? This looks great on you!”
Me: “No, I can’t wear that. My thighs are too fat.”
My Mom: “Alright, what about this one?” (She picks out another great outfit and holds it up for me to see)
Me: “NO! I look awful in that too!” (I’m now crying, yelling, and throwing myself against my bed to express my anger)
At this point of the exchange, my emotions were usually so high I could hardly listen or make a logical decision. It was during this time that my mom introduced me to a very important method I still use to this day. I call it the “squashing method”™.
My mom would then walk over to my closet. She’d pull out a total of three (different from before) outfit options and set them on my bed. She’d then calmly say, “You’ve worn all three of these outfits in the last month. They look great and fit you well. In ten minutes, you’ll be downstairs, ready to go, in one of these three outfits."
She would then leave.
I’d carry on for a few more minutes crying and hating my thighs. Then I’d realize my ten minutes was almost up. I’d get dressed, head downstairs, and sit at the breakfast table.
Mom: “Great outfit choice. Now, you have important things to do at school today. What’s on your agenda?”
Whoa. Game changer.
My mom was teaching me to squash it™ - to end the negative self-banter.
I still practice this today and encourage you to do the same. When those inevitable moments arise; the ones that have you battling a body part you hate or referring to your endless list of “flaws”, try the squashing method:
(1) Give yourself three minutes. Take those three minutes to feel the emotions – allow them be there and accept them. Eventually, you may be able to get this down to 30 seconds, like me.
(2) Next, take two or three deep, cleansing breaths. (I’m talking the deep belly yoga breaths here)
(3) Follow that with one important and positive thing you have to do today – say it out loud. Then, I often close with a statement of gratitude such as: “thank you for my healthy body. I’m going to use it for good today."
You are shifting your perspective from negative thoughts to forward-moving productive ones.
This takes practice. I’m not promising overnight transformation. But, I am promising a step in the right direction. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for any negative thoughts you’ve had in the past and commit your energy towards your healthy body, positive energy, and productive day!
Ready to give it a go? Try it and let me know how it goes!