What are you trying to change or what do you feel needs to change in order for you to be ‘happy?’ How are you getting in your own way and preventing yourself from stepping up and standing in your power? Whose voice is guiding your every step? Is that a loving and gentle voice or an angry, critical, mocking tone that keeps a running count of everything you do wrong?
Do you often catch yourself looking in the mirror, critically ripping yourself to shreds, with hurtful putdowns and sarcasm? Have you ever noticed how that kind of thinking makes you feel? Doesn’t it just make you want to run to the fridge to find something to eat to make all the pain go away?
That’s because the things that you tell yourself are received as commands from your body and if you’re constantly looking for reasons to think of yourself as not okay, you’ll keep finding evidence for yourself proving that something is wrong with you. But don’t believe it, because it’s a lie. Nothing is wrong with you.
I’d like to give you something to think about. For many years, I searched and did everything I could to work to change my body, to make myself more lovable, more acceptable and more beautiful. No matter what size I was, I was never okay with the person I was inside. I swore the problem was my thighs, and I was certain that if only I would have thinner thighs, I would then be okay.
I was so wrong. I’ve since learned that what I was searching for all along was within me. I actually had to make the choice to be okay with my thighs and whatever other parts of me that I hated whatever size they were right now, in order to finally allow myself the chance to be happy and to love and accept myself more right now.
The reason behind my constant criticism of myself was because somewhere along the way I had become my own worst critic. I finally realized one day that the eyes through which I had been looking at myself were not my own. I had developed a negative perception of my body and my abilities as an individual based on years of being criticized and put down by my father.
As adults, we grow up and take on many of the characteristics of people who have made an indelible impression upon us. These become our parts. All these parts combined make up our unique personalities. Depending upon the people who raised you and their character traits, you’ve adopted their thoughts and beliefs as your own. You may have acquired your mother’s sense of humor, and your father’s stubbornness. But if like me, you also find yourself always fighting a tendency to criticize yourself and put yourself down, that is another part of you that begs for further exploration. It’s up to you to find out where that came from and reclaim your ability to take back control and stand in your power. Nobody has the right to make you feel badly about yourself. Because what people say doesn’t really matter. What really matters is what you tell yourself. What stories are you telling yourself, about food, about your body, about your life?
As a child, and throughout much of my adulthood, my father influenced me the most. His good opinion of me meant the world to me. But as I got older, I realized that he was a very angry man who expressed his power over people by hurting them. One day I finally came to grips with myself and knew that it was his eyes through which I had come to view my body.
I finally understood that this was why I was so deeply self critical of myself and my body, because I wanted desperately to be approved of by him. because I felt the unconscious need to identify with him, I had taken on his attitudes and adopted his way of thinking and made it my own.
It was his voice that had become my inner critic, judging my every move and every decision. In my mind’s eye, I felt frozen in time, unable to move beyond seeing myself as that shaky scared pre-teen age girl I once was when I was 11 years old. No matter what I went on to achieve, or do, I always saw myself as that lesser image of me from my father’s eyes.
One day after finally realizing what I had done to myself by accepting his beliefs and making them my own over a period of more than 33 years, I knew that I had to find my way back to self love; a new way of thinking about myself that was more forgiving and accepting. That’s when I knew that I could use my coaching tools to change that inner voice in me and make it work for me and inspire me to reach for the best of me and believe that I am deserving of that, instead of constantly hurting me and anticipating the worst. Today the wisdom that guides me from within comes in the form of my Nana’s loving and gentle voice.
By making that choice to change my internal voice, that has completely transformed my life and now I have greater compassion, love and patience for myself that I never dreamed possible. This is one of the gifts I want to share with you.
How about you? What are you trying to change or what do you feel needs to change in order for you to be ‘happy?’ How are you getting in your own way and preventing yourself from stepping up and standing in your power? Whose voice is guiding your every step? Is that a loving and gentle voice or an angry, critical, mocking tone that keeps a running count of everything you do wrong? Let me hear from you. Leave a comment below by sharing your thoughts and your story.
Andrea Amador, The Juicy Woman, Lovin’ the Skin You’re In, inner critic, emotional eating, subconscious mind, self-hatred