Have you ever wondered why you get into snits when you feel like you can’t say or do anything right? No surprise that those moments tend to coincide with a circumstance or event that’s stressing you out. Maybe you missed a deadline, got into a big argument, are worried about finances, facing a big confrontation, or someone criticized or rejected you making you feel 31 different flavors of not good enough. Bad stuff happens to good people.
During tough and vulnerable times, your fears can really get the best of you. When you’re ready to get past the “I’m not good enough, poor me place” you can climb out of the self-pity pit by understanding what you need to know to push back when you have a nasty inner critic hell-fire bent on shoving you around.
My story and discovery of how what you tell yourself matters
Jack Canfield is the author of the international best selling book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul. Back in 2004 when I attended his self-esteem training program, he talked about the persuasive power of our inner critic. He explained it by saying “It doesn’t matter what you say to me, what’s important is what I tell myself after you finish speaking.” What are you telling yourself about your body? Do you like it/hate it? What’s your story?
Each of us has our own story in life which we tell ourselves over and over again. In my case, for years I felt weighed down with feelings of shame because it was my encounter with sexual abuse that became my story. It laid the groundwork that made me believe I wasn’t safe in my own body and couldn’t take care of myself. My story reinforced my belief that I had to rely on others and search outside myself to feel secure and happy. This, in turn activated a long cycle of people-pleasing madness that kept me stressed out, feeling helpless, angry, burnt out, and resentful. Food was always my go-to stress relief.
For years, as long as I identified myself by my story, I was able to tell myself I was a victim, so I kept on acting out the part of being helpless in every area of my life. By constantly thinking of myself as “poor, poor me”, I attracted situations and people that continually reinforced that identity.
In the course of crawling out of my own self-pity pit, I had to learn some tough lessons the hard way. The most valuable of which is that it’s never too late to change.
If you grew up feeling ashamed of your body, that’s not your fault and no matter what anyone tells you, it’s not okay. Feeling insecure and ashamed is a learned response to being made to feel those emotions in the past.
As children we’re like little sponges and we pick up everything around us and believe it to be true. Babies don’t have body issues and you shouldn’t have to be burdened with them either. But the reality is that we learn what we live. If you grew up in an environment where you were surrounded by people who criticized themselves, others or you, you may have learned to adapt those self-critical and judgmental behaviors as your own.
Body insecurities aren’t about your body
If you’re struggling with feelings of body shame, it’s not your body that’s the problem. It’s the way you think about yourself. The negative emotions you feel toward yourself and your body are at the root of your body shame.
Losing weight won’t do anything to make you feel better for more than a minute, because it’s not your physical self that needs to change. It’s the mental image you have of your body and the way you feel about it that could use an attitude shift.
Body insecurities develop as a consequence of having at least one or several very emotional experiences that adversely affected the way that you think of your body.
Perhaps you were picked on and called ‘fat’ by your peers at school or maybe one day someone made a comment about your body or touched you inappropriately. You cried because you felt so embarrasssed and ashamed and wished that you could just disappear.
These upsetting incidents are just a couple of examples of how your brain creates memory markers, known as anchors which occur when your brain links strong emotions to certain life events.
The good news is that no matter how you feel about your body right now, you can forge a new, loving relationship with yourself at any time. It’s truly never too late.
To get to the source of those insecurities that are keeping you from being more fulfilled, you need to become more aware of the lies that you tell yourself about who you are and what you’re capable of achieving.
Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS): What they are and how they affect you
Science has proven that we talk to ourselves thousands of times a day and most of our inner dialog is negative. In his book, “Change Your Brain Change Your Life”, Daniel Amen, M.D., explains how these automatic negative thoughts are the real cause of your insecurities.
The limbic system is a part of your brain that stores your emotions and memories. When it gets over-stimulated it can lead to anxiety, depression, anger, impulsiveness and obsessiveness.
The latest research shows that there’s a part of your brain called the amygdala which functions like a smoke alarm. Whenever you’re under pressure and feeling anxious, your body responds by sending an alert signal to your brain which sends the signal throughout your body.
The purpose of this alert signal is to release chemicals throughout your body that can prepare you to either fight, or flee or freeze in a dangerous situation.
But unlike our ancestors, we don’t have to sprint to escape an attacking saber tooth tiger or fight off a grizzly bear, or ‘play dead’ to throw a predator off track. The majority of our challenges and stresses today are more of a non-physical variety.
When you get stressed out, it’s more likely that you worry about things like losing your job, your boyfriend cheating on you, paying the bills, covering your mortgage, and fitting into your dress for your high school reunion.
But when your internal smoke alarm goes off, you instantly panic, because the blood in your head is rushing out of your forebrain and to your extremities and you can’t think straight because you can’t get oxygen to your brain. When you’re in that place, your body thinks it’s under attack so it will push you to do whatever you must to calm yourself down as quickly as possible.
Here’s a plan to reclaim your power from your shaming inner critic:
Tune In – Pay attention to what you’re thinking. By first becoming aware of what’s going on in your mind, you can step away from it just enough to realize that much of it is based on your fears and limiting beliefs.
Tap – Derived from the science of acupuncture, EFT, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique is a powerful stress-relief method that can deliver all the benefits of acupuncture without the ouch of needles. By focusing on what is upsetting you while lightly stimulating acupressure points on your body that activate your body’s natural relaxation response, you can cool down a hot head.
Research done to demonstrate the efficacy of tapping shows that you can reduce your body’s cortisol levels by as much as 24-50% using tapping. Because the decrease shown in the study represented such a remarkable percentage, the equipment was recalibrated and the trial was run a second time in order to ensure test accuracy. Also in a first of it’s kind clinical trial 5000 anxiety patients, were divided into two experimental groups. One group received a combination of (CBT) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ( a therapy method based on using logic to question your beliefs) and meds, the traditional therapy of choice. The other group was simply taught how to tap.
And the winner is…
The EFT group showed a 90% improvement vs. 63% in the control group
The EFT group showed a 76% complete relief from symptoms vs the control group’s 51%
The average number of sessions of the EFT group was 3 as opposed to 15 for the control group.
On an aside, I have to say that in my opinion, EFT is amazing. Ever since I was first introduced to it in 2004, it changed my life. I use tapping often and always for my own issues and I teach my clients how to apply it to bust down their own limiting beliefs.
Stop Putting Yourself Down – Put a ban on sarcasm, criticism and meanness. Make a vow to become your own best friend. Talk to yourself lovingly in soft tones and with sweetness as you would speak to a good friend or loved one.
Stand up for yourself – Your lack of confidence is probably showing up in your relationships. Because we teach people how to treat us, your body-hating ways may have been sending the wrong messages to others. It’s never too late to start over. Let people know in no uncertain terms that you’re no longer okay with having them make comments about your body or what you eat.
Stop Blaming Yourself – Can’t stop feeling anxious about your body? That feeling of discontent is your body telling you something is wrong. Something is hurting you and causing you to feel pain.
In the end, if you want to tame your inner critic, get control over your cravings, and love yourself more, you’ll have to put the emphasis on expressing your needs, dealing with your stress and managing your emotions. This requires a whole new way of thinking and it’s something that I teach my clients all the time.
If you’re looking for some help in getting back to the basics of body love, tune into my “Lovin’ the Skin You’re In” radio show and listen to the archived recordings–
Click the link below for more details.
Have you ever wondered why you fall into these dark places in your life when it feels like you can’t do anything right? Isn’t that’s when you get so insecure and worried about the way you look and you end up taking everything everyone says so personally because it feels like everyone is attacking you and you just want to run and hide and find something to eat? But then once you start eating, you can’t seem to stop no matter what you do?
Well you don’t have to be enslaved by those paranoid and fearful feelings and thoughts anymore. I’ll tell you where they come from and how to handle them so they won’t ever have the power to bring you to your knees like they have in the past.
insecurities, fears, depression, body-image, self-esteem, Dove, The Juicy Woman, Love Your Body, Andrea Amador, Lovin’ the Skin You’re In,