Wesley woke up the other day and kept talking about how the day was going to be terrible and he was grumpy and he hated life. I told him, “Listen. The day might suck but it helps to just say – out loud – some positive affirmations. EVEN IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THEM. While voicing something positive may not change anything in the moment, voicing the negative for sure does not help anything.”
As I’m trying to adjust my mindset about my health and my body and focus more on self-love and less on weight gain/loss – I have discovered some interesting programming in my brain. And by interesting…I mean TERRIBLE.
For example – my brain automatically believes that a thinner version of someone (especially myself) is a better version.
THAT IS SOME SHITTY PROGRAMMING.
I’ve been going through old content on this blog – updating it to the new system – and I spent a LOT of time 15 years ago talking about the 10 pounds I gained after I got married. WHICH BROUGHT ME TO A WHOPPING 120 pounds! It’s like every other post references the “diet” or “trying to lose weight” or “weight gain” and it is making me CRAZY. Because my instincts are to see 120 pound Kim from 2004 and think she’s BETTER than me because she’s 50 pounds lighter, BUT OBVIOUSLY SHE HAD SOME ISSUES, Y’ALL.
I hate how our culture and our media and our cosmetic and fashion industries have gotten so deep into my brain that THINNER=BETTER is a thought I have NO control over. It’s like when I quit smoking and the thought, “Smoke a cigarette…” would pop into my head. I DID NOT WANT THAT THOUGHT. Yet, there it was, torturing me.
At first I would try to counter those thoughts with opposing thoughts of value. Like…when Facebook would remind me of a photo of smaller Kim at a race and my brain would think: That Kim is better. I would try to correct that thought by saying: That Kim was struggling with X,Y, and Z which today’s Kim is not struggling with so she is NOT better.
But I have realized that I’m still placing values on various Kims in terms of better/worse based on production or health or appearance or success. And that is not better programming. What I should be saying is: All Kims are worthy of love. All Kims are beautiful in their struggles and their successes.
DUDE…Not only am I talking to myself now…BUT I AM TALKING TO MULTIPLE VERSIONS OF MYSELF. There are people who would say this is not a good thing.
BUT IT IS A GOOD THING.
Because I am learning – as long as my mental health is in check – positive affirmations do eventually start to hack away at the negative programming. When I see smaller pictures of myself and my brain immediately longs for that “better” version of Kim, not a millisecond even goes by now before I say to myself: All Kims are worthy of Love. There is beauty and light in me today just like there was back then – but today I’m learning to let that light shine no matter what the container on the outside looks like.
Or some such hokey/cheesy nonsense.
It’s kinda like reprogramming language. Back in my teens and my early 20s I threw around the r-word constantly. It just popped into my head as an adjective for anything “silly” or “dumb” or “ridiculous”. When I learned how problematic that word was, I had to really focus on reprogramming my brain to quit calling it out of the vocabulary center. AND IT TOOK AWHILE. I was embarrassed how often it would still pop out when I didn’t want it to.
But now? That word would NEVER cross my lips. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR PROGRAMMING. You just have to BELIEVE it. And I’m not saying I believe it yet, just like Wesley does not believe ANY day is going to be good that involves school. But I know that letting the negative programming sit unchallenged is not going to take me anywhere good. It’s going to leave me right where I found myself a year ago – full of self-hate and disgust.
So every time something negative about myself pops into my brain – I force myself to respond with a positive affirmation that puts my value on my SPIRIT and my SOULD and not on my body or my production or my success by any metric. I NEED TO HONOR THE LIGHT IN MYSELF to modify a phrase from my beer/yoga classes. I need to love myself UNCONDITIONALLY and that takes overwriting all of the terrible conditioning programmed by outside forces.
No matter how cheesy it feels.