Pick up any women’s, and increasingly, men’s, magazine this spring and you will be bombarded by the latest hot tips on how to achieve the perfect complexion, tone your sagging muscles, choose clothes that transform you into a catwalk model and generally ‘make it’ as a human being.
This is nothing new. We have been subject to this barrage of seemingly helpful information for months, years, decades……continuously looking for the elusive magical face cream, diet plan, fashion advice, that will transform us from who we are, into who we must become, and yet, nothing seems to get any better. Quite the reverse, the contours of our face continue to rearrange themselves into ever increasing furrows, our bodies continue on their journey south and out, and our wardrobes become ever more comfortable.
So why do we continue to digest this menu of false promises, vowing to moisturise diligently, exercise vigorously and eat only on days with a z in them? All the while gazing judgmentally upon our reflection, as the voice in our head chastises us for what we could have been if only we’d done what we promised ourselves we’d do this time last Spring.
You may have reached the point where you no longer subject yourself to the potential disappointment of failure. Turning steadfastly away from the fashion mags you may choose to direct your attention to more wholesome journals. You may discover why your living space absolutely needs to be transformed into an inside, outside paradise, how to create the garden of your dreams or craft designer cards out of kitchen rubbish…..
The message is the same, who you are, what you look like, what you are doing and what you have is not good enough. In order to ‘make it’ you must try harder, change, exert more willpower, have more things, spend more money, be more creative. The popular magazines are there to make sure that those thoughts are never far away, quietly, persistently reminding you of the inadequacies that surround, and lie within you.
At what point do we decide that enough is enough, that there is a better message that we could receive? What’s more, how do we make the change and ‘do’ our lives differently?
It takes a willingness to think different thoughts in order to change our lives. By changing the thoughts we have and the words we speak about ourselves we can bring about massive changes in our lives.
We have all been programmed, so some extent, to be dissatisfied, judgmental and critical of ourselves, often from a very early age. We are all very familiar with the self critical voice of relentless self doubt that insists on commenting every time we look at our non airbrushed, natural faces and bodies in the mirror. So, why not give ourselves the gift of better feeling thought?
Thinking a better feeling thought means saying something kind to yourself and making the decision to stop, today and every day, criticising, both yourself and others. Criticising yourself does not create any positive change in your life, it only makes you feel bad about yourself. Criticising others only creates more judgement and negativity.
Begin today by saying to your reflection “I love and approve of myself”. Repeat this mantra many times each day. Tell yourself this every time you catch yourself having a critical thought about your body, your living space, your relationship. Say it out loud every time you look in the mirror.
Look yourself straight in the eyes and find two things about yourself that you really do approve of, perhaps you like your eyes or your hair. Every single day, from this day forth find at least two things to appreciate about yourself and tell yourself out loud what they are, smile as you say them.
Making these statements can be difficult at first, however persevere, soon the resistance will lessen and you will begin to believe what you are saying. As you find the capacity to love yourself, life will mirror love back to you, in many ways.
By making these simple statements you are giving yourself a powerful, loving message. A message that it really is okay to be where you are, right now, in this moment. This moment that you are in right now is actually the only moment in which you have any power to make any change. Time spent regretting the past or worrying about the future is time spent fruitlessly. You are powerless to change what has been or what may be to come. You can however change what is happening at this very moment.
Forgive yourself your past. You did the very best you could at the time, back then your knowledge, understanding and awareness was different to that which you have now. The same goes for scaring yourself with frightening thoughts about the future. Many of the things you are worrying about will not happen, you are wasting your precious ‘now’ by dwelling on what is after all, only a thought.
Be patient with yourself as you practice this new way of being. Treat yourself lovingly, as you would love to be loved, as you would treat someone you cared very deeply for. Start today, give yourself the gift of a better feeling thought, and watch what happens.