This weekend’s event had me surrounded by most of the top people in the fitness industry. On the plane ride home today I started thinking back to the first time I went to an event like this. I always would get really nervous before each of these events and I would really start to internally pick apart all my perceived flaws. It’s hard, sometimes, when you are surrounded by so many beautiful and fit people not to compare yourself to everyone else. It’s easy to start to feel inadequate really quickly.
I never really understood the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent”…I never wanted to consent to feeling inferior, but I would always feel that way anyway. I didn’t know how to change the loop in my head that was making me feel ‘less-than’ or inadequate.
But this weekend, things were different. That negative self talk wasn’t prominent anymore.
So what changed? I’m not really in any better shape than I was before, the other people at these events are still in just as amazing shape. Why did I feel better about myself this time?
If I had to pinpoint one thing, I would say it was because I slowly changed my self-talk habits. I think a lot of it has to do with starting the #ownitcampaign. Every time I started to feel inferior about something, I told myself over and over again to #ownit.
At first, this is how the conversations in my head would go:
“Your legs are shorter and maybe not as lean as the other girls? #ownit. Focus on what you are doing to improve that (squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc). “
“You don’t know as many people in the industry? #ownit. Focus on what you can do instead….be kind to everyone you talk to, follow up with people you meet, and start to build those relationships.”
“You’re not as strong as everyone else here? Everyone else has bigger muscles than you? #ownit. You’ve found a good balance with your workouts while raising two little kids. You get in the workouts you can, with the time you have.”
I’m not joking when I say that I literally would talk to myself like this. Every time I would start to feel insecure, I would talk to myself in my head and use the words ‘Own. It.’and instead of focusing on what I didn’t like, I forced myself to focus on the positive things I was doing to change or to deal with it. I would shift the focus from negative to positive.
Without realizing it, I was reshaping my habits. Whenever that negative self talk or comparison trap started, I would force myself to stop, say to myself ‘own it’, own whatever it was that I was insecure about, and focus on the things I did have the ability to control. Slowly but surely, I was building confidence in myself. Eventually I did this so many times that I didn’t have to actually ‘talk’ to myself anymore, and this new thought process/pattern became routine and automatic. Instead of allowing other people to make me feel insecure, I told myself to Own It, and shifted the focus. I started believing I was enough, instead of letting other people determine that for me.
A long time ago, I was dating this guy who told me that I just needed to be more confident. I never understood how you could just “be” more confident. In fact, someone telling me that I needed to be more confident actually made me feel more insecure. I wish I could have told my 19-year old self that self confidence can be built, but it will happen slowly through a series of setting small, attainable goals and focusing on the areas I do have the ability to change and control, instead of beating myself up over the areas I can’t.
I don’t even know if these ramblings make any sense, but I hope some of you guys can relate to these thoughts I was having today on the plane ride home. What are some tips you guys have for stopping negative self talk?
Natalie Hodson is a mom of two showing how to balance family, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle. www.nataliehodson.com