My second tip at improving your self-esteem and body image is:
CREATE A NEW EMPOWERING LANGUAGE
That’s right. To improve your self-esteem you will need to learn a new language but I’m not talking about learning Spanish or French here. What I mean is the language of self-empowerment.
But what exactly is it and how do you learn it?
THE LANGAGE OF EMPOWERMENT
It is specific and intentional language to counteract the venomous, fat phobic, food obsessive, all or nothing vocabulary that either you are using against yourself or that you’re using against others….or both.
I want to share with you how to begin speaking the language of self-love but before we talk about the actual words, to understand this new language you need to understand about your focus and belief systems.
FOCUS & BELIEF SYSTEM
You see whatever you focus on in life creates your belief systems.
That means that regardless of whether it’s true or not, our focus becomes our reality. For example, you feel great all day and full of so much energy that you decide to honour your body and go to a workout class. Afterwards you go home and just before you eat a delicious and nutritious dinner to complement your training you decide to weigh yourself.
You are shocked to see that you actually weigh more than when you last weighed yourself and so you say to hell with the dinner and gorge on your favourite treats and lose all motivation to repeat the gym experience. Before you had weighed yourself you felt on top of the world but afterwards you feel terrible and it all changed in one second.
In reality nothing actually changed did it. You still weighed the same before when you felt great but what did change was your perception and so your focus changed and whatever you focus on becomes your new belief system. Your new reality.
That is the incredible power of focus and belief and I’m sure if that example isn’t familiar then you can fill in your own examples of something similar.
What’s amazing however is that you can actually control your focus and belief systems so that they benefit you instead of waiting for something or someone else to change it for you. That means you can actually take responsibility for how you feel.
This is where the new language comes in. By simply changing your words you can directly affect your focus and belief and your focus and belief gives momentum to your words. You see they feed one another.
It can be the words you say to yourself in your head or the words you say out loud to others.
When we talk to ourselves we do so in one of two ways: we are either
1. Making statements
2. Asking questions
Think about it. That’s all we actually do when we talk to ourselves. We are either saying statements like “I would like to eat this” or “I hope I can catch the train on time” or we’re asking questions like “can I eat this” or “will I make the train on time.” That makes it pretty simple to analyse our systems of speech and then make some big changes to them.
STATEMENTS: Typically, my clients make statements such as: I’m so fat, I will never find a partner. I’m so stupid and useless for not sticking to my diet. Everyone always looks at me when I eat because I’m so greedy.
These statements become beliefs and the more we use them the more ingrained they become until they become our truth. You have probably focused so long on a such statements that they are now law in your mind.
QUESTIONS: People ask questions of themselves like: Why am I so fat? Why am I so useless? Why can’t I just get my act together and go to the gym, stick to my diet and sort my shit out? Why can’t I get rid of these flabby arms, this chin, this belly, etc, etc, and the list goes on and on.
The quality of your questions and statements will determine the quality of your life.
If you continue to focus on disempowering ones, then your answer will always come back as disempowering.
Think of your mind like Google. If you type into google “why am I so fat and ugly?” then Google will spit back hundreds of pages and none of them will be flattering answers.
So what’s the solution?
As always, I have a few for you.
You need to start using new questions and new statements to counteract your old programming. You need to create new, stronger neural pathways that can substitute for the old pathways. Be under no illusion, your current ingrained questions and statements have strong pathways and so to counter them you will need to create your own and strengthen them through mass repetition until they replace your current programming.
Let’s say you create three empowering questions that you always fall back on when things get hard. Perhaps if you are a binge-eater you might use the question “how can I use this binge to help me learn from my experience?” instead of your usual, “Oh no, I did it again. Why am I so useless.” Or, maybe in the past you would have said “Why am I so ugly”, when looking in the mirror and instead, whenever you stand in front of the mirror you will create a new habit of saying ‘How can I use this time in front of the mirror to appreciate my body’. In this way, you are not running away from the problem. You recognise that body acceptance doesn’t happen overnight and so you are patient but also willing to engage in a process. The more you believe your words, the more effective the process will be.
These empowering questions are non-judgemental. You are forgiving yourself immediately. Compassionate but also allowing room for introspection and growth.
You need to start asking empowering statements. Now statements might otherwise be known as affirmations. If you’re not familiar with this term then just think of the business man before a meeting, pacing up and down in the bathroom and then looking in the mirror and psyching himself up by saying things like “who’s the man? Who’s gonna blow the bosses away with my amazing pitch” or something that sounds super corny like that.
Of course that might seem a little over the top, but trust me they work. I recommend thinking of 3 empowering statements as well that you can have loaded. They can be anything. Things like: I’m so hot, I’m adorable, I am in charge of my happiness, I am always worthy of love
Be as bold as you like and understand that they are true. Your belief system is just catching up to your new reality you are creating.
Repetition is integral in it working. It’s no good just saying it once and thinking its magic. You need to repeat it again and again because chances are you’re not gonna believe yourself at first.
You know why right?
Because you’re still listening to someone else’s script about how you’re not good enough. Trust me, your negative talk might sound like your words but they’re not. Those words came from someone else or our culture. Aren’t you tired of listening to someone else’s beliefs about who you are?
A big mistake some make however is that they don’t say their affirmations with conviction. They do it but it’s a half-hearted effort. I mean, if you sat there, saying to yourself something like ‘I deserve love. I am worthy of love’, but your head is slumped, and your shoulders down, and your tonality low, then is it gonna work?
And then what do you say afterwards?
You say “you see Seb. I told you this silly affirmation stuff isn’t going to work”, and you’re right but it’s because you didn’t go all in.
So how about instead if you get up; that’s important. No general ever inspired his troops while sat down on his arse. So you get up. You pace up and down, maybe use a fist at the same time and punch the air while you do it, with determination in your voice. Shoulder pulled back, head and chest up proudly like you’re in control. Or maybe you even hold your hands on your heart and you say it with absolute calm and sincerity. It depends what you’re trying to cultivate. But does that sound more convincing?
Let me tell you something, even if you don’t belief yourself at first, if your body is congruent with how you want to perceive yourself and how you want the world to perceive you also, you can transform your belief, and as we now know, our focus and belief affect our language, our language affects our actions, and our actions affects our focus and belief. It is cycle, and once you gather momentum, it snowballs, becoming a self-regulating habit.
And if that wasn’t enough, research has also shown that affirmations are a great way of treating things like depression and anxiety.
The best thing is that they can be done at any time of the day. They’re portable and you can take your own power with you wherever. I believe though that the best time of the day to do this is in the morning. You know the saying, start as you mean to go on.
DO IT OFTEN TO GET THE BEST RESULTS
By the way, this isn’t about thinking yourself happy. As coaching expert, Tony Robbins says, if you have a garden, and you keep telling yourself there are no weeds, there are no weeds, your garden is gonna be overrun with weeds. Just like your thoughts, if you keep telling yourself “I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy”, you’ll be lying to yourself. Instead what he teaches us is that we need to go out into the garden and do daily weeding. You see if I leave the weeds, which are the negative self talk, then they will grow. Not noticeably at first but over time they’ll get so big I’ll have to do so much work to undue them, but if I do a little everyday, then gradually, over time, I will have a beautiful garden, which translates as empowering thoughts, and all it will take is very little maintenance. So again, I recommend doing these affirmations and practicing questions every morning. They will take you only a few minutes.
THINK OF AFFIRMATIONS AS SELF-PROPOGANDA
Affirmations are really just self-propaganda. That might seem like lying to yourself, but when you realise the powerful effect, you’ll be hooked. The most famous example of empowering self-propaganda in popular culture is by Mohammad Ali, regarded by many as the greatest boxer of all time. But would you believe that it wasn’t the people, the fans, the media, that gave Muhammad Ali this title, The Greatest of All Time, but Ali himself.
He would get himself so psyched up in the weeks and months leading up to the big fights and he would do it by telling everyone that he was the greatest boxer of all time and that he couldn’t possibly lose. That he was sure to win. He would predict what round he’d knock out his opponent and he was often right. He would even make rhymes and songs about his self-belief. He was absurdly cocky. He was arrogant. He believed in himself and he wouldn’t be shut up. Some people hated his self-belief. Just picture the audacity of a black man in 60s America telling everyone that he was so great. That he was so pretty. It was a time when black people there were only just overcoming segregation laws. I can only speculate about a such a time and place I’ll never know but to be so bold in the face of life’s challenges is a lesson I love and I hope you can take inspiration from his journey as I have.
I urge you to watch his interviews and trash talks on Youtube. They are brilliant.
But for yourself, can you write your own propaganda speeches?
How about a poem on a how pretty you are? How great you are?
Can you memorise it?
Can you recite it?
Thank for reading. If you enjoyed this then come and check me out on Youtube.