During the most recent Bank Holiday weekend I decided to have a mental mishap, where my mind and thoughts suddenly decided I look like a swamp monster. You know the creatures that come out of the bog all wonky and bog-eyed in those 1950’s horror movies? Like one of those. Like a badly put together prop.
Ordinarily I don’t have issues with how I look or my body as I have accepted how I am and I like it. Besides, we all know I was too busy hating myself on the inside to be worried about the outside! But Bank Holiday? My mind (or my chimp, Nerissa) really went for it. I felt so insecure I wanted to cry the whole time. I was comparing myself to others, criticising myself in really unconstructive ways; E.g. “You’re so hideous!”.
An amalgamation of things heightened the feeling, such as having had jet lag (having gone to New York. Had to shoehorn that in somewhere, didn’t I?), panic attacks and very little sleep for the previous week. Understandably, I am sure, I didn’t want to stick with this feeling, so I set about changing those thoughts. A recent audiobook I had listened to helped with this. Byron Katie’s Loving What Is. The concept is around reality being kinder than your thoughts and that when you believe these negative thoughts, you suffer but when you interrogate them, you don’t. It’s well worth a listen to find out how to do ‘The Work’, as she calls it.
I started by just asking myself if my hideousness was true, and no. It’s not. I don’t want to change myself, I like what I see in the mirror most days and I’m super happy with my body and workout to keep feeling happy with it.
The thing is, some people will think you’re attractive, others will think the opposite. And you know what? They are both right. This is because it’s their story. Not yours. It is their reality, their perception and their internal representation of you. There are 7.7 billion different realities in this world, and the only one that should matter to you is yours. You’re in control of your reality so why let your thoughts tell you you’re ugly or anything else negative? Don’t let it get away with it. Question it.
Just starting to get the ball rolling by questioning those negative thoughts will help plant those seeds of doubt in your mind as to their truth. It’s even better if you write them down, makes it harder for your mind to argue with you! Just don’t put up with the nonsense your thoughts are telling you, you deserve better than that.
Another thing I got told by 3 different people during that week was that I am too hard on myself. Agreed. I was annoyed that I had felt down about myself, rather than accepting what I was feeling, riding the wave and then questioning it. I just let that wave of negativity consume me for a couple of days instead. It made me feel like I was taking a step back on my mental health venture, when it wasn’t a step back at all, just a slip.
Thankfully now, by questioning and working through the feeling logically, I am now back on track and feeling good about myself outside and in. I’m glad, because swamp monsters are best left in the movies.
Until next time!