"I'm so fat. I really need to go on a diet. That's probably why I can't meet a guy. Who'd want to go out with me? Life would be so much easier if I were prettier. And smarter. I wish my hair looked like hers. I wish I had bigger boobs. I wish I was more athletic. I really need to get to the gym more. God I hate going to the gym..."
This is a stream of thought taken from the average women's head. And by 'average' I don't mean 'mediocre', I mean that generally this is the kind of thing that goes through the mind of a lot of women several times a day. Years ago, I didn't even realise that this was called a 'destructive thought pattern'. I thought it was just my life. I lived in a world where I spent a lot of time listening to a never ending litany of why I wasn't good enough, what I should be afraid of and how I was going to fail. What I didn't realise was that although my mind was telling me all this crazy crap about who I was, my mind isn't actually me. As spiritual leader, Eckhart Tolle says:
"You have a mind but you are not your mind."
This is a really, really, REALLY important concept to get - maybe the most important in creating happiness and joy in every area of your life. You are bigger than your mind. Behind your mind is your true spirit, your Modern Goddess who loves and cherishes you and believes you can do anything you desire. She has the answers; but it's super hard to hear her when you spend your time listening to your mind instead.
Your mind is supposed to be a tool for the Goddess to use, not an inner bitch who throws all our dreams off course. When you spend more time listening to the inner bitch/the inner critic/the inner mean girl than you do listening to your Modern Goddess, understandably you start to feel like you'll never measure up. You feel inadequate at every turn. You feel anxious all the time. You worry about everything.
So how do you stop listening to the station that the inner bitch is broadcasting from and start tuning into the frequency of the Modern Goddess? You gotta learn to Shut It Down.
I'm a fan of 'New Girl' so when my inner bitch starts talking, I like to think of the 'Shut it Down' manoeuvre. In the clip below, Jess is using this in the context of sexual harassment in the workplace, but trust me, it works just as well when you want to stop the unwelcome advances of your inner bitch. It also always makes me laugh whenever I think about it, which is a great way of shifting the energy away from negativity.
Changing the pattern of negative thinking is a really important step in reaching any health and happiness goals we are wanting to create, because if you're stuck listening to the radio station of the inner bitch, you're going to self sabotage. It doesn't matter how good your intentions are, if you haven't shifted this you will end up doing the same thing you've always done - eating that cake, bailing on that run, or going home with the guy who you know isn't good for you.
Motivational Speaker, Tony Robbins, uses the analogy of a CD with familiar grooves and tracks on it. Our negative thought cycles are familiar to us, and our mind easily falls into the pattern. What you want to do is scratch the CD over and over until it doesn't play the same way ever again - which is what we're doing when we use the 'Shut it Down' method.
Replace negativity with gratitude.
Once you've stopped the tirade of negative thoughts you need to give your mind something else to focus on. Instead of going back to the negativity, start listing in your head everything that you're grateful for. Do it for a minute or two; long enough to start feeling the shift from a space of negativity to a space of appreciation.
If you make this a regular practice, you'll find that you spend much less time in a state of 'not feeling enough' and when you are out of this state, you can move much faster towards your health and happiness goals. Let me know how this goes for you!