Well —– that was a REEAALLLLY long break between blogs. I honestly don’t know what happened. The end of school rush unexpectedly took up A LOT of time. Trying to grade essays, research papers, going to end-of-year parties, walking in graduation and then taking a break from working and writing for a week or two – and the time just flew by. But I’m back and plan on trying to blog at least once (if not twice) a week. I begin Yoga teacher training this weekend where I’ll be going to California once a month for a long weekend for six months. I also have some other travel plans, but I hope to keep the blog going – and write about the teacher training experience and also pen some ideas to help motivate you to live large!
When last I left you, I promised to write about how to be totally awesome if you’ve passed the age-forty milestone. I initially thought the next blog-installment in this series would be about diet. But, I’ve changed my mind and instead of writing about physical food, I’m going to talk about mind food – about how what you think and what you tell yourself on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis can make the difference between feeling like you want to drown your woes in coffee and chocolate or experiencing a fabulously kick ass existence! So get yourself a hot beverage (preferably an herbal one) and settle in for a lecture Lori style. This should be good – my kids tell me I am THE BEST at lectures. I’ll try not to drone on – but listen up and take notes if you want to shine and be an amazingly groovy post-forty woman (or man!).
First and foremost, you must quit telling yourself lies. You absolutely have to cease and desist from using derogatory mantras about yourself. Most people – women in particular – use such negative language about themselves. You know the drill – you try to put on a pair of pants and they’re too tight and you immediately say –“Ugh, I’m so fat!” Or you look in the mirror and say, “Wow, I look so haggard and old.” Or you take the wrong street when you’re in a hurry and you say, “Why did I come this way; I’m such an idiot.” You. Must. Stop. That. This. Very. Moment. In. Time. Period.
In reality, using this kind of language represents nothing more than a MONUMENTALLY bad habit. And, I suspect that women, in particular, think that using language such as this makes them appear humble and/or self-effacing. But that characterizes nonsensical thinking. Using language like this about yourself equates to abusing your beautiful self. When you continually let disparaging refrains run through your head, you injure yourself in a profound manner.
When your daily monologue tells and re-tells yourself how fat, ugly, old and stupid you are, you increase the feelings of worthlessness inside yourself. Tell yourself an idea long enough and your brain endeavors to make that idea so.
This idea is not original with me. My dad, who was a psychiatrist, used to tell my brother and sisters and myself, when we would say something negative that: “The words you say go out of your mouth, into your ears and deep into your mind, where your brain then works on bringing those words into reality.” I’m not going to lie; I used to think he was a bit off his rocker. I mean, when you’re twelve-years-old and throwing up, you really don’t want to have someone tell you to just say that you are well and it will be so! However, the older I get, the more I believe that there is validity in this theory. At the very least, I most definitely believe that negative words and thoughts serve only to exacerbate problems in our lives.
The good news is that you can (and must) break the negative-thought habit.
I challenge you to carry a notebook with you wherever you go for five day’s time. Each time you have a less-than-loving thought about yourself, I want you to stop what you’re doing and write down all those negative thoughts that run through your head. That’s right – every single unkind personal thought that comes to mind, you stop and jot it down. I don’t care if you’re in the grocery store, at church, at school, at your friend’s house, in bed at night or on stage, stop immediately and write it down. I think most of you will be surprised by how many pages you fill in five days.
At the end of five days, look back over your notes and see all the ways in which you’ve abused yourself. Pick out the phrases that you seem to use most often. You’re going to take those oft-used mantras and turn them into positive aphorisms. For instance, if you found yourself saying, “I am so fat,” you’re going to write down in a different notebook, “My weight does not dictate my level of happiness” and/or “I have the opportunity to learn how to be healthy.” If you frequently told yourself, “I am so stupid,” write down in your new notebook, “I am a brilliant person who always has good ideas.”
You’re going to rid yourself of these horrifying declarations once and for all. After you’ve perused your notebook, I want you to go into your backyard and put those pages in your grill or in a sturdy pot and burn them. While all those negatives burn away, I want you to say, “I now only think good thoughts about myself.” If you aren’t someplace you can burn your pages, just tear them into little bitty bits and dump them in the trash. This might sound a little crazy, but physically getting rid of all the bad things you say about yourself can actually be quite cathartic. As the pages burn or get ripped into tiny bits, imagine all those negatives inside you burning to ash or being ripped up and floating out of you.
Now the work (and fun) starts. The two most common things that you told yourself during your five days, I want you to write the new aphorism that you’ve replaced it with on your bathroom mirror. Every morning when you get up, while you’re showering or making the coffee, I want you to say the new mantra over and over and over – preferably out loud, but at least in you head. If you hear the old negative mantras going through your head, I want you to start catching yourself and imagine those old-out dated lies being burned up. Then immediately say the new positive affirmation. Tell yourself how awesome you are over and over again. This is not conceit. You can only help others and realize your full potential when you truly love and accept yourself.
The reality is that you are a beautiful, unique, incredible, loving, wonderfully awesome being. There is no one else on earth like you. Many have forgotten that they embody a groovy kick ass human – no matter your age, weight, color or creed. I’m here to help you remember. Don’t be mean to yourself. Keep Shining. Peace Out!