Don’t look at the scales, look at your heart..
Posted: Feb 24 2016
A guest post by Trudie McConnochie
If you have ever looked in the mirror and said, “I’m so fat” or “I’m not pretty enough”, there’s something you need to know.
In a Japanese study, researcher Dr Masaru Emoto took two identical jars of cooked rice and wrote “thank you” on one, and on the other “you fool”. He had school children say the labels out loud to the jars every day as they walked past. After 30 days the jar that had received positive words was healthy while the one that was abused had become mouldy and rotten.
What does this mean for me, you might be thinking? Well, it means that the words you use to describe yourself are having an impact on each of the 50 billion cells within your body. According to US researcher Dr Kristin Neff, when you criticise yourself, cortisol (the stress hormone) is released, which lowers your mood and motivation, among other adverse effects – not exactly conducive to starting a new workout program or a healthy eating plan!
So if self-criticism is so damaging, why do we do it?
Part of the problem is social media. Never before in history have we been exposed to so many images of other people looking so perfect. And even though we know logically that these images have been altered, filtered and taken on a good day, it’s hard not to compare ourselves – and, consequently, to feel like we’re not good enough.
Instead of beating yourself up for not looking like someone else, Dr Neff advocates you try some self-compassion, which isn’t about feeling different to other people – it’s about simply treating yourself like a human being who deserves love and care. (And you do, by the way.)
If, instead of criticising yourself, you can reassure yourself that not having legs like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley doesn’t diminish your value as a human being, you’ll be better able to make good choices on everything from nutrition and exercise right through to relationships and career.
It doesn’t matter that you do not look like Kate Beckinsale. It doesn’t matter what the scales say. It doesn’t matter that you have cellulite and wrinkles and grey hair. What matters is that you are kind to yourself and kind to other people. Your body, after all, is just a home for your soul. Of course you should look after your body and keep it healthy as much as you can, but don’t make the mistake of thinking how that home looks defines your character and your value. You are not better or worse than anyone else. You are just a human being doing the best that you can in this confusing but beautiful world. You deserve kindness – and the most important person you can receive that from is yourself. So next time you find yourself engaging in self-criticism, run interference on that mean girl in your head and remind yourself of the last nice thing you did for yourself or for someone else. That, ultimately, is what matters.
Trudie McConnochie is a freelance writer, reiki practitioner and angel intuitive based in Sydney. She blogs on living with meaning and kindness at www.onegroundedangel.com. Follow her on Instagram at @onegroundedangel. To book an angel card reading, email firstname.lastname@example.org.