There is great power in thinking positively…but nobody really talks about the debilitating power of thinking negatively.
I have thought long and hard about writing some of these blog posts as I do share them with my friends and that is exposing and today’s may just turn out to be the most.
Some of you may not agree with me being so candid in public but I ask you not to judge. I feel my therapy is in writing and sharing my experiences. In sharing them I take power away from the shame I feel in the secret of feeling these emotions – however as a caveat to this, I want you all to know that these feelings I have felt for so long and life IS getting so much better but I just need to say these things – to vomit them out into the computer and rid myself of any lasting negativity.
Please don’t worry that I am feeling particularly low – these feelings are nothing new. In fact by speaking this I am taking away the power it has over me.
At University I can remember thinking “This is my chance to lose weight”. I had gone to a Church Choir festival for a weekend a year earlier and had managed not to eat for the whole weekend. There was power in knowing that nobody could judge me for being overweight because they just wouldn’t have to see me eat. There was power in thinking that people would be in awe of me. There was power in knowing I DO have control and I have drive and commitment.
Not eating for 3 days was the worst thing ever at times, and at times it was amazing and euphoric. It was bloody hard work though. I was very overweight so to suddenly shock my body sent it into overdrive and the only way to keep it up was to tell myself negative things about my body, my appearance and my personality to keep this up.
This carried on when I started University. Only Uni was for longer. I had to tell myself more and more negative stuff about myself in whatever way. One of the worst things I can remember was a quote – a quote that stuck with me throughout the whole 3 years. I warn you it’s not nice (I really don’t believe it now) and I have not spoken this to anyone ever but I want it out of me now:
“I look upon this sculpture with disgust. I feel shame at her size and obvious distortions of the human anatomy. To me this doesn’t symbolise life and fruitfulness, but a body burdened down with layer upon layer. Of course there is no face, when a person is this size, the body is the focus not the face or extremities. Sad to say a non-person – only obese mass….”
At University I could quote this from memory. It was my mantra and completely colluded with how I needed to feel. It felt good to write myself awful messages about how I didn’t deserve things – love, friendship, happiness in order to keep me feeling awful about myself.
No-one ever talks about the absolute danger in thinking SO negatively. It may have been quite deliberate at first, but soon I began to really believe it. I lost friends, lost my boundaries, lost the ability to be in touch with this shell I carrry in any way, let my body define my personality and lost any moral compass I had – which sometimes led to some quite dangerous behaviour.
Because of this, I still have a ‘self-destruct’ button to this day. I messed with my body and my mental health and it has taken years of therapy and sadness to come to realise that this life isn’t about what shape I am or whether I am eating or not. That does not define me. What defines me are all of the things I lost while deliberately being negative.
Sometimes being positive feels SO fake. Sometimes I just want to curl up in a ball, shut out the world and eat and eat and eat – or not – just like the Uni days. BUT I know I’ve taught my mind to play tricks on me. I know that positivity is where I need to focus. Today, or even this week, I need reminding of this.
Please don’t ever talk about yourself in a negative way – it is SO damaging!
PLEASE tell yourself everyday how beautiful and amazing you are.
Take time to really get to know your body – look at it – without judgement and smile.
Smile because there is only one you… you are SO special – please look after you.