Duckling swan

I recently had a conversation with an old friend of mine who said as a child she was convinced she was overweight and that feeling has carried on throughout her adult life. I grew up with her and can honestly say she was never overweight and still isn’t.   It is only now she realises that she wasn’t.  So where did that view of herself stem from?

It is amazing how the messages we receive as children by our parents, siblings, teachers and peers can have a huge impact on how we perceive ourselves.  If we receive positive messages and encouragement we will believe we can do anything, equally if we receive negative messages to say we aren’t very good at something we will eventually go on to believe this.

I recall completing a job application in my best hand writing.  My Dad looked at my answers and predicted I wouldn’t get the job.  I would like to think he was practising reverse psychology and was not being unkind.  My immediate thought was “I will get the job, I’ll show you and prove you wrong”.  Whatever his reasons they were not encouraging and just in case you were wondering I did prove him wrong and did in fact secure my dream job.

The fact is, if we hear negative messages enough we can go on to believe them and they become part of who we are and how we identify ourselves.  Similarly that also works on messages that we communicate to ourselves.  If we feel we aren’t good enough, we can’t do something or we aren’t happy with how we look we will eventually come to believe it.

So how can we make positive changes to undo some of our beliefs and retrain our thoughts?  Again, it goes back to looking in the mirror and loving ourselves or practising and doing the things we believe we can’t do.

There is a saying “Fake it until you make it”.  This works on many levels, for example if we aren’t feeling great and are a little bit disillusioned with how life is going we can make a decision to be happy, smile a little bit more, even if on the inside we don’t feel like it.  The impact of doing this is amazing.  The change might not be immediate but it does take place and before we know it we begin to feel happier naturally without faking it.   This little trick of faking it until you make it can work on so many levels.

Recently I became very scared of riding my new horse.  I developed a very strong and unnecessary sense of fear.  Horses are very sensitive animals, they pick up on our emotions, he sensed my fear and became fearful because I wasn’t confident.   It became a circle of fear, him feeding from my fear and me feeding from his, you can imagine the result – we were both a quivering wreck.   Worse still, I immersed myself in books about fear and all the things that can go wrong.  I started to believe I was useless even though I have been riding for more years than I care to remember.  My fear consumed me.

By focussing on the fear and negativity I was creating more negativity.  I had to find a way to show him leadership and confidence.  So with the help of a friend and my riding instructor and their positive messages I turned the situation around.  I started to take small steps, I used visualisation (regular readers will know I am a strong fan of visualisation) and I started to ride in a positive way.  I began to trust him and in turn he started to trust me.   We began to do things rather than worry about things.  Doing is far better and it made a huge difference.  Through my visualisation I pictured myself riding him in a positive and confident way, believe me I didn’t feel that confident, but I learnt to breath and not freeze.  I faked it and I hope that I am now on the way to making it.

If there is anything in your life or a limiting self-belief that is holding you back it’s really worth trying these techniques, tell yourself on a daily basis that you can, visualise yourself doing what you think you can’t.  Alternatively if you have issues about how you feel about your appearance or yourself look into the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful and really believe it.  Remember beauty comes from within.  You can be or do anything you want to do, all that is required is sheer determination and positive messaging.

I would love to hear from any readers who have turned a situation around or have learnt to undo any negative messages and images they had of themselves.

 Wishing you all a wonderful love filled happy week.