One Month Challenge: I Love My Body, Week Four
[Everyone’s got a vice, a bad habit, something they know they need to change. Unfortunately, everyone also has a million excuses why they just can’t do it. Not anymore. Every month we will be following a different CollegeCandy writer as she takes on a personal challenge. Last month Tiffany spent a month at Outward Bound and challenged her physical limits. This month, Ashley's going to try to stop hating on her body so much. Can she do it!? Could you?]
This week I got some outside help for my challenge that was very interesting and very helpful. Coincidentally, I had mandatory work meeting/training title “Overcoming Negativity in the Work Place”. Everyone had to go and no one was looking forward to it. The training turned out not to be so bad because it was nothing like what we all assumed it would be. The lady training us/giving the presentation studied psychology and neurobiology and pretty much gave us a 101 on negativity and the brain. I learned that negativity is a natural response in the brain and a bunch of other brain related information. It was super interesting to get the 411 on where our negativity stems from and it put a lot of my negativity issues in perspective.
So what does this mean in terms of this challenge you ask? For me, a lot.
First of all, it made me realize that although I want to change, I don’t want to beat myself up for beating myself up (being negative). Though I think my case of negativity is a special one because of how harsh I can be towards my body (and that it in turn effects my body image and is a reflection of my insecurities), I’m definitely not alone or abnormal for having these negative thoughts. Second of all, it reassured me that I have a perfectly functioning, normal brain and I don’t have to spend any more time worried if there’s a wire loose or anything. Also, if the trainer who knows all about the science of why we’re negative creatures hasn’t perfected controlling her negativity, I surely shouldn’t expect to do so. And lastly, we had to partake in a semi-silly but useful activity that I decided to carry over into my challenge. Here it is…
Score Card Game:
All I had to do was keep a tally of the negative and positive things I said for this week. For every positive comment, I multiplied my score by five and for every negative comment I subtracted my score by five. The point of the game in the training was to make sense of how effective and exponentially positive positivity is (as it spreads to those around you) and to see that while negativity is bad, we can offset it with positivity. I chose to count both positive and negative comments I made about my body and those I said about others. This worked out well because I also purchased a new gym membership so I had plenty of times to comment on my own body and those around me.
All in all, I LOST TRACK! I know what you’re thinking. I can’t even follow the rules of my own game, right? WRONG! I followed the rules and kept track of my comments and my score. But because I was keeping a score, I was consciously deciding to keep things more positive. My score got up so high that it was becoming difficult to keep multiplying by five without a calculator (social science major here). My own version of the Score Card Game worked. Even though my initial incentive was to stay positive for a high score, it lead to realize that it wasn’t that hard to make more positive than negative comments about my body. I’m trying to specifically change the way I treat and talk about my body — but you could use this tactic for many other things.
My 4th week was more of a stepping stone than I thought it would be. As more and more things are “setting in”, I’m realizing that it’s less about me getting somewhere or achieving an actual thing, and more about realistic change and balance. I’d hate to blow this out of proportion as if it’s a big deal or party worthy, but I do feel that I’ve come a long way. I understand now that my sarcasm and negativity hurts me more than it could ever hurt anyone else. I know me better than anybody else, so my comments come from a very real, hurtful place. For me, It’s easy to blow off negative or hateful comments from a stranger, or even from someone you know but you don’t really care about, but it’s really hard to remain unscathed by words coming from someone who knows you very well. I am with myself all the time, I have no choice but to either be my own encouraging, positive, best friend or to be my own worst enemy.
I can firmly say I’m not going with the latter on this one. I do love my body and all that I’m workin’ with!