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Have YOU told you lately that you love you?

comfort zone confidence inner critic neuroplasticity self-doubt self-love Aug 05, 2021
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Hello!

Today on the Happies Talk blog, we are feeling the LOVE. And not just any old love. A very powerful, pretty rare variety of love. I'm talking Self-Love. 

Now, if you're anything like me and many of the women I work with, you're probably pretty good at being loving and kind and compassionate to your family, friends, pets ...and even complete strangers. But when it comes to you? Let me guess - you're your own harshest critic, right? 

The camera never lies...oh, but it does!

Earlier this week, I had a timely reminder of just how tough it can be to treat ourselves with love. I was creating some exciting new content for my clients. This involved me recording activities and tips on video. Now, I absolutely love what I do. It's rewarding, fulfilling, challenging, creative and fun. AND I get to work with amazing women, like you! What's not to love?

Well, let me tell you that there's one part of the job that pushes me waaaaayyyy beyond my comfort zone. And that's any part that involves me coming face to face with a camera. 

Here's why: whenever I see myself on camera, a loud, unwelcome and familiar voice pops into my head and starts pointing out stuff like my UNRULY HAIR, WOBBLY ARMS, BLEMISH ON CHIN WHERE I HAD THAT MOLE REMOVED and those MASSIVE LINES that appear on my forehead when I'm concentrating.

Not content with criticising my physical appearance, the voice then starts to taunt me about the way I speak (SO NASAL), my POOR PRONUNCIATION and the fact that I sound LESS SMART than EVERYONE ELSE. Before landing the particularly cruel parting shot: ''Aren't you A BIT OLD to be on Instagram?''

The Voice we all know...and definitely DO NOT love

So, back to this week. I'd spent a lot of time wrapping my brain around the camera ... the lights ...the mic ...and basically my whole recording set-up. It was a challenging day and I was feeling pretty accomplished (and Happies!) that I'd learned some new skills. I recorded my first take and hit the play button to watch it back. And ...duh duh duh...that's when it appeared ... The Voice, aka the inner critic. 

"Your CHIN LOOKS ENORMOUS. That colour DOESN'T SUIT YOU. Look at your WRINKLY NECK. Your audience WON'T CARE. Why are you WASTING YOUR TIME? Get a REAL JOB!"

Now, not so long ago, this would have sent me down a rabbit hole of self-doubt. I would have ditched recording and found another way to share my content. One that didn't involve my face and a camera. 

But that's not where I'm at today. Because I've spent a lot of time getting to know The Voice. I know where it comes from (thank you very much, social conditioning). I know when it's going to pop up (when I'm tired or not doing the things I know are good for me). And I pretty much know what it's going to say (though sometimes it likes to surprise).

Most importantly, I now have a tried and tested strategy for putting The Voice back in its sad little box. And that involves hitting it hard with a big dose of Self-Love. 

My tried and tested strategy for putting The Voice back in its box

Want to learn how I used this super effective strategy to get that pesky voice to shush? Read on! 

First, I took a couple of deeper breaths to drag me out of the rabbit hole and back to the present moment. Phew. 

Next, I reminded myself of my 'why' - my reason for doing this. Which is to help people. I told myself that if my content helped just one person even the teeniest bit, it was worth any discomfort I was feeling. Then I pressed Play and hit The Voice HARD with a whole lot of love. Which went something like this:

I LOVE that my hair is big and wild, it's part of who I am. And no, I'm not too old for Instagram OR these braids. 

I LOVE my strong arms. They're the reason I can still lift my very tall 10 year-old daughter up for a cuddle and help my dog into the car

I LOVE my jawline. I inherited it from my dad ...and I LOVE my dad

I LOVE the blemish on my chin as it reminds me to wear sunscreen (OK, this one was a stretch but I got there!)

I LOVE my voice as it lets me sing along to Taylor Swift songs in the car which everyone LOVES, right? 

I LOVE the colour of my top. It reminds me of sunshine. I LOVE sunshine!

I LOVE my work and hey, what the heck is a real job anyway? 

I LOVE my age and feel grateful for every single day that I've lived on this earth (true, dat)

And so on...you get the (LOVEly) picture. It looks something like this:

 

Reframe, repeat, rewire your brain 

This 'reframing' of negative thoughts can be super powerful. True fact - if repeated, over time, reframing actually 'rewires' your brain so you are less likely to get dragged down into that rabbit hole of self-doubt. I find this practice particularly potent when I consciously bring love into the mix. 

Want to see just how powerful? Why not try it out next time you hear your inner critic pipe up? Here's what to do:

1. Take a breath. Slow it down, breathing in and our for a count of four. Quieten your mind.

2. Now listen to what The Voice is saying to you. Really listen. Often we unconsciously let our inner critic repeat the same words over and over again without even noticing, so it starts to feel like the truth when it's really not. 

3. Once you're tuned into that critical inner voice, it's time to get imaginative with your reframing statements. And try to really feel the love for yourself as you go through this process. Saying your reframed statements out loud can help. I also like to imagine the love as a feeling of warmth at my heart area. But if that's a little woo-woo for you, I'm sure you'll find your own way. 

Now, if you haven't tried this before, it can be tough at first ...and you might feel a little silly. But that's better than feeling bad about yourself or giving up on something you really want to do because some stupid little voice told you you weren't good, smart or perfect enough. Trust me, you ARE more than enough.

Over time, this practice will get easier. The Voice will get quieter. And you'll begin to let go of insecurities that might be holding you back. Now what's not to love about that? 

I'd love to hear your tips and strategies!

Now, I know you have you own version of The Voice. We all do. And I'd love to hear more about how you deal with it. Please pop over to our Facebook or Insta pages and share your strategies for seeing off that nasty inner critic. 

Thanks for reading,

Audrey 

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