To tell you how I am working on breaking out of my self-sabotage patterns, I have to tell you part of the story of how I have just begun taking a yoga class again after 8 years pause…
I LOVE yoga. But I haven’t done it in so long because I am overweight and feel like a freak in those yoga classes where the instructor and all the people there are small, skinny, gracious beings with a flexibility that could put rubber bands to shame.
Starting again was a really big deal for me – and I had to look really hard at some of my own thoughts and actions before I could do it. However, when I had been to my first class I smiled and laughed for a whole day, so filled with joy and pride.
More Viking than modern-day woman…
So – I am overweight. There really isn’t much to say to that.
I could give you the long story of why and how that came to be, about all the struggles I have been through and in that way explain to you the cause of my present body – but I am not going to. Those of you who follow my blog will know most of that story anyways….
Bottom line is that I weigh more than what is ultimately healthy for me… I am also tall. I have broad shoulders and big feet.
Most of the time I feel great in my body and I am finally starting to love it like it deserves…
But some days, in certain situations, I feel like a freak.
I am not a small, feminine being with gracious movement and correct hair… If anything I am the result of the old Scandinavian Viking genes….
But back to yoga and my self-sabotage.
I decided to start again! This time I was and am determined to stay and enjoy yoga – for me.
My yoga class is every Saturday morning.
First time around, I noticed that a lot of bad thoughts and old patterns of self-sabotage started – some even began Friday night.
- I didn’t want to set the alarm clock…
- I didn’t go find my yoga mat in the basement until Saturday morning right before I had to leave…
- I felt that I was too fat…
- I felt that I was in too bad shape…
- I tried to convince myself that I would never find the place, because I had never visited the building before…
- I tried to convince myself that I wouldn’t be able to understand the instructions because I was used to them in English… (Yeah – My self-sabotage was getting desperate here…)
- I felt certain that I would not be able to do any of the poses correct…
- I suddenly felt like a freak and didn’t want to be in a room full of skinny, beautiful women…
- I felt certain that they would all laugh at me…
It went on and on!
… and breaking out of it…
I have learned a lot lately about myself and my mind.
I have been following a Danish detox program that teaches detox not only for the body, but for the mind and “soul” as well.
I am now (most of the time) capable of recognizing and distinguishing between when I genuinely don’t want to do something because it is ultimately bad for the true me and when my brain/mind is playing me a trick in an attempt to keep me in my old and known routines (safety).
So I used what I have learned.
Every time my mind presented me with one of the thoughts mentioned above I told myself the following: “Thank you for telling me that – but I am in the middle of loving my body and doing something great for it”
While my mind was telling me all these negative things I got ready, packed my bag, and left with a big grin on my face.
I even remembered that I have fallen into the trap of wearing loose-fitting clothes to yoga before (as I always do to hide those lumps and bumps that is my body) and how I hated it!
It always falls down when you are doing poses like downward facing dog – which, let’s face it, you do A LOT in yoga!
So I put on a top that was soft and long but fitted closely to my body and put a sweater on top to take the chill while I was walking. I promised myself that I would take the sweater off first thing when I got there – and I did!
I smiled at myself.
Told my body how wonderful it was and how much I love it in a tone I might have used when talking to a hurt child.
Again and again I changed my negative thoughts to positive thoughts.
Goodbye self-sabotage – forever?
“Thank you for telling me that – but I am …(insert what ever you are doing)…” has become my go-to sentence whenever my old habits and thought patterns tries to keep me from doing something really good for myself.
I now realize that all these negative thoughts stem from an old survival function of the brain – making sure not to become an outcast because this used to equal death in a time when everything was ultimately about survival.
Our society might have changed and we might think ourselves above the cave man, but in truth our brains have not really evolved with our society and lifestyle. And so – every time we try to break with a habit and establish something new (eating better, saying no to social events that we really do not want to be part of, starting yoga…) the brain understands it as a threat. It is interpreted as something that will mean expulsion from “the group” and therefore death, which leads the brain to start fighting for survival by keeping us in old habits – in safety.
When I understood this, it changed everything for me.
Instead of getting mad at myself for not being able to just go through with changes, I now understand that I need to make my body feel safe. So I talk/think nicely of it and to it. I reassure it that everything is going to be okay.
Slowly I am teaching myself new and better habits and thought patterns. I am gaining the trust of myself back and showing my mind and body that I am in fact taking charge now and taking good care of it. I am finally really listening and taking responsibility – I am present.
Hopefully with time I will get better at catching myself in these self-sabotage patterns, catching them early on and doing something about them.
Oh and BTW…
I ended up having the best time at yoga.
Did I do all the poses correct? NO!
Did they laugh at me? NO – but I sure as hell did…
Did the instructor ask me if I was okay (as the only one out of all the people in class) – You bet and I told her that I was having so much fun, which totally made her smile!
I had the best full-body workout that I have ever had. This time I am not stopping. Yoga is too much fun!
How are you dealing with breaking old habits and thought patterns? Do you hear yourself talking trash to yourself in ways you would never speak to another person?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter – getting an essential take on life is easier when sharing knowledge with others, I find. So feel free to comment down below. <3
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