It’s early morning and I’m only half dressed. Leaving the bedroom, I go into our tiny bathroom and when I get up from the toilet I catch my reflection in the mirror in the full length mirror on the back of the door. Immediately she starts.

“I have gotten so fat. Ew, I have back rolls. I look gross in these shorts. I’m so ugly.”

It’s my inner mean girl and she’s always miserable. Constantly criticizing, cutting me down, and making sure I know what an unattractive, stupid loser I am. If I let her, that bitch would be in charge of my mental chatter all day.

How many of us decide to start exercising more or eating better with this kind of negative, downright hateful self talk? When the impetus to take better care of oneself starts from a place of self hate however, then it is more focused on a result, on a destination, rather than embracing the journey.

That means that you’ll keep on berating yourself, criticizing your looks, and judging your “success” by the number on the scale or the size of your jeans. You can’t love yourself until you reach your goal (which is often arbitrary or unrealistic).

What if our motivation to get fitter and healthier was sparked by self-nurturing thoughts?

“I want to be able to keep up and play with my kids.”

“I know wheat causes me pain and inflammation and I need to listen to my body if I want to feel better.”

“I want to still be able to garden, go camping and babysit my Grand-kids when I’m in my 60’s and 70’s.”

Consider this: we speak to ourselves, in our mind, more than ANYONE, EVER. Is your inner voice kind? Or has your inner mean girl taken over? If so, it’s time to shut her up!

How you speak to yourself is the most important conversation that you have every day.

The ways in which we love and care for ourselves stem from our core beliefs of what we deserve. Our beliefs create our thoughts, which then inform our choices and actions, and dictate how we speak to ourselves.

Basically, the “climate of your mind” determines your health, happiness, relationship and job satisfaction, and even the amount of money you make! Does this surprise you? Or maybe tick you off? Perhaps you’re thinking, “Gee, Flora, if it was that easy to think myself thin or rich or happy, then I would have done it by now!”

Re-programming negative thought patterns take time. You must be patient and vigilant. Old limiting beliefs will keep showing up. Your best course of action is to be aware of them, drop it, and move on. It can be complicated and confusing; often we discover that we are resisting and pushing away the very things we “think” we want!

It all starts with a decision to become your biggest cheerleader instead of your worst enemy.

Through mindset practices you can learn how to uplift your thoughts, raise your energy and joy, and improve your confidence. Try starting your day with 10 minutes of meditation and gratitude practice. Write down or say aloud positive affirmations every day. Listen to inspiring podcasts instead of the news.

Try this the next time you catch yourself listening to your inner mean girl: take a deep breath, gently shake your head, and kindly say “Hey girl, why are you giving me such a hard time? I am beautiful/strong/sexy (any positive affirming adjective) and I think it’s time you back off.”

Have some fun with it. Bring levity to the negativity. But be firm – don’t let yourself be bossed around by that bitch in your head!

I believe we all need more magic and meaning in our lives. Some people find it in religion, others in nature, and others still in quantum physics. Simple techniques like journaling or creating an altar in your home for meditation and prayer can affirm your goals and increase your willpower so you don’t self-sabotage your health journey.

Performing daily self-care rituals can bring deep peace to your stressed, worried mind. You could light a candle every night while you write in your gratitude journal, or perform a simple ritual every new or full moon. Where can you bring some sacredness and magic into your life, in a way that feels good to you?

You either have a mindset for growth and health, or a closed, fixed mindset primed for dis-ease. This also corresponds to your relationship with self-care, because when you have a healthy mindset you automatically value the activities that nurture yourself and prioritize the time for it.

Most importantly, remember that loving yourself and feeling good about who you are right now will shift your attitude regarding the changes you want to make. When you come from a place of already loving yourself, the changes are more likely to last a lifetime.

~ Flora