September 2011 Newsletter #1: Transforming The Inner Critic

It is hard enough to hush the voices of our well-meaning friends and family members as it relates to our contest journey. I know many in our tribe are concerned about our health and well-being. In addition to that, when we are getting ready for a show we don’t go out to dinner with them, stay up late, and over all maintain a way to regimented daily program that must be “unhealthy”. But what about our own inner critic, how do we quiet it? Although there is nothing within reason we can do to “change” our friends and family there is something we can do about ourselves to create a more peaceful mental state of mind as we get ready for a show.

Transforming The Inner Critic

Let’s see if you can relate to this: It is two weeks out, I am not ready, I have cellulite, wrinkles, sagging skin, big ears, big butt, need more definition, depressed because I don’t look like Nicole Wilkins for my first show, tired, hungry, not really sure if this is worth all the effort, and I can’t seem to get that last little bit of body fat to come off.

Sound familiar? We know we are doing it, and even if someone tells us not to worry about being perfect, let’s face it, the nature of this sport is to look for flaws and then fix them. This sport in and of itself is not about health, it is about beauty and appearance. That is one reason why our well-meaning friends are concerned about us when we drag our tired bodies to work with greasy hair, because, why should we bother washing it when we are just going to go to the gym again in a few hours?

So rather than say STOP doing that. Because, I know that won’t work. I want to first say that you are not alone in this seemingly psychotic obsession with perfection. It makes me feel better when I know that I am not the only one looking at every detail of my body and micro managing the process every millisecond of the day. But how can we go from knowing what we are doing, to creating new patterns that are more beneficial to our mental health and well-being.

The competition journey is about physical achievements, weight loss, increased definition, the ability to stick to a program and to finish what we start. But the competition journey is also about feeling better about who we are on the inside. In fact that is why we started in the first place. We thought that by having a better body we would feel better about ourselves, for whatever reason.

So do you feel better about yourself right before a show? Are you creating the mental nurturing environment where you say to yourself: “Good job” or “I am proud of you” or “Way to go” or “You are on the right track”? These little pick me ups help to remind us to take care of our mind in addition to our body. To go easy on the goal of perfection and be ok with ourselves as we are.

I like to make lists of things that I can appreciate about myself. I start with easy things, and once I get going it is actually hard to stop myself from ranting on about how wonderful I am.

If you are feeling like you need a little support, try this exercise. Make a list of all of the positive things about yourself. Keep going until you get to 100. Appreciate your dedication, commitment and passion for excellence. But more importantly, make yourself consciously aware that you appreciate you.

Mentally and physically, NOW you are ready to step on stage, feeling great about who you are on the inside in addition to what you have sculpted on the outside.

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