Negative self talk and negative self-esteem have been experienced by every human being at some point in their lives. There are many, however, that are plagued by obsessive and negative self esteem -- whether it be a dissatisfaction with a perceived physical defect or defect of character. Sometimes, this negativity can be temporary. For example, in the aftermath of a rather unpleasant event or exchange between you and another person. What can you do to fix the situation? What can you do to fix yourself? What can you do to fix everything that I hate about myself?
If this sounds familiar, grab your mat because it’s time for some serious yoga and meditation. You are in need of a healthy influx of endorphins, an all-natural “feel good” (opioid-like) neurotransmitters released by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus during exercise, yoga, meditation and controlled breathing (pranayama). When you are feeling good, maybe experiencing that signature “blissed out” feeling many yogis experience as they are walking out of the studio after a particularly effective class, you mood shifts from “shame on me” to “the sun is shining bright and everything is lovely”.
If I am having a particularly difficult work day, boyfriend problem, interpersonal relationship issue, I hit the mat and focus inward. I set my intention on freeing myself from, well, myself. And then, I begin to perform asana with intense focus, paying special attention to the breath and mind/body/breath/spirit connection. As I submit to savasana, I often experience some of these negative voices in my mind that speak to me in my own voice; the ones that tell me I am not good enough. Meditation has taught me to let these voices talk, say whatever it is they need to say, then I allow them to simply wash over me and dissipate. Otherwise, I become frustrated for simply thinking these thoughts when I am supposed to have a clear mind. Don’t fight the thoughts -- this will only lead to anger and frustration and you will lose that peace of mind you had been working so hard for.
So what is the solution in beating that seemingly endless cycle of nasty self-talk? Let your soul mind dominate your ego mind and in this reversal, you will find an urge to let it go. Let it all go. As we distance ourselves from burdensome negative self-talk, we should begin to shift towards positive thinking -- it is a powerful concept. Simply find the silver lining. Bummed about gaining some weight? Guess what, it happens and at least you don’t have cancer. Feeling freakish because your nose isn’t perfectly small and symmetrical? Embrace your uniqueness and you will find love for yourself. Yoga teaches us to love ourselves and when we love our insides, the result is absolutely love for our outsides as well. Positive self esteem? Who knew you would ever accomplish that?