How to Look to Yourself for Inner Strength

**Disclaimer #1: To some, this post may be triggering, as I talk a bit about eating disorders. I don’t go into too much detail, but to anyone who may be suffering please read with caution. If you or someone you know is struggling with the demons of an eating disorder, please seek help. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-help-support

**Disclaimer #2: I am not a doctor. I’ve mentioned this before, but just to reiterate I have no medical training whatsoever. What I do have is experience and personal methods for coping and overcoming difficulties. So, take what I write for what it is.

What makes you feel better about yourself? Making more money, getting more likes on Instagram, a promotion, someone telling you you’re beautiful. All of these things (along with many others) make us feel important, good, a little more self-assured, and that’s all great and good. But, the problems begin to creep in when these are our only modes of bringing ourselves up – outside validation. Because someday, someone or something might try to bring you down. And what do you do then? What do you do if your beauty, your success, your money, are the only ways you find self-validation?

I’ve mentioned this in previous posts. Throughout my high school years and into my twenties I wrestled with an eating disorder. While eating disorders can wreck you physically, the mental turmoil is enough to drive anyone insane. Anxiety, depression, poor self-image are all repercussions one may face when dealing with an eating disorder. And, I know this all too well. For years, my mental conversation sounded a bit like this:

“If only I was prettier…”

“If only I was skinnier…”

“Someday, I’ll look like her…”

Trust me, it’s a sad way to live. When something bad would happen, I’d directly attack myself, my looks, my well-being in order to handle the negativity that was coming at me.

Everyone has insecurities, and when someone directly attacks those insecurities, one may enter a downward spiral. Whomever or whatever it was hit the soft spot – the spot that hurts. So, how do you toughen up? How do you not let the outside world prey at your insecurities? How do you change your mental conversation from what mine used to be to what it is now – that of self-validation, of goals?

I’ll be open and honest, and say it’s not easy. It takes a lot of practice and self-evaluation. For me, it starts with creating the mental image of a stop sign:

stop_sign_page

Yes, when a negative thought pops into my head, I literally picture a stop sign and tell myself “Stop. Don’t go there.” Then, I change the conversation to something like this:

“Yes, that girl is beautiful, and I am too.”

“These sad feelings will pass.”

“I’ve felt like this before and I’ve overcome it. I can get through this.”

“We’re more than what we look like [insert your insecurity].”

It takes baby steps, but the more you practice positive self-talk, the better you’ll get at it, and the easier it’ll be to deflect negativity from the outside world.

So, how do you take steps to overcome your insecurities and find inner strength?

  1. Focus on the good

What are you good at and what do you enjoy doing? Focus on your talents. Hone in on them and use them as a source of strength. For example, I love writing and running. I’m not the best at either, but for me those are sources of good so that when a negative thought comes into my head I may say, “Yes, that person is good at that, and I’m good at this.” That way, you appreciate what he or she is good at while still recognizing your strengths and not comparing yourself to him or her. We’ve all heard that comparison is the thief of joy. Never compare yourself, your life, your journey to another. And, if someone compares you to another, let it go in one ear and out the other. They have their own issues they’re dealing with.

2. Set goals

Attainable goals to focus your energy on, and feeling the gratification of accomplishing those goals can bring up your self-esteem and morale. Whatever the goal may be, commit to it and accomplish it.

3. Motivate yourself

Look to yourself for motivation. Find that place within yourself. Seeking motivation from others can be daunting and a waste of your energy. And watch this 45-second video from Tania Katan about coaching yourself. She’s a rockstar.

4. Step outside yourself

The greatest and best way to overcome your own insecurities and to see the good in your life is to give back. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Theresa

You’re important. You matter. Treat yourself with kindness, and do all of us a favor: speak to yourself kindly, because from a happy, sound, and secure heart will goodness flow.

 

-Maria

Have an idea for a blog post? Want to chat about something I’ve written? Email me at runningmyselftogether@gmail.com

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I overcame an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression with the help of this wonderfully amazing thing called running. And that's why I'm here - to share my story and to help those who are going through what I've already gone through. On this blog you'll find running tips, mental health tips, and lots of joy. Join me as we piece life together one run at a time.

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