DOES THIS THOUGHT MAKE ME LOOK FAT?
By Céleste Perrino-Walker
Idiot! Why did I just do that? What was I thinking?
I am so stupid! I can never do anything right!
I’m such a fat, lazy pig. No wonder everyone hates me.
Are they laughing at me? Of course they are; everyone is always laughing at me.
Have you ever had thoughts like these barge into your head like obnoxious, uninvited bullies? At first you might have ignored them, but over time maybe you found yourself believing them and then even agreeing with them. Maybe you even started calling yourself a “fat, lazy pig” or an “idiot,” matching the thoughts in your head—because when you hear something long enough, you start to believe it.
Don’t let your brain talk to you like that! Stand up to that bully. There’s a difference between what negative thoughts tell you and reality. The trick is figuring out if anything in a negative thought is worth paying attention to. If it’s not, kick it out.
Some negative thoughts have an element of truth. For example, you may have trouble squeezing into your favorite jeans someday and think, Great. I’ve gained weight. Stop that thought right there. Instead of letting that negative thought turn into a whopping bully that tries to convince you that just because you can’t fit into your jeans you have become the biggest, fattest loser on the planet, before that happens wrestle it to the ground and take a good, hard look at it. What is that negative thought telling you?
“You have gained weight.”
Big deal. People gain and lose weight all the time. You might even be having a growth spurt. If you want to lose weight, you have lots of healthy options. If you don’t, then giving that negative thought the power to make you feel bad about yourself is kind of ridiculous, isn’t it?
Negative thoughts are kind of like big bullies stomping around in the playground of your brain. They need to be thrown out. Just because you are having trouble fitting into your jeans does not mean you are fat. It only means you have gained weight. Maybe you needed to; maybe you didn’t. But no matter what your weight is, weight doesn’t make you a good or bad person. It only makes you a person who weighs something—just like everyone else.
So What You’re Really Saying Is . . .
Start listening to the thoughts that run through your mind. What is that negative thought really trying to tell you? Write the thought down. If the bully in your brain says, “You’re always late,” first ask yourself if you do tend to be late. (I guarantee you that it’s not “always,” but negative thoughts are often all-or-nothing. They include words such as “always” or “never.” Avoid thinking in these terms.) If you do often run late, decide what you can do to change that. Have you taken on too many responsibilities? Maybe you aren’t giving yourself enough time to get from one activity to another, or you aren’t allowing enough time to prepare to go to school, or work, or an appointment.
If you tend to run late because the person you rely on to get you somewhere usually runs late, speak to them and ask if you can start leaving slightly earlier. (And then be sure you’re ready to leave earlier as well.)
But if you’re only occasionally late in a spectacularly, cringe-worthy way, acknowledge that this negative thought is way out of line and is probably fueled by embarrassment. Everyone runs late now and then.
In other words, fix what you can fix and forget what you can’t.
Hold That Thought
Thoughts are important. They affect how we behave and how we feel about ourselves and others. When you find yourself taking a beating from a negative thought, come up with a positive one to take its place. Exchange thoughts such as I’m so stupid with thoughts such as I’m clever and capable. I can do anything I put my mind to. As you begin to control your thoughts, fewer and fewer negative ones will show up to push you around.
Here’s a positive thought you can ponder: You were created by a God who loves you very much and wants to help you keep a positive outlook on life. Here’s what thinks when He thinks about you: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Now how awesome is that? God really thinks and plans great things for you. Try this. Ask God to show you what He has planned for you life. You wont be disappointed. With God’s help you will be strong enough to put any bad, bullying thoughts in their place and step out into your life with the confidence of a positive attitude.
Tags: Self Image, Girl Issues, Thoughts, Christian Life
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