Think of the last time you tried something new, or maybe tried to get back into something you used to love. Maybe that something is going to the gym or cooking a meal for your friends, or maybe speaking in front of a crowd. Whatever that something is for you, think back to what your inner voice was telling you in the moment. Was it screaming at you that this is a stupid idea? Was it kind and supportive? What was your volume set to?
Long ago I was a cheerleader and tumbling was something I did often. Recently I was asked to throw a standing tuck for a video and the negative voice in my head cranked up it’s volume. “You’re going to break your neck!” “There is no way you can do this.” The positive voice in my head was muted and the negative voice was speaking at full blast. Having a loud negative voice is not uncommon, but what is uncommon is knowing how to turn the volume down. In my situation, as I was standing on the mat trying to get myself to flip over backwards, I was surrounded by the voices of my biggest supporters, my friends. Their words of encouragement and honest trust in me and their ability to see the strength in me that I wasn’t able to see in the moment are what pushed me to try (and successfully land!) a standing tuck after not doing one for seven years.
So, how do we turn down the volume?
My biggest advice in turning down the volume of your negative inner voice is to surround yourself with supportive people. This can be family, friends, co-workers, anyone who makes you feel strong. These people should enhance your strengths, see your worth, believe in you and make you believe in yourself. When you find these people hold them tight! You know you’ve found the right group when the volume levels in your head change. You’ll notice the negative voice getting quieter and the positive voice getting louder. It may be slow, one click at a time, but give it time and you will see the difference. The voice in our head can be powerful, but we don’t have to try to control the volume on our own, that’s what friends are for. We all need support and the more you find supporters for yourself the more you can be a supporter for someone else.
Keeping the volume down on the negative voice in your head can be difficult in regards to fitness. Maybe you walk into the gym, see the WOD on the board and the negative voice gets loud immediately, ‘you can’t do this workout’. Or maybe you’re working on a skill that isn’t your favorite, ‘you’ll never finish this run’ ‘you’ll never be able to get this bar off the ground.’ In the gym we can turn down the volume on our negative voice by connecting with the community. Find a coach who has a style you can connect with. Get yourself a training partner who helps you to develop your strengths and improve your weak spots. Connect with the other members in your class, find a member who inspires you and get to know them better. Surround yourself with people who cheer you on in your fitness journey and day by day your positive inner voice will drown out your negativity.
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Strong body and Strong Mind