8 Tips for Taming Toxic Talk

 
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I have this thing with cider donuts. I love them. And, for the longest I wasn't allowed to eat them. That's what my inner critic said:

You can't have those. Those are bad.

You can't tell me what to do. Why can't I have one? Watching others to see what they are eating. Staring, studying, judging, storytelling.

Go ahead, take a bite. 

Screw you. Takes bite. Feels incredibly overwhelmed with shame. Feels dirty. Thinks - I shouldn't be eating this right now. 

See, I told you that you were WEAK. You fucking BLEW IT. You just ruined your day. Might as well eat the rest of them. Why not? Go ahead. 

Silence. Embarrassment. Shame. Looks at body in disgust. You're right. I blew it. I feel gross. Why did I do that? What's wrong with me?

Feels compelling need to start over. Again. Feels self-conscious. The pain becomes too much. Eats another donut. Feels even worse.

What's wrong with you? You are disgusting. 

Feels the overwhelming need to disappear. To go away. To turn back time and do it right. Thinks that food is bad. I am bad. I will never get lean. I will never be fast. No more food. Only water. Only an apple. Maybe some eggs.

And on, and on, and on it went...  

If I am at war with myself, who wins? Who loses?

The toxic talk that lived inside my head for too many years, lead me down the path of an 'eating disorder' or whatever you want to call my toxic relationship with food and my body. I didn't fit in any one box. So, naturally I told myself {read: the inner critic told me} there was nothing wrong with me. I didn't need help. Asking for help was just another sign of weakness, it said.

I used food as a weapon - to control my life when everything around me was spiraling out of control. 

Follow what he says, and I win. I'm winning. I'm a success. 

Fall short of perfect, might as well pack it in. I failed. I was a failure. 

I used food to inflict more pain on myself. I used food to numb. I tried to disappear. 

I needed help.

And I am so grateful I got it.

Together, we disentangled and disempowered this voice.

And it saved my life.

We named that voice: ED {eating disorder}

ED is an asshole posing as a helper. He's really manipulative, opportunistic and dangerous. 

It took two years of DIGGING. Resisting. Reframing. Challenging. Redefining. 

Surrendering.

It took a willingness to dive into the toxic undercurrents - to do the hard work. 

Healing meant disempowering ED - moving him out of the driver's seat and into the back - where he now sits with Perfection, Never-Enoughness, Depression, PTSD,  Anxiety and Panic. I joke that I've got a 15 passenger van, but the truth is - we all have a wall of shit. Of inner demons - our own personal EDs - and other limiting beliefs that hold us back from fully stepping into our light. From owning our true power. And we all smash into that wall every once and a while. 

I reserve seats for them, but they don't get to drive. And if they try, I now have the skill set to SEE IT and take my power back.

I have developed skills to move toward the things that get me back in the driver's seat of my own life. 

You can too.

Our power lies in our ability to see what's happening, ride the wave + RISE.  

I can't prevent ED from showing up. I can control how I respond when he shows up. 

Honing my resiliency skills around ED has set me free. Cider donuts today with my girls at the apple orchard - and guess what? ED was nowhere to be found.

True freedom.

It's not about the cider donuts. It's never been about the cider donuts.

~

The truth is food is not good nor bad ~ it's not that simple.

It runs deeper than that. 

Here's what I know about us:

Our worthiness is not hinged on what we put (or don't) put into our bodies.

We are worthy. Without conditions.

End of story. 

Cue ED. He'll come after this one and want you to believe that you are not worthy until you look this way / achieve this thing / arrive at this place... the place of perfection.

Perfect is an illusion. What is it that you are really after? Striving for perfect keeps us stuck on this treadmill to nowhere. It's addictive, toxic and dangerous. And, there's no such thing as arriving.

If you struggle with the inner critic, you KNOW how liberating it is to be set free from the constant noise inside your mind.

 It's magical. It allows you to be fully present. To feel ALIVE. 

~

Here are 8 tips for taming the toxic talk:

1. Link arms with a professional. EDs are master manipulators and opportunistic assholes. This work is not meant to be done alone. If thoughts about food - what you can / can't eat - what you should / shouldn't eat consume you, get help. My eating disorder didn't fit into a tidy box. Do not let that stop you from getting the help you need. 

ED will tell you that you don't need help. That you are too busy. Can't afford it. Not worthy of it. Or that you are fine.

2. Talk about it. Share with someone who is capable and worthy of hearing it - your therapist, coach or a close friend who has been there AND has transformed to a healthier place. Get it out of your mind. I have a short list of people I share these kinds of things with - including hubs. I will say to him, "Listen to what {insert character from the back of my 15 passenger van} is trying to tell me... " 

Sharing is powerful because these master manipulators are one with shame. And shame cannot survive sharing.

SO, share. And, be patient as you try to figure out who you can share with - which is why it's really powerful to get professional help! 

3. Create a BS log book. AND edit the shit out of those stories by grounding yourself in reality. Split the paper into two sides: on the left is the Bull Shit Stories I Tell Myself, on the right Reality Check. If this is too hard for you {aka everything on the left is 'justified'}, it's another sign that you could use someone in your corner to help you work through it! 

4. Invest in your personal growth. Read books. Watch clips. Hire coaches. Find a good therapist. If we want to set ourselves free, we must be willing to dive underneath the toxic undercurrents that are pulling us away from our dreams. And our life.

5. Find a tribe that lifts you higher. We are hardwired for connection. We are social creatures. And there is SO much strength in knowing we are not alone. Are there relationships in your life that no longer serve you? It might be time to part ways - especially given that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. This is your life. You get to choose who makes it into your circle. 

6. Embrace patience. Ha. Not easy, I know. But, this is a necessary step in setting yourself free. This process takes time. And, that's OK. There is no such thing as doing it perfectly. 

And, when you start to get momentum - be ready for ED et al. to try to get really, really loud. My coach calls them gremlins. When we get ready to take steps forward toward freedom, they show up - and try their best to 'protect' us and keep us small. 

7. Understand that acceptance and wanting to improve are NOT mutually exclusive. You can love YOU, appreciate your body exactly as it is right now, AND want to get healthier, stronger, more fit. Both can be true. Find tools that EMPOWER you - and a community that INSPIRES you. It's worth it.

8. Know that you can do hard things.

Because, you can.

I believe in you. 

~

We can't always control what life throws at us, we can control how we show up for ourselves.

CHOOSE YOU.

Every month, I open the doors to my wellness coaching program. It opens Monday. If you are ready to link arms, grab my hand. It's out. Waiting for you. ✨👊💫


Tools that EMPOWER. A community that INSPIRES.

To learn more: https://www.samanthalivingstone.com/wellness

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Samantha Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, transformational speaker, high performance coach and mama of four.  She inspires and empowers others to cultivate the courage, resilience and perseverance needed to let go of perfection and other limiting beliefs so they can live their dream. Samantha candidly shares her battles with her inner critic, depression, perfection, PTSD and parenting as a working mother because she believes in the transformative power of story – and the strength that comes from knowing we are not alone. She is on a mission to pay forward all that she’s learned to help others find joy and live free.  

A mama of heart warrior and mama of twins, Samantha and her husband, Rob, live in the Berkshires with their four girls.  

You can learn more about Samantha at www.samanthalivingstone.com