On purposefully changing your perspective.
Another week of being happily Naked Faced. I’ve settled into the routine with my new habits and, truthfully, the past week was so busy with work that I barely noticed my nakedness at all. Instead of being a ‘Project,’ this is just becoming my normal life – and that makes me very happy because it was always my hope that the Project would normalize as part of my everyday experience. No longer do I look into the mirror and think, "Gah! I look strange without mascara on!" or "Dude, those are some hairy legs!" Now… it’s just my eyes. And my legs. It’s just… me.
And you know what? It always was.
Earlier this week, I wrote about a Girls on the Run lesson about Negative Nelly. As part of the lesson, we explain negative self-talk and positive self-talk and how you can begin to transform your negative thoughts into more positive and empowering thoughts. The girls get index cards and write negative thoughts that they’d have about themselves. After discussing some of the cards, we play a warm-up game that involves sprints towards the Negative Nelly box – we feed her our negative cards.
I was reading through the girls’ negative thoughts and really wanted to share a few with you all. What struck me most is that I, as an adult, occasionally find myself thinking similar things. And I overhear my friends or family members engaging in similar negative self-talk constantly. One thing the Operation Beautiful website has taught me is that even though we are all so different and go through different things in our lives, we can all relate to each other’s struggle. We’re all struggling to figure out who the heck we are and how we fit into the big, crazy world.
These thoughts may be scribbled in elementary school penmanship, but that doesn’t mean they are unique to the kid experience.
Thankfully, I also read through their positive thought cards (which they used as part of another exercise) and there were many "I am awesome!" or "I am strong and powerful!" thoughts.
This Project has never been about demonizing makeup or shaving. As I’ve said many times before, I don’t think those particular things are bad and will return to many habits after the Project concludes. Instead, the Project has always been about questioning my personal intention behind beauty habits. But a surprising effect of The Naked Face Project, as I wrote last week, has been that it has made me less negative towards myself in all areas, not just my appearance.
I was thinking about my negative self-talk during this Project, and I realized the reason behind my reduction in negative self-talk was simple… Change one thing, and very often, you change everything. It’s so easy to get stuck in a life rut. Same behaviors, same relationships, same interactions. And life ruts come with thought pattern ruts. My own personal negative self-talk was very similar on a day-to-day basis. I ruminated on the same issues over and over again. (Side note: my current negative thought patterns have nothing to do appearance, which I find interesting because The Naked Face Project is about forgoing exterior beauty habits.) I couldn’t seem to get past my negative thoughts – and I think it was because everything else was exactly the same. Engaging in the Project shook up a small portion of my world; it forced me to re-examine who I am and why I do things. And over the last six weeks or so, I’ve finally begun to alter the thought pattern ruts that I was stuck in for so long. In so many ways, I finally found what I was looking for.
All that being said… please just remember that you are not alone. We all – whether 8 years old or 80 – can relate on one level or another. And you may find relief from Negative Nelly in the most unlikely of places. Begin that journal. Get that tattoo. Tell your nosy mother-in-law to shove it. Dance naked around your living room every single night. Rescue a puppy from the shelter. Pursue your dream job. Finally make an appointment with that therapist. Sign up for a 5K. Make a new friend. Discover a new hobby. Forgo makeup for 60 days.
Whatever path you take, whatever change you embrace… I hope you find what you’re looking for, too.