The Lenten season is upon us. Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter and is a period traditionally observed in inward reflection, and for some, also prayers and fasting. It is a time to "give up" a vice, bad habit or something difficult to make one reflect on the meaning of sacrifice.
I grew up in the church and am still a very spiritual person, although I don't attend church regularly anymore. For me, observing Lent is still very much a part of my spirituality, rather than just a religious invention. It is a good time to take stock of my life and reflect on what needs to be changed.
This year for Lent my oldest child and I decided to give up sweets. This is pretty difficult for me since I have a huge sweet tooth and am constantly surrounded by cookies and desserts at work, but it is in keeping with my New Years resolution to set a better example of health for my kids. So for 40 days, sugar gets the boot around our house.
Then I got to thinking about my journal entry from earlier this week called "Snipping Threads", in which I said that my own negative thinking was holding me back from future happiness. So in addition to giving up sweets, for the rest of Lent I'm also giving up negative self-talk. This is way harder than giving up sweets, but by doing so, I hope to improve my self-confidence and self-esteem.
My inner negative voice is very hard to ignore. When I see myself naked in the mirror, that voice points out my flaws with a magnifying glass. "Ugh! Look at that fat belly! You need to lose weight", is what I hear in my head. It needs to be replaced with a voice that says, "Remember how beautiful your belly was when you were pregnant? It was a miracle watching your babies turn flips and stretch their tiny limbs in your belly. So what if it's not toned anymore? You were lucky enough to bring not one, but two lives into the world."
For the next 37 days my aim is to replace negative self-talk with a positive memory, a positive action (i.e., hit the gym or eat a salad), a statement of what I'm thankful for, or refocus onto something I like about myself.