Photo created by Erika Walton || @ownyourpath_

This is for the girls who think they’re not good enough. For the girls who think they’re not worthy.   I have been in your shoes and I have to tell you that you are. You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are capable. You are strong. And I believe in you. I mean it. I really do, but I also know from experience that I could tell you that one hundred times over, and you may never believe me. You won’t believe me until you wholeheartedly believe it yourself.

Limiting beliefs hold us back from our truest self and our greatest work. Nothing good ever comes from talking down to ourselves. We must stop with the negative thoughts that are holding us back so that we can let the positive thoughts in.

I am 31 years old and I have repeated the same negative thoughts to myself my entire life. Every time I would be in front of the mirror, I would pick myself apart from head to toe. I struggled with eating disorders and a lot of unnecessary stress over the years. And for what? It didn’t make me feel beautiful. It didn’t make me feel worthy or capable or strong. It didn’t make me feel anything but sad, pity and all things negative.

A few months ago I made the conscious decision to stop with the self doubt, the negative self talk and the self sabotage. I do not let myself entertain those thoughts anymore. 

One may ask, well how did you do that? The truth is, I just did it. I just started one day. I realized that there was no better time then the moment I was in. I just stopped letting the negative thoughts consume me. When I had one, I just reassured myself that it wasn’t true.  I said things like no, that shirt doesn’t make you look fat. You’re comfortable, you look great and that is all that matters. It felt weird at first to consciously shut down the thoughts that I once believed so strongly. It was odd and uncomfortable but so is change and without it, our thoughts and feelings won’t change. You won’t change.

In an effort to stop talking negatively to myself, I knew I had to replace the negative statements with positive ones and change my way of thinking. I started reading quotes, accepting compliments and most importantly, I started practicing positive self-talk. I started by just looking up positive affirmations on Pinterest. When I found one I liked, I saved it. I’d review them every now and again and when I felt down, I’d say them out loud. I also created my own positive affirmations cards. I wrote down the things I desperately needed to hear. I started incorporating the positive thoughts and affirmations in my morning routine and eventually this carried out throughout my day. Through this work, I re-framed my thoughts and opinions of myself to reflect all the positive qualities I once wished for.

I found my authentic self through immersing myself in self-growth practices. I talked to like minded women, I wrote in my journal (I now have THREE that I love), I listened to personal growth podcasts, and I set intentions. I put in the work to get the results I had been craving for all those years. It was amazing to me that I, myself, had the power all along. I thought confidence came from a great body, expensive clothing and great friends. I never would have believed that it came right from within me. I had the tools all along. I just needed to put in the work and through that, I learned to love myself—my truest self.

So who is that? It’s the version of Erika who 

  • says what she wants or feels without fear of disapproval
  • acts on intuition without judgement
  • trusts herself
  • is free from anxiety
  • does what feels right without overthinking or holding back
  • doesn’t judge herself
  • knows she’s beautiful
  • dreams big with no limitations
  • knows she is worthy of all the things she desires

So with that being said— I’d be lying if I told you I never had a negative thought again. The difference now is that I’m strong enough not to believe it.  I may question it for a minute but I’m quick to shut it down.  In fact, something that has helped me is when I have a thought (a particularly annoying one) that I’m questioning or overthinking, I share it with my husband. Most often, he helps me to see the crazy in the thought.

Let me give you an example. You say something to a group of friends without really thinking but afterwards you think, oh no I shouldn’t have said that, I probably sounded so dumb. You go home and you just can’t get the fact that what you said was so dumb out of your head. You let it linger. It follows you around and torments you until you stop for a moment and question if it’s even a big deal. And when you’re not sure if it is, you run the situation by a loved one, and if you’re like me about half way through the story, you’ll realize that you are indeed overreacting, and you can’t believe you wasted so much time on something so silly.

After a few times through this, you’ll stop questioning and you’ll start believing in yourself. You’ll see the humor in what you said, you’ll be comfortable in your own skin to do and say what you truly believe. 

So as you move forward on your journey, don’t be so hard on yourself. But if you can’t help it. I get it. I’ve been there. It takes work to change this mindset but remember— behind every perfect picture, there are several imperfect ones that are never shared.  So before you start wishing that you could be or look like someone else, remember that they have imperfections too. We all do. None of us are perfect but we should love ourselves anyway.

Photo created by Erika Walton || @ownyourpath_

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