"Don't round up to the [insert your name here]."
Here's what happened to me the other day: My husband was asking if all our plank work was hurting my weak wrists. I playful punched his arm and said, "you calling me a weakling?"
"Don't round up to the Jenn," he chastised tenderly, "I was only talking about your tiny wrists."
I stopped and exhaled. What the heck had just happened? I had just taken a statement about one body part, regardless of whether that statement is true or not (in my case, totally true: my wrists are teeny), and regardless of how the criticism was given (in this case, lovingly), and I ROUNDED UP. I took one small statement and made it about the whole of me. I changed the context, the meaning, the subject... basically everything about his statement. And while I can't think of a specific instance, I have a sneaking suspicion I have done this before. I have a sneaking suspicion most of us have.
Have you? Have you taken a statement about a small thing and turned it in your mind into a statement about a bigger thing? Have you taken a piece of criticism about one aspect of your performance and rounded it up to the whole of your performance? Have you taken a friendly joke or chiding about one part of you and magnified it to the whole of you? You have?
Well... don't do that! :)
Seriously though, this is no good. When we ROUND UP, we are more likely to feel:
We are already great at focusing on the negative and downplaying the positive when it comes to ourselves. We are aware of the Herculean effort it can be to list positive traits about ourselves that we enjoy and admire. Let's not then add fuel to that fire by twisting statements into something larger than they deserve to be. It creates more negative pressure on a system that is already struggling to reach a healthy balance. In short, it's not a nice thing to do to yourself.
The good thing is that it is entirely in our power to block or adjust these thoughts. Remember, we created this problem in the first place. We ROUNDED UP, so we can ROUND RIGHT BACK DOWN AGAIN. The next time you are feeling an inkling of this negativity, ask yourself, "did I just ROUND UP?" If the answer is yes, give yourself an inward smile, and say "see what I did there, I rounded up! Silly me. Let me round back down and listen to that statement again the way it was intended. Let me take a realistic view of myself and focus on the one aspect or part that is at the focus, instead of making a mountain out of a molehill.
At the end of the day, that molehill may be something you want to change about yourself, if possible, so you want it to stay the nice, manageable molehill size. When it becomes a mountain, it's suddenly too large and overwhelming to change or overcome. In my case, I can't change my teeny wrists, but I can accept them and build my strength around them. If I round up to all of me, I will see my body as weak. If I believe my body is weak, I will start to believe I have no strength and can't achieve goals that require strength. Eventually I will have myself so convinced that I won't try. And think of all the missed opportunity if we never try. We can miss who we were supposed to be. All from rounding up.
And that would be such a shame. Reaching your place of zen requires you to manage your negative thinking. Practice cognitive mindfulness: notice when you round up, change the message to yourself, and correct the negative thinking. This is something you can do.
It is all you need.
Move, Nourish, Explore