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Celebrate our Strengths

Thursday, June 20, 2019

 

 Who do you listen to?

Mark twain said, “The unexamined life isn’t worth living.”

I’ve been conducting iKiFit Team Building Workshops for a while now and am surprised at the number of people who don’t realise that we all experience negative thoughts. Recently, a mature, professional and competent lady who is retraining as a teacher was overwhelmed when she learned she wasn’t alone in having a ‘negative voice’ in her head.

In the workshops we discuss how we learn, leading to the understanding that we're designed to learn by recognising where we’re ‘failing’ and correcting the mistakes. As one of the most important elements of daily life is ‘fitting in’ to our group and community, we are designed to mentally compare ourselves to our peers, our neighbours, our family and of course, the people we see in the media.

Our subconscious is constantly calculating how we measure up - and endeavoring to adjust accordingly. The “problem” with this is that we all have that built in “nag” which is giving us feedback on how well we’re doing. Or not. We can be our own worst critic. While this is an important survival feature, it can become overwhelming. And then there are those people in our lives who say they're ‘just trying to help’ by pointing out our many failings.

To make matters even more difficult, we're bombarded with images of “perfect” people; - celebrities, sports stars, models. It’s easy to overlook that they have dieticians, physios, plastic surgeons, personal trainers, P.R managers and stylists to help them appear their best. Then their images are photo-shopped and filtered to hide normal human “flaws” like cellulite and wrinkles.

It can be hard to maintain a positive self- image in the face of that kind of competition. If we’re not alert, we start beating up on ourselves. Just realising that this is the way we’re built is an important first step in managing it. Knowledge is power. From there it’s a matter of developing ways of keeping our thoughts in balance.

The mature lady I mentioned had taught herself to imagine "grabbing hold of the negative thought and twisting it 180 degrees into a positive". Some people use a 'mindfullness' method of 'choosing rooms'. When they feel themselves being drawn into a negative place, they visualise themselves walking out of a dark room and into a place of light and laughter.

In the iKiFit Safe Respectful Learner workshops we come up with, - or get someone to help us create, - a Power Name. While this can be challenging, as we live in a culture where peer pressure can be strongly against seeming to be “up yourself”, particularly for teenagers, it can change a bad day into a great day. Or turn around a life.

So, if you find yourself negatively affected by that voice in your head, remember: it’s not just you. We’re all in the same boat. We all feel bad about ourselves sometimes. Examining our life is worthwhile but remember to be fair to yourself. None of us are perfect but we all have our good points and it's healthy to remind ourselves what they are.

Take a moment to listen to the ‘good guy’ on your shoulder.

Give yourself a smiley face today.