How to Motivate Yourself: Why Shame Doesn’t Work. Natural Health Care tips with Jeni Howland

I often think about how to motivate clients to make better decisions. As I work with clients who want to feel better in some way or other, there are often obstacles around the changes that they may need to make, be it related to movement, diet, self-talk, addictions, self-care etc.

There are some methods which rely on shaming: such as dieting mantras that suggest that you are “less than” because of your size, or “stop smoking” campaigns that suggest that the best reason to stop is so that you don’t smell so bad. Some methods would find what motivates you to change by finding what triggers your pride and then work on that to motivate you to make different decisions. These things may work to an extent. However, if you try to change yourself based on shame or fear, then you will ultimately end up simply redirecting the focus of negative intention elsewhere. This is why I work with my clients to change habits, coming from a place of love. This is harder in the short run but is much more profound in its results.

But what does this mean? How does one use gentle love as a force to change, rather than the more powerful noise of fear?

First, we must identify what triggers negative feelings: social anxiety, fear of failure, being ridiculed for something as a child etc. Next, we might look at where this comes from, but it isn’t always essential to pick this apart in too much detail. If there is need for delving into the pieces of a challenging past then a talking therapist can be an essential element to the journey of choosing to make changes. We then must look at how we can choose love, self-care, and compassion. We can start small here – perhaps noticing someone or something else for which these feelings can be felt. And then use these feelings to start to form new, positive habits. This is different for everyone and for some this is a challenging journey with many twists and turns.

I firmly believe, and will always promote:

We cannot shame ourselves into change; we can only love ourselves into evolution

If you have a habit that you’d like to change, perhaps try this very simple trick:
Think of someone you love, and chose to make that change for them, or with them in mind.
For example, you might want to be happier, so you might choose to simply smile more often. So, when you look in a mirror, you think of that beloved person, and you smile at them. Every time you pass someone in the street or in a shop, you see something of that beloved person in the people you see, and you smile at them. Before you know it, you will develop a habit of smiling, from an honest place of love. And you will also have developed your ability to connect with a feeling of love which can only lead to better self-care.
For comparison, if you chose to smile from a place of shame, rather than a place of love, you will find a very different long-term impact. For example, you might decide to smile in order to hide how depressed you feel. This means that you will smile at people just as often as in the previous example, however, every time you smile, rather than evoking love, you are reminding yourself that you must do this because of a feeling of depression – you are exercising the neural pathways between your conscious habits and your feelings of depression and your feelings of shame around your depression.

Which do you think is more useful? To exercise and build your ability for love or your ability for shame?

As a Kinesiologist I can help to deduce what you need to do to balance your own health, mentally, emotionally, nutritionally, bio-chemically, physically, and energetically.

Jeni Howland practices Kinesiology, Somatic Yoga Therapy, Reiki and Aroma Touch – a gentle massage technique. Jeni also teaches Kinesiology Foundation courses – the next one will commence in September at the Cheltenham Holistic Health Centre. contact Jeni directly for more information or to book an appointment:

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