I was innocently watching reruns of The West Wing after taking a nap (those swim practices are early and today is a late-night work day) when the commercial came on.
"I hated my body," said the pretty blond woman. "I hated my stomach. I hated my thighs."
She went on to describe how she took some supplement that helped her lose that "embarrassing fat" and helped her feel great about her body.
I was still hung up on the word "hate."
It is such a powerful word. So full of, well, obviously, negativity.
And it seems so useless. Particularly when used about ourselves.
Heaven knows I've used it countless times on myself. There are plenty of things I think I "hate" about my body. Plenty of personality traits and habits and ways of thinking that I "hate" about myself. Usually, my monologue about how much I hate something about myself ends up in creating a vicious circle of self-loathing, self-flagellation and ultimately tears.
Clearly, this is not the most productive way to spend my time and energy.
I'm starting to find that turning the passion and energy of "hate" into "love" isn't as difficult I thought. Both are strong, active emotions and aren't exactly the polar opposite. A friend of mind told me recently that he read the opposite of love is actually indifference. Upon reflection, that make sense. Love and hate both imply an intense level of feeling. The opposite of that would be lack of caring -- or indifference.
While the idea of turning hate into love hasn't been the focus of my mental training, so to speak, but I have worked on being more positive in my thoughts. My friend Sue told me about "harmonious hill running" which in part has the runner think about how much they love the hill, how they are part of the hill, instead of trying to fight their way up the hill.
In swimming, the more you try to "fight" the water, the easier it is to sink. Think about playing in the water and soon you feel like a dolphin.
Oh, it's so much easier for me to go to the negative, to use my emotion and passion for hate rather than turning it into positive energy and love.
But the next time I start to feel myself going into a negative inner monologue, I hope I remember the thin, blond woman from the commercial who hated everything about her body and found salvation in a magic pill and wonder what part of life she missed out on because she was too focused on the negative.