“You’re so fat.” Julie is scolding someone close to her. She does it regularly.
Paula has a different message: “You spineless jellyfish. It’s a shame you are wasting your life”
“How could you be so dumb? No wonder your life is such a mess.” Kathy is delivering her blows with the accuracy of a champion prizefighter.
All three of these women are bright and educated. Each of them has many close, loving relationships, and excellent social skills. Each of these women knows that these words are cruel and destructive.
So who do you suppose they’re talking to like that? Their kids? Their spouses? Their friends? Of course not! They would never be so heartless and cruel.If you guessed that these are their inner conversations, you are correct. These women, whose names have been changed, berate and scold themselves many times each day. When they came for coaching, each complained of the same thing: they’re stuck in their lives, and they can’t seem to find the energy or the direction to move forward. They’re exhausted.
It’s no wonder they’re exhausted and stuck. They’re at war all day long, a hopeless, endless war inside themselves, fueled by their own destructive words. And, they won’t get unstuck, and won’t have more energy until they make peace inside themselves.
It’s a common practice. We relentlessly tell ourselves we’re fat, stupid, ugly. Many of us have done this for so long, we don’t even realize we do it. The activity becomes a stubborn habit. Without fail, this inner tape recorder of negativity wears us down, spoils our opportunities for joy and happiness, and sabotages our efforts to change and grow.What can you do to stop this cruel habit?
Here are a few suggestions:
–Consciously develop a new habit: talk to yourself lovingly. Like this, for example: “Come on, Beautiful, let’s put on our shoes and go for a walk. It’s a lovely day out there, let’s go enjoy it.” Wouldn’t you rather spend time with her, than with the person who tells you, “Get up you lazy slug, you haven’t exercised it two weeks.”
–Frame a picture of yourself as a child, and put it where you can see it. Look at the person in that picture with kind, soft eyes, and imagine how you want her to be treated. Then do it.
–Dispute your destructive words. Find several instances of how your destructive thought is not true. If you’re scolding yourself for being lazy, remind yourself that you worked eight hours today, that you cooked breakfast and dinner, and that you did two loads of laundry. As you develop this skill, you learn to become the observer of your brain as it conjures up different thoughts. Your misery happens when you believe the stressful ones.
–Be compassionate with yourself if you fall off the wagon. Remember the healing path can have many twists and turns. Be sure you don’t beat yourself up for beating yourself up.
Now, go on outside and play, Gorgeous. The sun is shining.