I was going to make this part of my last status update, but instead I decided to give it its own entry. The lesson that’s involved is important enough that it should stand alone.
This came to me via yet another friend on Facebook—isn’t social media great?—and is wisdom that I, too, find difficult to follow very often. I am a scheduler—I like to plan things, and I like it when the things I’ve planned happen the way I plan them. While I do not have any children, I think I will begin keeping a look out for that certain expression in my husband’s eyes…and it would not hurt for me to learn how to be gentler with myself.
In her recent blog post, “The Bully Too Close to Home“, Rachel Macy Stafford writes,
I desperately wanted things to be different too. It was time to stop being so hard on my child; it was time to stop being so hard on myself. I prayed I could stand up to the inner bully. I knew I needed an easy first step. I decided to use one simple word: STOP.
Within the hour, I had a chance to try it. The first critical thought that popped into my head arose as I was preparing to leave the house. I looked at my reflection and thought, “You look fat. You can’t go out looking like that.”
“Stop!” I assertively thought to myself, shutting down any further criticisms. Then I quickly turned away from the mirror and recited these words: “Only love today. Only love today.”
If you haven’t yet, go read the full post. It’s some pretty moving stuff.
The reason I wanted to discuss this piece is because I know.
I know that inner critic who follows you everywhere, degrading you and robbing you of your personhood, turning you into some kind of monster. Even seventy pounds later, I still have one of my own—though it is much quieter now, and I have that number I can use as a shield. Even so, I know.
Maybe Stafford’s method won’t work for you…but then again, it just might. It’s worth trying. As I have said, you have to find a way to love yourself. No one else can give you a reason—or the ability—to love yourself, and the world is a much happier place when you feel that love. So maybe try getting your inner critic to shut up for a minute—and be warned, if you don’t already know, it will roar louder the more you try to ignore it, but know this now, you are stronger than it is—try getting your inner critic to shut up for a minute, and see if that works. See if you can still hear the sweet melody that is you behind the diatribe of lies your inner critic tells you. If you can hear it, you can make it get louder.
Either way, at least ask yourself this: What kind of wonderful person might you discover you are if you allow yourself to love yourself?