Monday, November 16, 2009
I Am My Own Worst Critic
"If someone in your life talked to you the way you talk to yourself, you would have left them long ago." - Carla Gordon
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Nine...
Yup. I'm still sick. I am really sick. I've been sick since the end of August. I was diagnosed with pneumonia and almost hospitalized in early September and I have yet to fully recover. The doctor and I have been working together to get rid of this crud for quite some time now. Today when I woke up I was still deaf in my left ear and my head still hurt and I started hacking again as soon as my feet hit the floor...
As I moved about the house this morning I noticed that the dishes in the sink are growing some interesting mold patterns, the laundry in the bathroom is piling up past my waist, and the kitchen floor is littered with remnants of shredded notebook paper and no-longer-sticky stickers and dried up Play-Doh boogers left over from my kids' imagination-fueled art sessions this weekend.
Now, I would never walk into somebody's house and criticize them for neglecting their daily chores. But did I cut myself any slack this morning when I noticed the mess? Nope. I spent the better part of the morning repeatedly telling myself what a horrible wife and mother I am because my house is dirty. From the very moment I woke up, I engaged in negative self-talk.
I'm the kind of person who'll do anything and everything I can do to let others know they are worthy of love. I am very careful and conscious of the way I speak to others, but I don't usually pay much attention to the things I say to myself. Actually, I spend an enormous amount of time emotionally abusing myself, but I'd never really thought about that until I was faced with today's task - "Pay attention to everything you say and think all day long."
While reflecting on my thoughts today I have to ask myself, if I had a friend in this situation, would I yell at her and tell her to get off her butt and do the dishes that have been piling up in the sink for the last three days? Um... no! How much of a jerk would I be to do something like that to somebody? Would I tell my sick friend to hurry up and do the pile of laundry sitting in her bathroom floor? No! Would I tell her to go clean up the mess surrounding her kitchen table? No! I'd tell her to rest, rest, rest! I'd make her hot tea. I'd get her a blanket and cover her up and tell her to take a nap. I would never dream of criticizing a friend for taking time to heal. Why on earth would I criticize myself for it? I don't know why I treat myself this way, but the more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems.
Today, as I focus on my thoughts and the words that come out of my mouth, I'm going to make it a point to really listen to the things I'm saying, especially the things I'm saying to myself. Every time I notice the negative self-talk, I'm going to make a mental note of the fact that I'm emotionally abusing myself. Because isn't that what negative self-talk is? Aren't we just emotionally abusing ourselves when we're constantly telling ourselves how stupid or how lazy or how terrible we are?
Today I'm going to finally cut myself some slack. I'm going to refuse to deny myself that cup of hot tea simply because it means there's going to be another dirty dish in the sink... Today I'm going to tell myself to let the laundry pile up despite the fact that the only clean pair of socks I have are the non-skid footies they gave me at the hospital when I had my appendix taken out last year... and so what if my son has to wear the same pair of jeans to school twice in one week? If they look clean they are clean, right? Right! Today I'm going to let the dried up Play-Doh boogers spend a few more hours making themselves at home under my kitchen table. Today I'm going to curl up on the couch with my favorite comforter and I'm not going to feel guilty about it. Today I am not going to emotionally abuse myself. Today I'm going to be as thoughtful and loving toward myself as I am toward others. What a concept!