“You ate the whole quart of ice cream AND the all the cookies too AND you haven’t worked out in, like, three days?!?”
“Dude, I can, like, already see the fat accumulating on your thighs – and don’t even get me started on your stomach.”
“Seriously, I’m pretty sure all of your fat just ate your abs.”
“You’re freaking hopeless. You might as well just give up now. You and I both know that you’re never going to get this right.”
“You’re way too weak, man. You just suck.”
All right, so if you had a friend, significant other or family member that said those things to you, chances are you’d tell them to take a LONG walk off of a short cliff. Seriously, that whole diatribe was just mean and nasty. NO ONE deserves to be talked to like that. I’m also fairly confident in saying that you would never in a million years talk to your friends or family that way. (If you would or do, please give me your address so I can personally come and punch you in the face.) Most of us approach others with gentleness, grace, understanding, kindness and we’re totally rational when looking at their situations. We know that it’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things if our best friend confides that he/she ate a pan of brownies or if he/she hasn’t worked out in the last two weeks or if they didn’t get that promotion at work. We know that they’re going to be okay and we definitely don’t like or love them any less. Right?
Okay, so now think of the last conversation you had with yourself. Was it, in any way shape or form, gentle or complimentary? Was it even rational? It’s funny, how we completely break all of our communication etiquette rules when we talk to ourselves. Most often our internal conversations are full of should ofs, shouldn’t ofs, need tos and didn’ts. In between those we berate ourselves, point out our flaws and dish out more negativity and hate than anyone should ever have to put up with. Unfortunately, we are ALWAYS in our heads and there’s no ‘unfriending’ yourself. You can’t take a vacation from you. You can’t divorce yourself and you can’t really punch yourself in the face (I’ve tried – it’s really hard…). No, we’re stuck with us – and it’s a life sentence.
So, we’ve got a choice to make. We can keep being mean and nasty to ourselves or we can change our internal vocabulary. I’m guessing that every single one of you can name at least one person that thinks YOU are kind of a big deal. This person would most likely starkly disagree with every bit of your negative self-talk. It’s a pretty safe bet that no one would back up your thoughts about how weak, hopeless, lame, fat, stupid, worthless and/or awful you are. You know why? Because it’s not true! Sure, we’ve ALL got things we need to work on or want to be better at, but this will NEVER change. We’re not going to reach a state of perfection in this lifetime so maybe we need to quit expecting that we should. Maybe we need to meet ourselves where we are and evaluate ourselves the way others evaluate us or the way we evaluate others.
The truth of the matter is; we’ve all got some things about us that are pretty darn special. Yeah, even YOU! You deserve grace, kindness, love and respect from others AND most importantly, from yourself. I’m not trying to create a world full of narcissists here, but I am telling you that you’re not doing yourself any favors by cutting yourself down. How many of you have berated yourself for eating something “you shouldn’t have”, for skipping a workout, for not finishing everything on your to-do list, or for saying something that you think sounded dumb? How many times have you told yourself that you’re not good enough, convinced yourself that you won’t get that job/promotion or that people don’t like you for one reason or another? How many things can you list, right this second, that you think are wrong with you, that you need to fix or that you need to do better? Long list, huh? Now take yourself out of the equation, instead think about a friend, family member or even just a random acquaintance. Do those same thoughts come up about them? Can you make a list for them?
Here’s the fact of the matter. When we think about others, especially those that are close to us, we don’t focus on what they aren’t or what they should/could be. We like or love them for who they are and for the way they are, RIGHT THIS MINUTE. We don’t hone in on their flaws, their imperfections, their shortcomings – because to us, they are enough and their enough is pretty darn awesome. Well, guess what? They most likely feel the same way about you. They aren’t concerned with the details of what you ate, how many workouts you missed, if you got to-done with all your to-dos. They just want to be around YOU – just YOU. Not you after you lose 10 pounds, not you after you deadlift 300 pounds, not you after you land that killer job, not you after you’re PERFECT – but YOU how you are right now. Because to them, you’re pretty darn awesome exactly the way you are.
It’s about time that we all start being nicer to ourselves. You are the person you spend the most time with – it’s probably a good idea to make friends with yourself. If you don’t, life is gonna be pretty miserable and let’s face it, you’re stuck with you – but that’s okay, because you’re kind of a big deal. Start believing it.