I have reached a new landmark in my journey of self-acceptance and self-care: I have finally decided to stop saying and thinking horrible things about myself.
When I posted this image last night, a friend responded with the observation that ” The trick is to catch it and recognize it. That’s the hard part.”
What she says is true, but the fact is that I’ve already been recognising it, and it’s something that has been bugging me for a while.
For me, the hardest part is that I see my flaws and failures much earlier and more honestly than anyone else does. I know I’m valued and loved, and I know I have talents and abilities that others admire, but I am much quicker to comment on my mistakes and shortcomings than on anything good or positive that I might do. Sadly, this is the habit of a lifetime.
It’s often said that we’re our own worst enemies. When it comes to cruel words, I think that’s definitely true of me.
I write poetry that moves people and touches their souls. I write horror stories that chill my readers to the bone. My books get good reviews, and readers tell me they love my work. I teach teenagers, and from time to time, some of them tell me I’ve had a positive impact on their life.
At the same time, I know full well that not everyone loves me. That doesn’t actually bother me: I don’t like everyone else, either. None of us do.
Yet it seems that my most consistent critic is none other than myself. It’s fair to say that on some days, even the people who really, really don’t like me – and they do exist – would be hard pressed to say worse things about me than I do.
Why do I accept it from myself, when I never would from anyone else? Why do I allow words about myself that I refuse to hear my best friend say about herself? I don’t allow my students to talk about themselves or others that way. I’ll unashamedly call someone out for putting another person down, and remind them that they don’t get to talk that way to other people.
I’ve written previously about having to learn to be patient and kind toward myself physically, especially since my back injury. Now, I’m taking the challenge to master the words and thoughts I use, and to be as quick to defend myself as I am when it’s others on the receiving end.
I know that making this decision is only the first step, and that actually doing it will be harder than writing about it. I do hope, though, that putting it into writing makes my commitment more binding and less of an impulsive thing that I can forget about.
This is a change that is long overdue. And no matter how flawed or prone to error I may be, it’s a change that I really need to make. I deserve better treatment than I have been giving myself, and today is the day I will start to make it happen.