August 25, 2014 by theresiugoes
As I read over the comments on my last post (both here and on Facebook) I suddenly felt very exposed. Not because I told everyone that my bum caught fire – that was funny and easy to share.
But as I read over my self-assessment, I realised just how harsh I am with myself. Cognitively, I know I’m not awkward. I know people enjoy my company; I know I engage well; I can share in joy and suffering; I can be vulnerable; I can be encouraging…
But I have this internal dialogue that deafens me when I’m in social situations. I might be walking down to the shops, and as I pass my reflection in the window, I hear “big butt. And bad hair today, buddy.”
And even that example is a cop out. To make it about the way I look – because I know that’s safe. I know most women have that inner voice, a rabid self criticism of their bodies. But my voice goes further. It would have no power if it only challenged my physical attributes, things I can change.
My voice attacks all of me.
Below are some thoughts that ran through my mind on Sunday while I sat through a planning meeting:
“You’re talking too loud. Talk quieter.”
“Oh my God, Sylv, why’d you say that?”
“You’re so full of it, think you know everything.”
“You have such an annoying laugh.”
“Man, you’re so clumsy, can’t take you anywhere.”
“Shut your face, buddy. No one wants to hear it.”
“Why do you keep talking?”
“Gosh. You’re just so awkward.”
“Everyone’s uncomfortable now. Look what you did.”
“You’re so selfish. Why’d you take that?”
It’s embarrassing to write these down.
They’re on the tame end of things I said to myself in that meeting, but they’re still so harsh.
I would never speak like say this to a stranger, let alone my friends or family. I don’t know why I think it’s okay to speak this way to myself, I hate that I do it.
I’ve done this for yonks. This isn’t a symptom of Post-Natal Depression, this self talk has followed me through childhood, to my teens, and now as I’m closing up on my 20s.
I know a lot of it has to do with my family of origin, and the importance we place on social appearance – but dwelling on that, at least in this forum, is not going to bring healing.
And I don’t know where to take it. Love myself more? Pfft. Not because I think I’m unlovable, but because I’m pretty sure I’ve got that one covered.
Respect myself? Maybe. I guess that leads me to question whether or not I have earned my own respect.
See myself as God sees me? This is the hardest. Because I know He loves me, just the way I am, that He created my innermost being, knit me together… And He still wants me to grow, and change, and mature. He’s not made me a slave to my nature, He empowers me to change my nature.
I think I’ve just found my answer. To give it to God. To trust Him in (and thank Him for) the way that He has made me. To rely on His strength to keep growing in His likeness. To stop listening to my dumb inner voice and listen to His.