Exposed (my internal dialogue)

7

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.

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7 thoughts on “Exposed (my internal dialogue)

  1. Michelle says:

    Perhaps it’s a case of, as you say “keep growing in His likeness”. All I can tell you that being a self critical woman, and we’re all pretty good at being crap to ourselves, does improve with age. Age brings more things to pick on but you do become more comfortable in your skin. Don’t walk, run to your 30s 😉 I was much happier with myself in my 30s than my 20s. So many of us waste our youth being disappointed in ourselves. It’s been big business for a long time now to make women feel vaguely crap about themselves, whether it’s our looks or our housekeeping standards, career, family … And I think that just eats into our collective cultural psyche. So next time you think “wow, bad hair day” stop and tell yourself that that right there is the robotic response of somebody who has been subtly but effectively programmed to go buy a product. And say “NO”!

    And if that doesn’t work, I think you’ve got a good chance of being a little bit (endearingly) bonkers by your 40s (like moi) and that’s an even better defence 😉 Ha! xx

    • wifesylv says:

      Thanks Michelle! I’m so looking forward to my 30s! And if I’m endearingly bonkers in my 40s, I’ll be in good company (although you’ll probably be out of them by then!)

  2. mummywifeme says:

    When you’ve been using negative self talk for most of your life it is hard to stop. When I find myself being too negative I try to turn each negative into a positive. You will get the hang of it soon enough.

    • wifesylv says:

      Thanks, Renee. Replacing every negative thought with a positive one is key – hopefully I can catch the negatives!

  3. Have you heard of Dr Caroline Leaf? She’s a brain expert and she does this 21 brain detox that uses scientific principles and the bible to help you overcome faulty thinking.
    I’ve just done a detox on a similar issue, because I just could not see my worth at all. And that’s not the way God wants me to see myself. It’s hard getting that knowledge from your head into your heart sometimes though.

    • wifesylv says:

      Thanks Jess I appreciate your input – two people recommended I read her today, so I’m on it! I hope you continue to enjoy the journey of seeing yourself the way God sees you. 🙂

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