I’m a f*cking big lanky stupid looking ginger idiot.
That’s an interesting statement to start a post off with isn’t it! It’s interesting for me because for a long time in my teens and well into my twenties I believed it to be true and would frequently tell people so. My self abusing would take many forms and rarely would be expressed all at one time like that. You know some days I was subtly slagging my height, others quietly getting in some jibes about my hair colour, many days slagging my lack of muscle and generally stick thin frame. I had a wide and deep variety of ways of making myself feel like sh!t. I was very good at it.
I can gladly say that I’m actually quite crap at it now. In fact, I’m delighted to now be an expert at doing quite the opposite but that’s not the point of the post!
When you learn how to stop being your own worst critic it becomes glaringly apparent just how many people around us spend a lot of time surreptitiously bullying themselves, invisibly chipping away at their own self esteem, making themselves feel crap and then wondering why they have no motivation, they feel depressed and they lack self confidence.
You know its a lot like bullying isn’t it. The big moments are horrible but you can see them coming but it’s the malevolent little statements and digs that have power because you hear them so often. On their own they are harmless but a consistent attack over years and years slowly wears you down…and, in this case, the attack is coming right from inside your own head!
‘Ach, I’ve always been the fat one, haven’t I?’, ‘Look at me being thick again’, ‘I’m just crap at relationships’, ‘I’m a bit of an idiot, you’ll have to explain it to me’, ‘Sorry about my house, its a total dive’, ‘I’ve done it for that long now I’m probably past help now anyway’, ‘Oh, you don’t understand how messed up I am, you could write a book about my problems’…I could go on…but I won’t. Be honest with yourself, do you recognise any of these or do you have your own?
As I said, many people use self deprecating humour very well. I still use it myself, especially when I do presentations, but the fact is that it is once every so often and my self encouragement and self belief far outweighs any little humorous jibe I give myself. I now understand my positives in life far outweigh my negatives, but for many, it’s said as a joke but is that really how you take it deep, down inside?
I get it, it’s a defence for most people. I work with it all the time. But it’s a big, fat, useless feckin’ waste of time of a defence! How does making yourself feel sh!t defend you from anything? At its worst it makes it OK for other people to say it to you too so you get it from inside and outside. At best, you become your own worst critic and people wonder why you are so hard on yourself. Woohoo, well done!!
You are performing the mental and emotional equivalent of The Judean People’s Front Crack Suicide Squad. Racing up to the enemy, downing poison in a forthright way and then stating, quite proudly, ‘that showed ’em’ as you keel over. It affects absolutely no-one but you and it affects you negatively every single bloody time.
For tomorrow can you take a different approach? Even for just one day? Give it a shot at least? I mean I know you’re useless/lazy/fat/skinny/stupid/daft and all these other things but for one day is it possible for you to speak to yourself kindly and positively. What do you like about yourself? (All those that just answered nothing now need to call me to sort your bloody head out!). Can you celebrate yourself? If you do feel crap, how can you make yourself feel better? What would be the best thing you could hear in that moment of doubt? Why would you do anything else? What good could it possibly do to do anything else?
Be kind to yourself. Change begins with you. If you want others to treat you bette, how can you possibly expect them to do that if you can’t even do it for yourself?
I look in the mirror (almost) every day and like what I see looking back. To be honest there were times in life I never thought that would be possible and it makes me delighted to sit here are say it is true today. I’m not special, I’ve just given myself a break and decided, whatever the rest of the world is going to do, I’m going to be good to myself. Maybe it’s time for you to do the same?
People’s Front of Judea