Women can be the biggest b*tches. I mean, we can find just the littlest thing about a person and cut them down right at the knees. And not even think twice. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration--I mean, I can be really sweet to the UPS man (he brings me goodies), and I can't really be mean to my dog because he's super cute and can't help that he doesn't understand simple commands like "don't bite the yard guy". No--we reserve our most vile vitriol and contempt for the one person we most wish we could love--ourselves.
This world needs so much more compassion and respect than we come close to giving it. How can we not cherish a beautiful and majestic lion who yearns only to live and yet we poach only for a trophy on a wall? How can we pass by a person begging on a street when we have no idea how he came to live without a roof or food or safety, and instead justify our ego's refusal to help by saying he's just not working hard enough. I believe this hatred, this disregard for all that is good and peaceful and kind stems directly from the negativity we spew at someone with whom we are way, way closer. She's probably right next to you or reading over your shoulder or whispering hate to you right now. She's us--ourselves--and we treat her like she's the worst person in the world. We all do it--even if we don't admit it or if it's just running circles through our subconscious. We all beat ourselves down in one way or another, and for some of us, we've made it our second profession. I think I've said at least ten nasty things to myself, about myself, even before breakfast. And quite frankly, it's such a common way of existing for many of us, we think we're just having a normal conversation. (Which means of course we're talking to ourselves, but that's for another article.)
There are so many ways that we betray ourselves, degrade ourselves and limit--no prevent--our own happiness. The list is endless, but here are four really good (i.e. bad) lies that we whisper to ourselves or on really bad days--scream right out loud:
1) "I hate my body": I'm not sure if even the "skinnier than average" of us doesn't in some way tell themselves and their bodies that they are somehow imperfect. My boobs are too small, my thighs rub together too much, I have lunch lady arms. We wake up every day and there is a solid chance that the first thing we say (or think) to ourselves is something nasty about our fabulously strong bodies. And just by sending those thoughts out into the world--we've pretty much started the day in a funk--in a fog. Pretty sure that is not the breakfast of champions.
2) "If only I had [blank], then I would be happy": Something is always missing. My house, this dress, that car--they're just not good enough. But if only I had that pet llama, you think, then I would have it made! However, more than likely the pet llama would be fun for a little bit, and then you would just want a giraffe because it looks like a llama but is just way more expensive. There is no one thing that is the panacea in our lives, but every day that we tell ourselves that just one more acquisition, accomplishment, or beach house will do the trick, is another day we just hate ourselves more for what we lack.
3) "I'm not a good enough mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc.": This is another fill-in-the-blank-er. How many times have you lost your temper when your kid spills his 25th cup of apple juice? How irritated do we get at our aging parents as we think about all the ways they really screwed us up? And how much do you want to beat your husband with a pool noodle for playing golf three weekends in a row? Ok, well maybe you do actually bop him once with said noodle, and you know what, that's ok. I mean, the only thing a piece of wobbly Styrofoam can damage is his pride, and then maybe he'll actually think twice before leaving for another five hour outing on a Sunday. No, we all think we should be doing better. We all think we should be cruising through adulthood like it's a test we actually studied for. Guess what? Life is really like that class you accidentally forgot to go to all semester and then try to muddle your way through the final exam. So, what you do is you just show up, do the best you can and try not to barf from the stress. None of us know what we're doing from one minute to the next (in life--not just the imaginary exam) but we love the people we're running this life with, and we want to do the best by them that we can. Another guess what--you probably already are, so cut yourself a break.
4) "I'm so stupid!": Yes, you did tell your boss he had B.O. Ok, so you told your husband a small fib that you didn't buy that fab Prada bag, but you were just borrowing it (permanently). And, well, in a moment of utter exasperation at being a mom, you kinda told your kid that you were selling him to another family. None of these are your proudest moments, but you've apologized; you've tried to make them right--and that's all you can do. Beating yourself up over mistakes only makes you re-live them over and over again. We're human. We F up. We rebound and hopefully learn. And from that mistake--from each and every mistake--if we take it for what it is, we help ourselves to be just a little more awesome than we already are. And--at least you told your kid you were selling him for $1MM--he should feel very loved by the size of that sale price.
I think self-compassion is the hardest thing and the one great ideal that we are all here to master on this Earth. It is our greatest challenge but from it we reap the greatest rewards. Not only can we wake up looking forward to the day and all of the wonderful gifts it has to give, but then we can share that compassion with everyone else. By loving ourselves first--we make the world a better place, and that love is contagious. So, when you wake up tomorrow morning--tell yourself that you're sweet and charming and generous and good. If the ugly b*tch voice starts to mumble---shove a bagel in her mouth. And THAT shall be the breakfast of champions.