This week in therapy, I was struggling with not feeling good enough. Not that this wasn’t a daily occurrence for me, but today felt different. Today felt heavier than most days. Maybe it was the fact that it was snowing in mid-April, or the long weekend I’d had of traveling and catching up on the things I needed to get done. Or maybe it was just me, getting into my own head, knowing that I wasn’t giving myself the credit I deserved but not caring enough to actually do it.
After rambling on to Tom, my therapist, for about 10 minutes about how I’m not happy in my own skin, he looked at me and said, “So, if a friend was saying these same things about herself to you, what would you tell her?”
In my head I’m like “Ok Tom, good one. Yeah I wouldn’t tell her she’s fat OBVIOUSLY because that’s mean and all of my friends are beautiful yada yada ya.” In reality, I answered with the really deep and thoughtful phrase: “I don’t know.” A therapist’s worst nightmare.
I knew what he was getting at, but I was being stubborn and difficult because I wasn’t ready for him to make me say something kind to myself. I was basking in the self-hatred and no one was going to pull me out. I wanted to sit there for as long as I could, until he gave up and said “okay, go home.”
But he didn’t.
He let me sit there with my thoughts, knowing full well that I had the capacity to self-reflect and change my answer. After 10 minutes of silence, I finally did.
“I would tell her to stop being so hard on herself.”
It’s true. We are our own worst critic. I mean, seriously.
I look at plus size women on Instagram that SLAY everything. They are some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. But, I look like them. So why does my acceptance stop at me?
I can’t tell you why we are so hard on ourselves. It’s unfair and cruel and upsetting. Maybe it’s because we can take the criticism when it comes from our own mouths. That theory makes the most sense to me.
I wish I could say that I have the answer for fixing this kind of self-hatred, but I don’t. All I can suggest are a few things that have worked for me to flush out the negative thoughts when they happen.
- Speak a kind word to yourself. Doesn’t have to be some grand gesture, it can be like “Wow, I got out of bed this morning.”
- Remember that you are your own best friend. No one has your back as much as you do. There is no one in the world that knows you better than you know you.
- Take a step back and think about everything you have accomplished in the body you’re in. For me, I think about the times I had to physically protect myself or the times I was there for myself when shit got bad in my life. It’s empowering to remember how far you’ve come.
In case you’re wondering what happened with Tom, he got the answer he was looking for. My therapy session ended in a good cry and me making a plan to practice more self kindness. It’s as easy as that sometimes, even when the world feels like it’s crashing onto your shoulders.
I hope this helps a bit. I know it was cathartic for me to write.
Remember, be your own best friend. Just don’t start talking to yourself out loud in public. That shit’s weird.