I know a woman and while I want to like her, I can’t. I actually loathe her.
I am really mean to her and to be honest, I’m pretty sure she will soon get fed up with me and tell me to STFU. I don’t always say out loud, the things I am thinking about her looks, her decisions, her choices or her life, but I’m pretty devastating in my head. I’m sure she senses this. There are times I think she picks up on the feelings I just can’t hide and then I feel ashamed. I hate the thought of making anyone feel bad, even someone who drives me mad.
I don’t understand why everything she does grates on my nerves so badly. I know she’s not trying to piss me off, she’s not trying to bring out the worst in me, she’s just living. But good God, when I see her putting the chocolate in her mouth, after she just said she was going to work hard to lose weight, I cringe. I hear her saying she just needs a little something sweet after a rough day or because she is feeling down and I want to scream, “That’s so ridiculous. Food will not fix your issues!”
I hear her talk about how she is working on being more “present,” working to let go of the stress, then I hear her say she is going to lose it with her kids and just needs to be away from them. I’m left scratching my head. She’s missing out on so much with them, because she’s future tripping, second guessing her mothering decisions and basically, not enjoying any of the good that is happening right NOW!
She’ll talk about these big amazing plans she has, like getting her house in order – organizing, purging, cleaning – and then I see she’s done nothing! Things are still in piles, still dusty and she still has a ton of crap. It drives me insane! She’s got big goals but little follow through and I find it hard to respect her because of this.
I’ve tried talking with her about sticking to her goals, letting go of some of her stress/anger so she can enjoy life. To stop using food as a reward or punishment and just enjoy it. I’ve told her how frustrating it is, to listen to her bemoan her extra weight but then watch her bake cookies while drinking wine. I’ve informed her, kids feed off of her energy and if she is always run down, short tempered and tired when she’s with them, they’ll feel that and feed off of it. I have EXPLAINED and showed her research, on how stress affects everything and pointed out this is probably what causes most of her headaches.
She knows she has all of these faults because SHE talks about them all the time. She also whines about how she knows she’s too judgmental, about herself and others (her way is the RIGHT way). She can’t accept a compliment, even when I try and say something nice. “You look pretty today,” I’ll say, to which she replies, “Ugh, my pants are all too tight and I have big circles under my eyes. I’m a mess.”
GRRRRR! I’m trying here woman!
Why in the world do I let this woman get under my skin????
Because this woman is ME.
I am the one putting myself down, berating myself for not sticking to my healthy eating or weight loss goals. Beating myself up for getting frustrated with my boys, frustrated with myself and life. I am the one who is judging everyone else because it makes me feel better about the ways in which I am lacking.
I am the mess.
It’s taken a physical trip away from life (or “mini vacation”) to show me how toxic I am to myself. How that horrible inner voice is enough to sabotage the best of intentions. How ugly I am, to the woman who wakes every day with the resolve to, “try harder.”
When I finally woke up and realized how wretched I have been to me, I was ashamed. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, questioning why I do it, and noodling on ways to make change happen. By change, I don’t mean, “lose the weight I am always bemoaning” or “finally getting my house/closet/pantry/LIFE in order;” I’m talking about changing the way I think about and speak to myself.
I’ve been cruel, rigid, judgmental, unsympathetic and downright mean. It needs to stop. It will stop. There’s enough ugliness in the world that I cannot control. THIS is ugliness I can put a stop to. I want to because I am at a place where I want to choose joy. I am choosing to look at the good I bring to the world, to the people who care about me. I must not be too horrible or no one else would love me, right? And I have some amazing people who love me. People who I look at and think, “How did I get so lucky?” People who tell me they think I’m pretty neat.
I’m not defined by my pants size (besides, yoga pants stretch and are totally in fashion), I’m not “bad” because I enjoy wine and cookies. I’m not a horrible mother just because I get frustrated and need time outs. I’m not a bad wife if I leave the bed unmade or don’t get the closet organized. It’s ok to have days where I sit and do nothing but read the amazing book I am into.
I have a lot of good qualities – we all do. Imagine the joy we’d experience if we focused on THOSE qualities even half as much as we do on the negative. Not only in ourselves but in others. It’s work.
Every. Single. Day.
It is work to be kind to myself. To look at my jiggly legs and not berate myself but applaud the fact that they are really strong. To see my flabby belly and then look at my boys and know that flab is a result of creating two pretty wondrous humans. To understand and accept that laugh lines mean joy, stretch marks mean life and some “squishiness,” is what my boys love to cuddle.
I’m ok. I’m not perfect but I am good. I care, I try and I want nothing more than joy and happiness for myself and everyone else. THAT is worth celebrating. THAT is why I will wake each day and celebrate waking, feeling and living. On the hard days, the ok days and the really great days.
I’m worth that much because I’m pretty neat.
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This post was syndicated with permission from Heather LeRoss.