You are fat.

You are abrasive.

You say the wrong things.

No one likes you.

You don’t deserve to be loved.

I could fill a post with all of the critical thoughts that go through my head every day about myself, all of the parts of myself that make me unworthy, that make me unlovable. Even as I extend kindness to others, the person I am hardest on, the person who receives the least amount of kindness from me each day is ME.

Criticism is normal to me. Our family time involves judging others, making fun of those who are “lacking.” Growing up, we would watch Wheel of Fortune every night at dinner. As I’ve gotten older I realized it wasn’t for the puzzles; it was a different kind of sport. Make fun. Laugh about their clothes. Laugh about their weight. Laugh about their accents. Judge them.

My grandfather is a rancher. Trips to his house are far more enjoyable if you bring a few stories about others, if you gossip with him while he rocks back and forth on his wooden rocking chair. Criticizing others is how we bond as a family. It’s disgusting, but it’s what I know.

I was a kind child. I received the Citizenship Award at school every year. I did for others. I was generous, kind, loving. Through the last decade of my adult life I’ve wondered what exactly happened, where did that person, that kid, go? And I’ve listened, listened to my family talk to each other, listened to myself talk about others, about myself. Where did that kind person go?

She was swallowed by all of the negative thoughts, a reality I created within myself. I realized that all of the negative self-talk was a defense.

If I tear myself down first, no one else can hurt me.

If I point out all of my faults, if I pick myself apart, there is nothing left for anyone else. I call this self-reflection. Truly, it is self-annihilation.

When I was twenty-two, about to graduate college, I had a life-changing realization: I’m not that important. I know that sounds counter to this entire post, but it’s true. We are a selfish species. Everyone else is so caught up in their own crap to be worried about mine. Sure, they might talk about me occasionally. Hell, they might even be talking badly about me. But mostly, they are worried about themselves. Yes, my family is critical. Yes, they judge everyone. But they aren’t the whole world, and I can choose to surround myself with those who focus on building others up, rather than tearing them down. But first, I have to change my own thoughts about myself.

Of all the thoughts that course through my head each day, rarely do I hear You are beautiful. You are smart. You are strong. You are worthy. You are loved.

You are beautiful.

You are smart.

You are strong.

You are worthy.

You are loved.

Take time today to be kind to yourself. Write yourself a letter about how wonderful you are. Treat yourself to a massage, a workout, a walk. Sit in silence and breathe in you. You are here, now. And you are beautiful.

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4 thoughts on “Walls

  1. You are a beautiful writer with a beautiful soul and heart. I could have written this but I wouldn’t have been able to do the bottom half. Why? I have been raised to not be conceited, to not brag. But it isn’t bragging, is it? To love yourself? Such a fine line. Thanks for making me think. Pretty sure I still won’t be able to do the back half of your post though. Why? Why is that??? Keep rocking!

    • Why is that? Just writing it made me uncomfortable. Why can’t we extend the same compliments to ourselves as we share with others? Why is it so hard to love ourselves?

      I was just going to write, “It’s not like we are going out in public and shouting, ‘I’m WONDERFUL’ with our arms raised,” but then I thought, what exactly would be so wrong with that?!

      I think it comes down to intention. Are you talking about yourself because you are trying to build yourself up to make someone else feel small? Or are you owning who you are and loving yourself for being that person?

  2. This hits so close to home for me. We are so critical of ourselves. I decided not long ago that my prime directive (to steal a phrase from Star Trek) would be kindness. Suddenly, my own personal happiness skyrocketed. A few months later, I made the decision to stop hating my body. And it was like a light went on in my soul.

    You are beautiful. So am I.

    This project is awesome, and your honest posts are beautiful and true. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • I was just thinking this morning about how being kind seems like it is an intentional act. We must decide to make kindness a part of our active life. Thank you for being a part of this project! And yes, you are beautiful!

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