If you asked me, “Maria, do you love yourself?”, immediately I would respond, “Yes!”. Logically, I do think I love myself. But then I really thought about it the other day, if I loved myself, then why do I sometimes catch myself speaking negatively about something I did? It’s like the old tape is pushed play immediately after I catch myself doing something I know is not good for me (Ben and Jerry are not my friends, I don’t even know them! Never met them once in my life!).
This topic came up in the weight loss support group this week. We were discussing self-love and one of the members talked about how she finds herself talking negatively and sometimes she doesn’t even catch herself, it just ‘happens’. Can anyone relate? I know I can!
I started thinking about when the negative thoughts come up for me. I’ve really noticed them when I overeat, because that’s been my focus. Are there other situations or incidents that trigger when it happens? Once I asked the question, I noticed the negative ‘let’s berate Maria now‘ tape was playing during times I didn’t even realize. For example, I was wondering why I was feeling so bad about myself last night. I couldn’t put a finger on it until this morning when I was talking to a friend. It was because I acted badly with my son and I started immediately beating myself up. It starts when I start barking out orders to pick up his stuff or put away his things etc. When I get into that ‘Mom mode’ (or drill Sargent mode), I become a different person in a sense, one that my family resists and who I don’t like either. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like I comes from my mother. Even thinking about it upsets me because I’ve spent half my life saying “I will never be my mother!” and when parenting, I have to be honest, I’ve adopted some of her bad habits. It’s what led me to rebel and move far away from her when I was in my 20’s. It took a while (1 hour), but I redirected myself by taking responsibility, apologizing to him and now hopefully I’ll learn from it and things will improve the next time around.
I constantly remind myself, this is a journey which has led me to learn the basics of self-love and I’m still learning. The good news is I’m seeing the frequency of when the negative self-talk occurs. Some days will be great and others will show me there’s more change that has to happen. Through this process, I can say, I am learning the art of patience and it’s good for me in many ways. It took me many years to discover myself and become aware of these negative patterns and it will take time to replace them with healthy thoughts and behaviors.
One thing I can say without a doubt, I’m so grateful God has pointed this out to me, otherwise, I would still be, in a sense, living ‘in the dark’ and just the thought of that is disturbing. Can you imagine how many people would feel better about themselves, improve their health and feel happy if they started to recognize their own negative patterns and made small changes to think differently about themselves? I believe it can happen!