Well this should be easy! I hate that I pick the skin around my nails. I hate that I bite my lips. I hate that I sometimes can’t manage to respond to emails. I hate that I drink soda and can’t make myself stop. I hate when I make stupid mistakes or misspeak. I hate that I procrastinate. I hate that I give Addie snacks to keep her calm in the car. I hate that I sometimes lose my patience when she’s whining and I yell at her. I hate that I don’t know what to do with my life. I hate that I went to law school and incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. I hate…
And that’s when I stop myself and realize the truth. The most important thing that I hate about myself: I hate that I’m so self-critical.
And the worst part is, I know I’m not alone here. Why do we do this to ourselves?
I know that as mothers we can be particularly hard on ourselves. We’re doing such an important thing, raising these little human beings, that we set unreachable goals for ourselves. And when we, inevitably, fall short, we do the only thing we have left: we beat ourselves up.
But it’s not just in our roles as parents that we judge ourselves. We do it all the time. (Again, I know I’m not alone here…. Right??) It’s human to judge. We need to have standards and we need to determine when those standards have been met. At a most basic level, it’s what allows us to survive and, even better, to thrive. But once the mind starts down that path, it doesn’t know how to stop. So a healthy judgment — “next time, choose an apple instead of a candy bar” — becomes an unhealthy self-criticism — “god, I’m such a fat pig, why am I such an idiot?”
We need to find the strength to stop those criticisms as soon as they start. We need to be self-aware enough to hear them for what they are, instead of letting them wash over us, immersing us so completely that we take our judgments for incontrovertible facts. Your judgment is not a fact. And it certainly isn’t all that you are. It’s nothing more than a blip of thought in a beautiful mind, teeming with ideas, memories, hopes and dreams. It casts a large shadow, but when you catch it up close, it’s an insignificant speck in the universe of your self.
Yes, I bite my lips. That doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me a person who has a couple bad habits. Don’t we all?
30 Days of Truth is a blogging challenge that’s been going around the blogosphere over the last couple years. It’s part of my 30 Before 30 List, so I’ll be posting my entries, labeled “30 Days of Truth”, every now and then. Here’s the complete list:
Day 1: Something you hate about yourself.
Day 2: Something you love about yourself.
Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 4: Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 5: Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 8: Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 9: Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10: Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11: Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12: Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days.
Day 14: A hero who has let you down.
Day 15: Something or someone you couldn’t live without.
Day 16: Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17: A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18: Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19: What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20: Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21: Your favorite childhood memory.
Day 22: Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23: Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24: Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs.
Day 25: The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26: Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27: What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28: Would you have kids or more kids?
Day 29: Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30: A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself