I’m noticing a trend with women, and moms in particular.
I see it happen everywhere. And I notice myself doing it sometimes too. Not as much as I used to, but every once in a while I still catch myself.
We women are so hard on ourselves.
And over and over and over again, we bash ourselves.
This tendency has really been drawn to my attention repeatedly by the women who participate in my e-course. I’ve been running it for the last four years, and without fail I see the same thing in each new group of women who register.
The course has a closed Facebook group for all the participants. It’s a group where the members can offer or ask for support, and it’s also a forum where women have some added accountability.
Without fail, at the beginning of each course, there are multiple women who say things like:
I timed myself for a mile and it was embarrassing.
I’m so fat.
I’m a complete failure.
I’m disgusted with myself.
Now just think for a minute.
Think for a minute what your reaction would be if your daughter came home from school and said any one of those things to you.
Would you nod your head and agree with her? You are totally right, Susie. You should be totally embarrassed, because you totally suck!
I don’t think so.
I think you’d be alarmed. Concerned. You’d wonder why your beautiful child felt so shitty about herself. You’d wonder how on earth she could even say something like that. You’d wonder where you went wrong.
You’d say something to her like, “You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen! You are so talented! You are so kind! You are so thoughtful! You are the most amazing little girl I know!”
And you would genuinely mean every single word you said to her.
So when does this happen? When do we go from that little girl who paints a picture of a cat (you were sure it was an elephant) and thinks it’s worthy of being hung in the Louvre to the girl who is convinced she possesses no talent whatsoever and can focus only on her flaws?
I don’t know for sure. But what I do know is that your girls (and boys) are watching. And they are listening.
And I bet you aren’t even aware of how many times each day you engage in a whole bunch of negative self talk in front of your kids.
At some point, those things start to sink in.
Fortunately one thing I also notice with these self bashing women is that once they are encouraged to start focusing on the healthy decisions they are making each day, the negative talk starts to disappear. There is a shift in perspective.
That change happens fairly quickly.
So how about we moms make a deal?
No more self bashing. No more focusing on the flaws.
And that doesn’t mean you don’t work on those areas of your life that you’re not satisfied with. I’m all about change.
But there is a big difference between I’m disgusted with myself and I have made the decision to make my health a priority! I’m done feeling unhealthy!
Wait. What? Are you chuckling?
Does that make you laugh or snicker because it has a Stuart Smalley ring to it and it sounds cheesy? Maybe.
But it’s not cheesy. It only sounds cheesy or makes you uncomfortable because you have trained your brain not to work that way.
Maybe you have trained your brain to think it’s okay to consistently beat yourself up.
It’s hard to make changes in your life if you are constantly beating yourself up.
Rather than beating yourself up, maybe you should be building yourself up.
You’d do that for your daughter.
And I think it’s time we all start doing that for ourselves, too.