Don't be a bully.

Monday, November 25, 2013

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I had a bit of an "ah-ha" moment last night as I was getting ready for bed and brushing my teeth.

As I stood there looking at myself in the mirror, I started making a mental list of all of the things I didn't like about myself or things I felt the need to change. I thought about how my eyebrows desperately needed tweezing, how my hair had started to look sloppy and unprofessional, how chubby my arms were getting, and how I was lazy for not running every day. The list went on and on. Then I started to think about all of the times where I had made attempts to fix these problems but wasn't able to keep up with my routines or workout schedules and I continued to criticize myself for giving up on those.

Without even realizing it, I was silently berating myself. I think I stood there for a good 10 minutes pointing out all of my "inadequacies," feeling worse and worse about myself as my list of judgments and critiques grew.

After I finished brushing and I climbed into bed, it hit me. What in the world had I just done? Why did I feel the need to pick on myself? To be my own bully? How many nights do I stand there, staring at myself in the mirror, destroying my self-esteem? I was completely horrified at the thought. It scared me to think that I probably do this every night. Every single night. And I don't even realize the damage that I'm doing. I thought back about the past couple of days and tried to remember all of the times I had subconsciously punished myself for my imperfections.

I remembered getting really unnecessarily upset with myself when the bottom of the bread I baked had burnt to a crisp. I remembered talking to myself out loud in the car about how much of an idiot I was for forgetting to return my library books for the fifth time. I remembered thinking earlier in the week that I should just give up blogging altogether because I haven't been posting any good material lately and what I was writing was awful anyway.

In those few minutes I spent thinking, I recalled probably three dozen specific instances where I made myself feel like crap for something completely insignificant.

Somehow, in my mind, I've been justifying this verbal abuse all because I hadn't met some ridiculous, unattainable standard that I had set for myself. I had made it okay to be my own bully every time I missed a step. It was alright to tell myself that I wasn’t beautiful. I wasn’t talented. I wasn’t good enough. I was bad at cooking. I was bad at blogging. I was bad at life. Just because I wasn't doing anything perfectly, somehow that meant I had failed.

It didn't matter that I've worked out three times this week which is a major improvement from the last. It didn't matter that the meal that I made to accompany the burnt bread was absolutely delicious. It didn't matter that I loved blogging and had touched so many people with the posts I had written in the past. None of it counted.

Every time I mess up, that little voice in my head chimes in saying, “Well, you might as well give up now. Throw in the towel. Abandon ship. Game over. You’ve screwed it up already so there’s no point to keep trying. You’re not good enough and you never will be. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.”

I’m not sure why it happens. I’m not sure why I even let it happen. But it’s not okay. It’s not okay to think I’m a failure. It’s not okay to be my toughest critic. I am sick and tired of feeling like crap and being the one who causes it. I can't sit here and allow that little voice inside to tear me down. I don’t want to be my own bully anymore. I may not be perfect, but I am enough.

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