Did you know that you will be with you more than any other person?
Kind of a fascinating thought. I will spend the most time with myself. So, when I think about it that way I might as well have a fabulous relationship with myself. And, this should be the relationship that I put the most work into. What I didn’t know until recently is that your relationship with yourself is just the thoughts you think about you. I have 65,000 thoughts that run through my head a day, most of them unconsciously, and many of them are about me. Thoughts about what I do, how I look, what I say, and even think. And, once I started to pay attention to the thoughts, I have about myself, I realized that they were pretty negative and harsh.
Why are we so critical of ourselves?
Well, your lower brain, or primitive brain, is constantly scanning the environment and looking for danger. When we do something that is interpreted by our lower brain as danger, it alerts us to it and wants to heighten our attention to it so we will respond to it. Our brain wants us to do something about it. So, when I say something to someone and they respond defensively or different than I am expecting, my brain is working hard to let me know. This happened to me recently in a conversation and it is so funny how quickly my inner dialogue was, “Wow, you really messed that conversation up, you said too much, you didn’t give them time to respond, you always do that, you really need to work on that, that is so unappealing to others, you really need to think through things before just blurting them out.”
I felt like I couldn’t even trust myself, and that I should speak perfectly. It is like I can’t make a mistake in conversation. Or I can’t say something and someone else not agree with me. So, that felt restricted and harsh. I felt like I had just gotten a lecture from myself and It was painful.
So, recently I started thinking why do I talk to myself like that? Why am I quick to flip to judgment and sentences like; you always, never, etc….? And you know what, I think that my brain thought, “That conversation felt uncomfortable, let’s not have uncomfortable again, so YOU need to change and quickly.” And my quickest way to change is a harsh talking to. But, why can’t I feel uncomfortable? What is so bad with that feeling. You know, sometimes conversations don’t go the way we thought. Or sometimes someone takes something differently than you were meaning it. I think it is supposed to go that way actually. I don’t want people to always agree with me. But why do I quickly interpret that as BAD? And then make it mean, that I am bad. This is an area I want to work on.
So how do I do that?
I want to investigate what is really going on for me and dig deeper beyond the surface of don’t ever do that again. Because let’s be honest, it is going to happen again. If you know me, I like conversation, and deep ones at that. There will be conversations that make me uncomfortable, but I need to let my brain in and say, “Hey, we are fine, nothing is wrong, we are having a conversation. We both have two different views and at times that feels weird or uncomfortable, but that is a part of life, and I don’t always have to walk away beating myself up or lecturing myself.”
So, my inner dialogue needs a tune up. My tune up looks like being curious instead of harsh and judgmental. And you know what, it feels better. When I mess up, and let me tell you that is often, and I ask myself, “Hey, what was going on there, what happened?” I am so much gentler and graceful and patient, and accepting.
Matthew 22:39 Love your neighbor as yourself. I really started to think about how am I loving myself?
I can begin loving myself by treating myself kindly, compassionately, and investigative instead of harsh, indifferent, and accusatory.
As I have begun to work on this my relationship with myself is changing. I think about myself differently and on purpose. I look in the mirror and choose how I want to feel about me. I want to glorify God with my thoughts about me, who He created. I want to look at my personality and the way He has wired me with gratitude and not judgment. I want to practice patience with the parts of me that I wish had changed like yesterday. I want a quality relationship with myself, and that boils down to choosing quality thoughts about myself. It comes down to the way I talk to myself and the way I choose to think about what I say or do.
How are you doing in this area? Have you stopped to notice your inner dialogue? Are you critical with the way you look, say, think, or the things you do? Instead of being critical what if you could be curious?
Try it… loving yourself feels a whole lot better than hating yourself :)
Here’s to being curious,