6 Little Words

by Carol Hess on December 6, 2011

There’s one accusation that friends, acquaintances, coaches, mentors, and therapists level at me on a regular basis that shocks me speechless, which – as you know by now – is not a common condition for me.

Six little words that surprise me, baffle me, and – above all else – irritate the hell out of me precisely because they surprise and baffle me.  I also suspect they play a starring role in why I find self-care, especially weight loss, so – well – baffling.  Are you getting the impression that I’m just slightly baffled?

In fact, I suspect these six little words represent one of the most important lessons I came to the planet to learn this time around in the School of Life As a Human Being.  And so far, I’m averaging about a D minus in this particular subject.

If I don’t start doing better, I can pretty much rest assured I’m not going to graduate.  I’m going to have to repeat a grade.  Which means I’ll have to come back here and start over again.  I’m not sure what I think about that.

On the one hand, I don’t know if I want to come back to Planet Earth, especially considering what shape it might be in by the time I wend my way back.  On the other hand, I don’t know if I’m ready to be a fully enlightened soul yet.  (Stop laughing!  It’s not that preposterous.  Well, maybe it is.)

But I digress.  As I was saying . . . .

“Excuse me, Carol, for interrupting.  I know how you hate that.  But I couldn’t let you go on.  A D minus in this particular subject?  Really?  You’re being too hard on yourself.”

Aaarrrggghhh!!!!  And there we have them.  The six little words I’m talking about!

You’re being too hard on yourself.

I’m just as surprised to hear them this time as I am every other time I hear them.  I wasn’t being too hard on myself.  Just accurate, realistic, honest.  Or so I thought.  Sigh.

I guess I’m going to have to admit that I’ve got a blind spot when it comes to being kind and loving with myself.  It’s definitely not my forte.  Uh oh!  Am I being too hard on myself by saying it’s not my forte?  Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!  See how confusing this gets?!

This calls for drastic measures!  (Drastic, but gentle and self-loving of course.  Phew!  That was a close one!)

No more self-deprecating remarks, especially about my weight. I don’t have to beat people to the punch and say something about my weight before they do. If I’m okay with me, then they will be okay with me.

No more ridiculously high expectations for myself. I believe they call that perfectionism, and it’s rather arrogant when you think about it.  I don’t have to be a straight A student.  In fact, why don’t I stop grading myself all together?

No more negative self-talk. I’m not lazy or hopeless or stupid or clueless or any of the other less than positive adjectives I call myself.  If I can’t think of something nice to say about me, then I won’t say anything at all. (Speechless might become a common condition for me after all.)

Be with myself the way I am with my friends – kind, gentle, tolerant, compassionate (most of the time).  After all, aren’t I my own best friend?  If I’m not, it might be something I want to work toward.  (Notice how gently I phrased that last sentence?  I think I’m getting the hang of this!)

“Love the One You’re With.” Remember that old song by Stephen Stills?  (Okay, showing my age here.)  Well, the only one I know for sure I’m going to be with the rest of my life is me.  So I might as well love me.  I’m worth it, right?

Okay, I’ve bared my not-so-self-loving soul here.  What about you?  I’m only asking because I suspect I’ve got a lot of company.  I suspect most of us signed up for the course in self-love.  Am I right?

by Carol Hess

2 comments

Categories Personal Empowerment, Self Care, The Art of Star Polishing, Weight Loss

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar ellen jett January 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Dear Carol,

Everything you wrote fits me to a ‘T’. Self-deprecatory beliefs/negative self-talk is emotional poundage that is wear and tear on my spirit and very existence. I think it’s more difficult when one is educated, intelligent and is insightful, but still, cannot find a way out of the gloomy feelings. I’ve been told practically my entire adult life that ‘I’m too self critical’ and ‘Stop being so hard on myself’. I understand all the logic, but my unhealthy mantra is too engrained. Now that I’ve got some health issues – besides being 50 pounds overweight – and just underwent an arthroscopy and going through physical therapy – [lost my train of thought] I’m trying to stay hopeful but i miss the spontaneity of pain free normal walking. I guess I’ve survived by being able to compartmentalize my life versus looking at the whole. But, now, I feel kind of scared that because i didn’t lose the weight before all this natural, degenerative stuff my road to semi-health is so much harder.
I joined weight watchers on line this past week. I lost 50 pounds in six months years and years ago but i was able to treadmill and truly believed that my future behavior/eating behavior would remain within healthy parameters. This was at a time before new concepts of mindful eating, brain versus mind, healthy lifestyle versus dieting etc.

I love your writing. You clearly have an imaginative sense of humor and so honestly bare your soul. Oh — your last sentence ‘not so self-loving soul]. Don’t you find it Exhausting– the mental tug-of-war between satisfied career woman vs the ‘deep down not so loving self’.

Okay enough ……..

Respectfully,
Ellen

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avatar Carol Hess January 22, 2012 at 2:31 am

I hear you, Ellen. We are soul sisters when it comes to this self-love stuff, aren’t we? But I do think there’s hope for us. I’ve actually detected some progress in this area since I wrote this post. Not one person has felt the need to tell me I’m being too hard on myself. A miracle! So I think it’s possible for you to “unengrain” that mantra of yours. The first step is awareness. The second step is making a very conscious effort to embrace positive self talk, to encourage empowering beliefs about yourself, and to be loving and compassionate and patient with yourself. Eventually your conscious effort will become a habit, and the habit will become your way of being.

I identify with what you’re going through with your health. I had both hips replaced a few years ago, and one of them got infected. It was a real problem, and I’m still dealing with the repercussions from multiple surgeries, long periods of being wheelchair-bound, gaining weight during that time, etc. When I was in the same place as you are now — what I call acute recovery — it was really challenging to remain positive and patient. In fact, I didn’t. It is damned difficult to be loving toward yourself when you’re in a kind of semi crisis/coping/healing mode.

But this is what I know for sure. “This too shall pass.” You won’t always be where you are now. You’ll get to a better place. As for the emotional poundage we carry (love your choice of words!), I discovered that I just couldn’t deal with it or get rid of it by myself. I solicited (and continue to solicit) the support and guidance of professionals (therapists, coaches). I also use writing as a therapeutic tool and make an effort to not take myself or my life too seriously (hence my “imaginative” sense of humor!).

You’ll figure out what will best help you, Ellen. You are not alone — in the challenges you face or your reactions to them. Most of us have an exterior and interior that don’t always match. I think that’s what being a human being is all about — a quest to align the outer and inner, to create a life that supports and encourages that alignment. Your intention to achieve that alignment feels very strong to me, Ellen, and that tells me you’ll get there. I’m rooting for you and believe in you. Keep in touch and let us know how it’s going, okay? Thanks, Ellen.

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