Hey, you! Pssstt!
Yes, YOU! Come over here, please. I am beckoning you closer. Yes, even closer still. We need to be knee to knee for this conversation — because it is going to be deep and a little uncomfortable, for both of us.
I want to talk to you about something that has been weighing on my mind for quite some time now. Let’s sit. Please turn off your smart phone — you can check your emails and texts later. Yes, that recorded sitcom can wait, too. This discussion will require your undivided attention and I sincerely want you to contemplate and digest what I am about to say, okay? Promise?
I’m worried about you. Why, you ask? Well, please don’t be mad because I say this with love (and with deep understanding). It’s just that I’ve noticed the way you speak to yourself — the cold, unkind, unrelenting words you use. You call yourself fat, and stupid, and ugly, and untalented, and you don’t give yourself nearly enough credit for how beautiful you are — both inside and out. Then, I see the stark contrast in the way you speak to everyone else — nurturing, positive, upbeat, and loving. In your eyes, they are the deserving ones, the chosen ones, the beautiful ones, the capable ones. And, it breaks my heart that not only are you unable to see your unique gifts, but you also bury them so, so deep so that they are almost unrecognizable. I know that you would never hurt anyone else with the words you use on yourself, so it makes me wonder why you do this? Over. And over. And over again. Why are you so hard on yourself? Why can’t you see the ways in which the world benefits when you are at your absolute best? Don’t you understand the crippling effect that your inner disdain has on your outward persona? Don’t you understand that the only ugly things about you are the words you use on yourself? I love you and I just want you to know that nobody benefits when you speak to yourself this way, least of all you. Stop treating yourself small, love yourself first, and everything else will start to fall into place.
And you. Could you also come sit with me for a few minutes? I would also like to talk to you about something. You might think I am overstepping my boundaries, but it needs to be said and I am hoping you will feel better after hearing the words. Friends want the best for each other — and I want so, so much more for you. You see, I am so incredibly worried about the people you surround yourself with. The less than substantive relationships that you foster. The gossip and the bullying. The small-mindedness. The attacks on others who are not only undeserving, but are unable to defend themselves as you stealthily tear them apart behind their backs. What are you hoping to accomplish with these actions? What kind of value do these “friendships” add to your life? Surely you can’t think you are making this cruel, hateful world a better place by tearing others down with your sneaky verbal warfare? Wouldn’t it be so much more fulfilling to surround yourself with people who build others up? People who spread joy instead of poison? Wouldn’t you feel so much better about yourself if you spent your time with people who have integrity and empathy? I really hope you will try it, because those vocal vampires do unspeakable things to your psyche and the second they are done tearing someone apart in front of you, they will flit off to tear YOU apart behind your back. Seek out relationships that make your soul come alive. Relationships that are built on trust — not gossip. Be a leader — not a follower. There are far too many followers already. The world needs more people who are actively trying to SOLVE problems, not create more of them.
And you, sweet friend. Can you spare a few minutes today for a heart to heart chat? This is going to be difficult for me to say because I know it is a sensitive subject. I also know that it is a very difficult thing to change — habits get ingrained, self-esteem plummets, and you feel powerless. I know because I have been there — and I know the pain, anguish, and anger that might accompany this conversation. But, I also know you CAN make changes — it IS possible. Before I say what I have to say, please know that I love you very much and I want nothing but the best for you. It’s just that, I watch you – and in you, I see the old me. And, it pains me deeply to watch this unfold because I know how much you must be hurting inside. Let’s be frank — you have let yourself go. You have let excuses consume your life, they’ve gotten the best of your judgment, and I want you to know that the excuses are a lie. I told myself lies, too. But, those excuses are not your truth and they are hurting you…taking little ticks off of your life with every unhealthy decision you make. I just need you to know that you are important, too. If you are not at your best, your kids cannot be at their best, your marriage cannot be at its best, you can’t be the best at work, and you can’t be the best at play. As I said to the others, love yourself first. Take care of yourself first. Eat healthier food. Make time for exercise (yes, I know you are busy – too busy – but you have to MAKE time for it because time won’t magically appear in your schedule). Stop poisoning your body with Diet Coke and stimulants and copious amounts of sugar. I want you to do something for me right now. I want you to go find a mirror. GO! I want you to spend a minute or two just looking at your reflection. NO! Don’t judge yourself. Don’t call yourself names. Don’t berate yourself. There is no place for that here. Just look — and accept. Accept and own all of the things you did to get to this point (again, NO JUDGMENT!). You need to accept them because you allowed yourself to make all of those decisions that led you to where you are today. You and only you. Own the lattes and the cookies and the carbs and the alcohol and the chemicals and the caffeine. Just own it — and be kind with this knowledge. Now, look at yourself — right in your own eyes — don’t look away. Yes, I know this feels strange and weird, but you will thank me later. Now, repeat after me: “I am beautiful. I deserve to live a long, healthy, vibrant life. I will treat myself better because I am important. I will make better decisions and put more time in my schedule for myself.” Now, tell yourself you love you. Go ahead! Don’t you feel better? Do this every single day — no judgment — and train yourself to love yourself again. Because you are worth that and so much more. It’s the least you can do for yourself. Isn’t it funny how we can love ourselves so much when we are younger, but as time grows on and those nasty voices creep inside our heads, we all suffer from at least a modicum of self-loathing? Let’s all stop it, shall we?
To confusion, dismay, despair, helplessness, and sometimes disgust…
And one more thing, to the “Yous” who are old enough to have children….let’s teach them the importance about being kind to themselves — and others. Surround them with the message. Let them see you live it. Let them witness you speaking lovingly to/about yourself so that when they grow up they will, too. It will be the best thing you can do for them. After all, don’t we all wish we could still be the pure little kid who stares in the mirror with innocence and wonder and knows nothing else but how to love themself unconditionally? I certainly think so….