In my early twenties, necessity led me to discover how nourishing and important therapy was! My bestie, Melissa, made the same discovery at the same time, and as a result we would relive each other’s therapy sessions, break through by amazing break through, astonished at the connections our “Lady” revealed to us. “Lady” was a term coined by Melissa to refer to her therapist, and it caught on to the point that appointments became known as “Lady Days” and when one of us made an emotionally mature conclusion, we’d announce “I just Lady-ed myself!”
A common, oft repeated Lady theme was “be gentle with yourself.” As classic type A’s, our success until that point had been won by doing the exact opposite. We worked hard, pushed ourselves harder, and as a result got the degrees and jobs we wanted. We also got the anxiety, too, which landed us in therapy to begin with. Lady also taught us other important lessons- learning to accept the mothers we were born to, vs the ones we wish we had, was a BIG one!- but still “be gentle with yourself” could not be repeated enough. I’m not sure why such smart women were so slow to learn this one concept….
Lady: HOLD ON ONE MOMENT PLEASE!
Jenni: Lady, is that you?
Lady: Yes, Jenni. Do you know why I interrupted this blog post?
Jenni: (sheepishly)….beacuse of that last sentence?
Lady: Exactly. Now can you try and rephrase that?
Jenni: “Be Gentle with yourself is a difficult lesson to learn, however I did and continue to do my best to learn it.”
Lady: Much better. Please continue.
The above imagined conversation is the exact reason for this post. I’m now 40, and still Ladying myself around Being Gentle. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only woman who’s her own worst critic.
Why we do this is beyond my scope of understanding. However, I am capable of reminding you how important it is to treat yourself kindly. Take a moment and think of one thing you don’t like about yourself. (I bet you didn’t need a full moment to come up with it.) My challenge to you, this Self Care Sunday, is to find a way to reframe that thing you dislike. Example: one of my go-to self criticisms is how flabby I’ve become. I’ve been working hard to replace the thought of “Gross look at my disgusting gut!” with “I’m going to the gym now and this is changing. Good for me!” Another strategy is meme-worthy: I’m sure you’ve seen the one “Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend.” Imagine it’s your friend complaining to you, how would you respond? Probably not, “Gross look at your disgusting gut!” I’m sure you could come up with something kinder.
We have GOT to get rid of our inner critic. Not only is she petty and mean, but she self sabotaging. We deserve better. Let’s kick that bitch to the curb.
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