Just like with spiraling out of control with bad eating habits, or spiraling out of control with worry or sadness, my self-talk can spiral out of control until I find myself running the type of hateful commentary track about my body and my life that would drive me to violence if I heard being directed at anyone I love.
It always starts innocently enough:
Oh no. I think I was way more excited to run into that person than they were to see me. I was too overly enthusiastic, I think I freaked them out.
But then my brain start making evaluations like Well, Kim, this is why you should not just gleefully approach people you recognize. You always make people feel uncomfortable with your forwardness.
And it ends somewhere around You should not leave the house. You ruin more relationships than you create. Soon no one is going to want to ever talk to you again. You’re ridiculous.
DO YOU SEE HOW TERRIBLE THAT IS?
But this weekend I was ready. I am sick of that type of self-talk disintegration and so when those first thoughts creeped into my head berating myself about something I immediately did a re-direct.
Maybe you were a little too enthusiastic but is that a bad thing? If your awesomeness is too much for someone that’s okay. It was your sincere joy at seeing a friend, that should never be squashed, that is the kind of love that needs to spread to make the world better. Everyone needs to feel that love. Give it freely. That love does wonderful things in people’s lives, things you may not see on the surface so never stop dishing it out.
And then I replied to myself: Hell yeah! You rock, Kim!
Then I was asked to leave the art market permanently because I was freaking people out by standing in the corner and talking to myself and giving myself high-fives.
It happened with negative self-talk about my body too. I got back from yoga and got a glimpse of myself in my mirror and saw the flesh puffing out around my sports bra under my arm and I suddenly was like: Oh my god. Did that gross people out at yoga? That I’m oozing out around my clothes? And normally that descends into even worse commentary but this time I shut that shit DOWN and said, If more people with skin oozing out of their sports bras would do more yoga, you wouldn’t have waited so long to try it. Also? The joy you feel holding a strong pose totally shines more than anything else and if anyone else is choosing to notice the fat rolls and not the shine? Then they are dealing with their own twisted beauty brainwashing and they deserve your sympathy, not your shame.
HELL YEAH, SHINE ON Kim!
It’s something I have to VERY DELIBERATELY face head-on because one negative thought about my body spirals into these terrible lectures of self-loathing and I’m walking a fragile enough balance beam of self-love over here. I really saw it this weekend when I was linking to a past article about my bullet journal method from a few years ago and this line punched me in the face:
All of those help me maintain order in my chaotic life with 3 kids, a full-time job, 2 volunteer positions, and an ultra-running hobby that requires I run anywhere from 30 to 70 miles a week.
Do you know how much of that is true now? NONE OF IT. I got laid off early this year, I resigned from those two volunteer positions when I started traveling so much for Mom and I’m barely running 10 miles a week anymore. OH! And really only two of my kids need me anymore.
I read that and found myself REALLY getting down on myself. WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU EVEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE ANYMORE? And that kind of spiral is going no where good, I guarantee you. Lists of accomplishments do not represent value any more in me than they do anyone else. I can’t compare myself to anyone…NOT EVEN MY PAST SELF. I am on my own journey and all that really matters in the GIANT BIG PICTURE OF LIFE is:
A) Am I doing my best to take care of myself so I can serve the people I love?
B) I am putting more good out in the world than bad?
I could be busy and present, or I could be bored and distant. There is not a perfect mathematical equation for happiness or success. Every day and every moment gives me opportunities to look at those two questions and choose a path from those answers. If I’m berating myself because I can’t wear those jeans I used to wear all the time last winter, then I’m not honoring the lessons of self-love I want my children to learn. If I’m stressed about my social failures with one friend I might be missing the signs from another friend that I’m needed. If I’m descending into critical thought spirals, I’m not in any shape to help my family or put good into the world.
I had a good weekend of shutting down that negative self-talk and giving myself tiny personal TED talks about self-love and gentleness and sincerity. I’m approaching Monday with a full cup of Kim Love and…
(Yes…I know that sentences is terrible and full of disgusting potential euphemisms. But I’m not turning back now…)
…I’m ready to share it with the world.