I have been noticing something as I grow.
I have a tendency to scold myself in my head, or to replay the moment where I could have done things better – seemingly in an attempt to punish or reprimand myself. As if I am not already aware that I could have done better. Kind of like an angry or embarrassed parent.
How do I feel when I am doing that? Well – I feel like a scolded child. And worse, it doesn’t help the situation at all, it makes me want to crawl in a hole.
So – I am learning to stop scolding myself. I’m learning to be the “gentle observer” of myself. I’m learning to accept myself for the imperfect human that I am.
This is not to say that I am not growing, or that I am not working to be better each day – I most certainly am. However, when I fall short (as all of us do) I am not sulking in it or telling myself that it means anything about who I am as a person – because it doesn’t.
Two phrases that I have learned to help me with this process are:
“How unlike myself in recent times to behave this way” (borrowed from William Wishart “Just You”)
This is a phrase I use when I do or say something that is out of line with the person I am becoming. (maybe I yelled at a fellow driver who cut me off, or I participated in gossip.)
The other phrase is “Isn’t that interesting…” (Borrowed from Amanda Frances)
This aligns more when my thinking is out of whack – like maybe I am dealing with a lot of fear or anger. Maybe I am feeding into it.
When I use these phrases, it opens up the door for me to explore further. To find out what’s happening with me under the surface. It reminds me of the person that I am becoming, highlights that I am behaving out of line with that person and allows me to explore further without harsh judgement.
I must remember to be gentle with myself. Just as screaming obscenities at a child isn’t very helpful in encouraging them to grow into a healthy adult – neither is screaming at myself.
I am responsible for my thoughts, words, actions and healing. But I am also responsible for learning to love and accept myself – only then can I change.
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