Remember that old saying our moms taught us when we were very young? “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Let me clarify that that doesn’t only mean don’t say it to others, it also means don’t say it to yourself. While, for the most part, people try not to hurt other people and try to be conscientious about the things they say to others, we tend not to be as thoughtful when it comes to ourselves;
“I’m a monster.”
“I’m just not beautiful and I never will be.”
These statements are but a few of the actual things I hear from my clients on a daily basis. Ever find yourself saying similar, not-so-nice things to yourself? If so, you aren’t alone. I ask you to check in with yourself right now and ask yourself, “would I ever say the things I say to myself to another person? Would I ever say to another person ‘you’re a monster?’ Would I ever tell someone ‘you’re hideous?’ Would I ever tell another person ‘you’re just not beautiful and you never will be?’” If you find that your answers are no, ask yourself why don’t you say those things to others? Is it because saying those types of things are incredibly hurtful and are simply not ok to say to another person? Let me ask you, if it is not ok to say to someone else, why is it ok to say to yourself? I challenge you to come up with a convincing argument defending why.
Although I cannot physically see who is reading this, I can be confident in assuming that you are a human being. As a human being, you deserve compassion and respect, not only from others, but from yourself. When I tell my clients that this hateful self-talk is simply not ok, they often challenge me back saying that “it’s different for me. I am a monster, I am hideous, and I’ll never be beautiful.” If this sounds similar to your thoughts, I again challenge you to explain why you’re different. Why are you less worthy of compassion and respect than anyone else? Convince me that you are less worthy of a human being than every other person on this planet. I do challenge my clients to do this, and to date, I have yet to hear an argument that convinced me.
If you struggle with having compassion toward yourself, I ask you to write down your reasoning as to why you think those negative thoughts about yourself and why you feel these thoughts are justified. Then, read it out loud. Ask a friend to read it out loud. When you can hear these thoughts out loud, it usually helps you to hear the meanness of them from another perspective. When we hear a friend talk badly about themselves, usually our first instinct is to negate what they just said because we hear how nasty the things they are saying truly are, and we know they are not ok. I challenge you to treat yourself like a friend. When you experience a self-hateful thought, recognize it, say it out loud, and respond to yourself just as you would if a friend said that about him/herself. This is in no way an easy task and you will likely struggle with it. However, working on this persistently and consistently over time will help to re-train the brain to do this automatically. Over time, the compassionate response will begin to replace the automatic self-hateful thoughts, and the compassionate statement will become the new automatic thought. It takes work, support, discomfort and consistency, however it’s worth it and you deserve the compassion.
To sum up: You deserve compassion from not only other people, but from yourself as well. You are a human being. You are NOT the exception by being the only person who doesn’t deserve compassion. Practice compassion toward yourself and persist through the discomfort of it. Seek support from your therapist when you are finding that having compassion toward yourself is difficult. Work with your therapist to explore why you feel you are less deserving of compassion throughout this process because it is also important to work through the core beliefs you might have as to why you feel this way.
Thank you for reading this. Please leave a comment or message me privately with any questions, concerns or suggestions/requests for a future post!
I wish you wellness and compassion on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder