As a self-deprecating girl, I will often call myself out on the inner thoughts I’m having but not saying aloud. I will joke that I’m “minding my filter.” This is a problem, and not just because my filter might wear out at exactly the wrong moment. Truthfully, this is not really what’s happening in my brain at that moment; I’m really thinking I need to do a better job minding my inner talk track – the place where those thoughts germinate.
While I would like to think I will one day reach a point where I don’t yell at other drivers (from the safety of my front seat) who make poor choices, I’m not striving for that - yet.
I want to improve the inner voice that is hard on me. The one that likely originated from those close to me decades ago, but is still hanging on. We all long to belong (to something) and think we don’t deserve the connection. It’s fear dressed in a different costume, fear of being rejected by others so we reject ourselves first.
We also separate ourselves from others by putting ourselves down, or putting them down. We’re not separate; we’re all in this life together, each fighting our own insecurities and fears. And I believe that part of the reason we are so very hard on others - from shop keepers to family - is we are even harder on ourselves. We’ve all got to give ourselves a break!
A lot of the people I follow and read are big advocates of us saying to ourselves each morning “I love you,” and it’s amazing how that freaks us all out - myself included. It feels weird or boastful or just like something we are not supposed to do. Think about that - we are uncomfortable loving ourselves. Whoa. Not cool.
Just be nice
So start more simply. When you do something well or good in the world, acknowledge yourself. Literally this morning I got the trash to the curb before the rain and said to myself, “Look at you getting the trash out bright and early.” Yup, start small.
On the flip side, start catching all those times when you are hard on yourself when it’s unimportant. Last week my inner mean girl was all, “Really, you forgot to take the trash to the curb again? Not exactly complicated.” My inner mean girl points out a lot of unimportant crap like that, in exactly that tone.
Also, start extending kindness and patience to the rest of the world, reminding yourself that we are all in this together and that everyone is going through something. Catch yourself when your inner mean girl starts in on making someone else “less than.” That’s the first step in all of this - just notice and build awareness.
Of course, with this newfound awareness you will then be able to “choose again.” Replace the inner mean girl thought with a more compassionate one; just be nice. It’s not complicated, but it is hard to do - I totally get it!
One last “pro tip:” don’t be mean to yourself for being mean to yourself! Love your way through this.