Part of my coaching incorporates writing. I mentioned that a few posts back when I did the “Shoulds” post. Everything I believe I should be and where I learned it.
This post is from another assignment I gave a client last week.
What are all the mean words and phrases you say to yourself and why?
It’s pretty self-explanatory. There are bullies out there, but they will never be as mean or inconsiderate as we are to ourselves. We know our darkest secrets. We know our true fears. That kind of knowledge is power, even though we don’t always use that power in a positive way.
So my list. Here’s my list.
- You don’t deserve your boyfriend. He’s too good for you.
- You’re never going to be a good coach or trainer.
- If you have PTSD and anxiety, how can you help others?
- You’re stupid.
- You’re ugly.
- Why can’t you just act like an adult?
- Why are you so emotional?
- You’re not a real a competitor, it doesn’t matter how hard you train.
Does my list look similar to your list?
I’m sure it does, I’m also sure some of you are in denial and that’s okay too. I’m sure that together we have the amount of self doubt to feed a small army. Make them full and still have leftovers.
But why these things? Why these phrases or words?
Number one is pretty easy. I never thought I would find a love like him, like JP. Cheesy right? But how many of you have said that? Have said that your partner is too nice to you, too good to you, but couldn’t figure out or say why you deserve less. I give what I can, when I can. Relationships are not 50/50 and we know that. Sometimes it’s 80/20, sometimes it 60/40. Sometimes I get dinner ready and he’s done the clean up, sometimes we look at each other and decide to eat out and avoid the stove and dishes.
Our lives have been changed so many different times this year.
May 25th – I found out that my landlord failed to pay the mortgage for almost a year and the bank was evicting me.
May 26th – My tummy tuck. We thought joking about poop as a couple was hard core, pooping with door open wasn’t anything big – well, have major surgery where you struggle to do things like that alone. Yep, game changer.
September 9th – JP moved home on our second year anniversary after dating long distance for two years.
October 13th – I went on medical leave.
We have been through so much and I’m constantly saying “if we can get through ‘x’ then we can get through anything, but sometimes, just sometimes – I do wonder if I will push him too far. Sometimes I ask myself do I deserve his kindness for all the crap we go through that I believe I bring on.
When I step back, I realize there’s a lot of stuff that has been out of our control, let alone my control. There are things I can control, like my weightloss, but there are others like the eviction that I can’t. I can be sad and I can be mad, but I can’t own everything as my fault. JP doesn’t make me feel like it’s my fault, so why should I?
There’s a lot of mean things that I say that relate to my own mental health. There’s a lot of things others have said about my mental health. I don’t think people understand that childhood experience impacts adults – being physically and mentally abused as a child impacts chemical function, growth and essentially puts the body under a large amount of stress that prevents many normal developmental processes. This kind of trauma follows you into adulthood and leads to anxiety, PTSD, ADD, ADHD and a laundry list of things. People don’t understand this because most people don’t experience this themselves or know someone who has experienced this. In some cases they don’t want to know because they don’t care enough or can’t fathom how the brain works. Your brain doesn’t just shut off or erase those memories. They may not be in the forefront of thought, but they still live there.
I have to remind myself this EVERY DAY. Control what you can and work through your triggers and breathe when you can’t control the behavior or events occurring around you.
Just because I have PTSD doesn’t mean I’m crazy and it doesn’t mean I can’t help others. It doesn’t mean I can’t make a difference. But like everyone else, you need to be able to say “I don’t know what I’m doing, I can’t actually help you.”
I told my therapist about number three and he said I couldn’t control the behavior exemplified and pushed onto me, but I can control the relationship I have with clients. I have the ability to analyze the situation and offer assistance because I’m controlling the pace and the interaction. I can’t own the actions that triggered me, but I can own what I’m doing to work through it and prevent it from happening again.
He’s right and I know he is, but again, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to not say these things to myself.
We say things about our appearance or our intelligence when we’re frustrated with something else. I don’t think that we actually believe these things when we say them to ourselves, but we’ve heard them from others so why not own these words too. Most days I feel pretty good about myself. I’m proud of where I am and when I look back at all the before photos, I’m reminded of where I never want to end up again. I don’t believe size equates beauty, but at one time I did. I used to call myself ugly because I was fat and who could possibly love a fat girl. But as I started to find strength in other things like running and lifting and I started to feel more confident in my abilities, I started to feel good about myself. I haven’t used my appearance against myself in a long time, but it does hurt when others try to use it against me instead.
Every now and then, I question competing because while I love it, I’m not blind – I know my body is different. I know there’s a scar across my stomach. People tell me how ugly it is and how noticeable, like I don’t have to wake up to it every day. I won’t lie – I wake up most mornings and forget that I have it. I forget that I had surgery, until I twist and pull something funny or look down in the shower. Yeah, sometimes I forget. When people ask about my scar and if that will prevent me from competing – the answer is always no. I don’t want that to hold me back from trying. Because you only fail the moment you decide to stop trying. When people ask if it will make the judges think twice all I can say is “I hope not, there’s a lot of imperfections on that stage, not just my scar.” I have to remind myself that in the tiny world that is bodybuilding and bikini competing, most competitors haven’t lost the amount of weight that I have. So while we all go through transformations, mentally and physically, the noticeable trauma my body has gone through may be a little greater – having surgery has leveled the playing field. It doesn’t just erase the hard work I have and still to dedicate to myself.
When I think about my list and I try to make sense of it, my head hurts. There’s no making sense of something like this. Why do we kick ourselves when we’re already down? Do we really think it’s going to help us pick right back up and work harder? There’s a reason those with eating disorders struggle to gain control after making what they believe to be a mistake – they figure I’ve already screwed up it’s not going to be much worse if they keep going.
If we can’t be nice to ourselves, why should we expect others to? It’s not even about treat others they way you want to be treated because I’m sure many of us confused what way we want with the way we are. Think about it like, treat yourself the way you want others to and hopefully that’s the energy you pull.
If you’re a single parent, remember you’re doing the best you can with the resources you have.
If you’re feeling bad about your body, think about how far you’ve come and the kind of you it took to achieve those goals.
Try to remind yourself EVERYDAY that you are trying and that is all you can ask of yourself.