For those of you who don’t know me personally or are just joining me here in the Mom Van, it’s important to know that I don’t believe in coincidences. So, when the Universe smacked me with two messages that boiled down to, “stop being such a jerk to yourself!” I felt the need to really listen then share what I’d learned.
The first sign came to me about a week ago. I was laying in bed scrolling through my timeline when I saw a picture that made my stomach drop. It was a drawing of a young girl hugging her mother’s neck. On it were the words, “If you wouldn’t say it to your daughter, don’t say it to yourself.” Agh! Okay Facebook. I thought this was supposed to be a mindless scroll. Shit just got real.
“If you wouldn’t say it to your daughter, don’t say it to yourself.”
I would NEVER EVER even THINK to say the things that I often say to myself to my daughters. It brought tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I pictured looking at my daughters face and saying the things to her that I say to myself in the mirror all the time. “Your hair looks like shit.” “You need to get rid of that muffin top, you look fat.” “You literally screwed up everything you did today.” “You’re a horrible mother.” “You’re a crappy wife.” I wouldn’t even say some of these things to people that I DON’T LIKE!
WHAT. THE. HELL?!
It shook me up. For the following days I made an attempt to think more positively. I fought with that stupid part of me that I let tell me I’m not enough. I plodded along until the second sign occurred while reading another chapter in “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero. This book has hit me so hard on multiple occasions that I’ve had to put it down and take some time to process. The self love struggle is real, especially when you got bad at it without even realizing you’d changed.
Anyway, I’m reading when I take in this line. “Do not spend your life clinging to the insulting decisions you’ve made about yourself.”
“The insulting decisions you’ve made about yourself.”
The Universe did not see fit to let me off with a slap on the wrist for being ugly to myself. Here was a big fat reminder that I CHOOSE how I think and speak about and to myself. No one forces me to have crappy beliefs about myself. There is no evil little monster that lives in my mirror and smacks me with a stick when I think positive things. I have chosen this. I have fed myself this poison and then tried to tell myself that self love meant yoga and bubble baths. Let me tell you, those are awesome but its a lot less restorative when you’re in a bubble bath thinking, “good grief look at the water rippling off that jiggly thigh.”
At what point in our lives do we decide that saying negative things to ourselves is okay? After years of teaching myself to see the beauty in who I am when did I stop looking in the mirror and saying, “My eyes look great today,” and start saying, “Damn, what bus ran you over last night?”
It’s like I had kids and decided that there were only two types of mothers: the dumpster fires and the picture perfects. Once I realized perfect wasn’t happening I fully embraced the dumpster fire. This doesn’t mean I don’t try to be awesome when it comes to my kids. It does mean that I’ve accepted the lies that I chose to feed myself. I’ve welcomed back the old doubts and insecurity and ugliness that I pushed away long ago. I’m not saying I should get all dolled up every day or expect myself to be perfect. That’s far from my intent here. What I’m saying, is that it’s not wrong to love myself too. That it’s NOT OKAY to treat myself like crap because “I know I can’t be picture perfect so why even try.” I am capable of loving myself and my family.
It’s time for me to learn a lesson from my mother who has always been my cheerleader and from my own parenting style. If I want to speak negativity to myself then I must first picture my daughter and ask myself what I’d do if someone said that to her. If I’d get mad then it’s time to rephrase and refocus my energy on something else. When I see myself choosing my old lies then it’s time to remind myself that they are exactly that, lies. I must choose every day to love myself, just like I choose to love my husband and children and all of the other amazing people in my life.
I am fun. I am smart. I deserve happiness. I am a great Mom and Bonus Mom. I am a successful person and I have earned and deserve that success. My eyes are still pretty and though this body is not what it once was, the story it tells makes it beautiful. The Diana of now is stronger than Past Diana ever dreamed she could be and I’ll be damned if I let myself forget it again.