You’ve heard it said “Treat others they way you would want to be treated,” but sometimes we are our own worst bullies.
Last week I volunteered for a senior high week of summer camp. I had realized something in the weeks leading up to it that was validated by conversations I had with some of the campers and fellow staff members: Sometimes, we are the ones being mean to ourselves.
I am a writer, so I am familiar with being my own worst critic. But I never took the time to look at how deeply I criticised myself. It goes beyond writing. It goes beyond grammar, and spelling, and plot. I critique the deepest most intimate parts of myself.
I was talking to a camper about forgiveness. She didn’t need to talk about forgiving friends or family, but was wondering how to forgive herslef. I related to her instantly! She was beating herself up for mistakes she had made, and it was holding her back from moving forward in her life!
A lot of the time it is more difficult to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive other people. Other people have the benefit of being a mystery to us; we don’t know where they were coming from, or why they made the mistakes they did… so we can give them “the benefit of the doubt.” But we are acutely aware of the excuses we made, or the lack of thought we gave to things that didn’t turn out well… there is no mystery or doubt when we are dealing with ourselves.
I have also struggled more than half my life with depression. Most of the worst moments I spent depressed, were the times I was telling myself lies; even if I didn’t truly believe them.
An inaudible voice in my head would mutter that I was unlovable, that I was worth abandoning and that no one would ever stick around, that I was an inately mean and evil person who didn’t deserve to be loved no matter how much good I tried to do, and that I wasted people’s time whenever I so much as spoke because I was an idiot and my ideas were stupid…
See the thing is, even when I am not depressed, I tend to give myself a hard time and be rough on myself.
Then one day I realized…
If I said half the things I thought at myself, out loud to another person, I would be sick with guilt.
If I heard someone else say those things to someone else in front of me, I would tell them off, and think they were a major bitch (excuse my language, but I feel that strongly about it), that’s if I didn’t throw a punch at them for being so cruel!
That was the day I realized I was a bully. I wasn’t making fun of anyone else. I wasn’t giving anyone a hard time. But I was tearing myself apart. I wasn’t giving myself any grace, or mercy, or forgiveness. I was so ready to hand all of those good and lovely things out to everyone, but myself.
I decided then and there, I was going to follow a new rule when it came to my thoughts. If I wouldn’t say it to another person, in front of a crowd, then I shouldn’t say it to myself.
Self improvement can be sought without ripping yourself to shreds. So if you’re like me, and you’ve been your own worst enemy, BE KIND to yourself! Treat yourself the way you would have other people treat you. Remember to be a friend to yourself.
You have to respect yourself if you expect anyone else to. It doesn’t matter how nice other people are to you, if you’re throwing punches on the inside.
Life is hard enough, everyone makes mistakes, so show yourself some love and grace. Have mercy! Give yourself a break! You can always try again and do better tomorrow.
Self-bullying lowers your self esteem and steals your confidence.
Don’t do that to yourself!
I promise you, you are worthy of love.
It is imperative that you remember to love yourself.
So, BE KIND friends!