“You are such a shit mum. God, you totally over-reacted and got all stubborn and mean. Yeah mean. You did. Did you even call her a little cow? Did you. What a shit mum you are. You are someone who is supposed to know better. Christ, aren’t you supposed to have this completely connected relationship where you are the the unicorn and your daughter is he magical fairy?”
Recently that was a summary of the noise that was going on in my head after an ‘exchange’ with my ridiculously tired and emotional child. That wasn’t the conversation I had with her. That was the kind of conversation I was having to myself. No, it wasn’t a conversation because that would imply that there was a two way exchange. So, not a conversation. A total fucking smackdown lecture! That is what was happening.
*insert slummed shoulders and exhale emoji*
Here I am again. I am sitting by and listening to the same mean arse lecture I have given myself for years. Most of my life. The topic of interest changes, but the content is pretty much the same. I am being mean to myself.
And honestly, it feels suck-arse. Really suck-arse. My shoulders feel tight. My gut feels constricted. My heart racing.
And my friends, this is…..great news!!! Really great news!
It is great.
Let me explain.
Years ago when I was sleepwalking through life, I would have been having these lectures going on in my head, like ALL. OF. THE. TIME.
“Oh my god, did you actually say that to her? Fuck you’re an arsehole. No one will like you. No one will want to be around you. You are a dick”.
“For god sake will you get your shit together? You can’t even compete one. single. thing.”
“You are such a fat cow”.
“You are not a good friend. A good friend would call every day. Every other day at the very least”.
“A good friend would know all about everything that is going on and it is your job to fix their problems”.
“You have no clue of what you are doing”.
And on and on and freaking on.
Exhausting. Hide away and want to cry kind of exhausting.
So, I am no longer sleep walking through life, but yet I still lecture myself? So has anything really changed? I mean really?
All that training. All that teaching. All that coaching. All those books. All the therapy. All the chats with wise friends. Has any of that had any impact? It would seem not if I am still giving my self mean arse lectures!
And the simple answer to that is yes…and no!
The yes part is that the fundamental change that has occurred since I lifted my head from the fog of unconscious living is this.
Once upon a time I would not have even noticed I was being and arsehole to myself. I would have just carried on being an arsehole and feeling like shit. And when I feel like shit, I tend to make shit choices for myself. It would have been completely normal and a cyclical pattern.
I perceive someone ignores me and I think I am not likeable and feel not good enough so I find myself in the cupboard shovelling food fast into my face.
I feel jealous of someones success and think I am a failure, so I engaging in bitch talk with others about someone who I was jealous of.
I feel let down by a friend so I think I am not worthy so I have more than one ‘enjoyable’ wine and finishing off the bottle.
I feel embarrased that someone has discovered I made huge mistake and think I am a failure so I get all snappy and bitchy at the hubby!
All done because I was feeling an uncomfortable feeling and didn’t want to feel it and thinking mean shit about myself and believing it!
And the feeling came because I was thinking something. And as I have come to see, the default position is to go to something mean!
BUT NOW I notice it! I am aware I am doing it. And this my friends is what it means to be conscious. To be mindful. It is just about paying attention.
This is where I made up my own kind of practice WHEN the mean voices begin. Not if. This is part of being human. And so far, I haven’t met a human who in the TRUTH of who they are, don’t at times speak like an arsehole to themselves. That last sentence..that is the ‘no’ part of yes and no!
Humans feel stuff! Full stop. If you aren’t feeling stuff you are either not human, a sociopath or someone who has endured a lot of pain that you have shut off the feeling connection. But that is a whole other blog!
So, this thing I am practicing more and more I think it is pretty cool and works for me so I’d love to share it with you. Because maybe it might support you when you are being an arsehole to yourself. And maybe you think it’s crap! It is the AAAR approach.
I read it like you are sliding into a warm bath and you say, Aaaar!
The mind is like anything else in our bodies. It needs to be cared for and nurtured and it needs cleansed and it needs trained.
If we want to build new pathways we have to train our minds.
Breathe in, breathe out! All the way out! Inhale…lets go!
It starts with Awareness. Paying attention to what is happening in the moment. What are you thinking? Is it kind? Is it mean? Is just some drunk arse blither?
Notice what you are feeling right in that moment.
Notice what that does to your body. Does it feel tight? Is there a tightness in your stomach. What is your body feeling?
Allow yourself to have the feeling in response to a thought. Not with judgement. Not trying to chase it away. Just feeling it. Like really allowing it and TELLING THE TRUTH about the feeling. “I feel hurt”. “I feel guilty”. “I feel like a fraud”. “I feel like I’m not appreciated”. I love Brene Browns “Shitty first draft” approach when we feel a feeling. You just write out how you REALLY feel, no censorship. None. So that if someone was to read it they might want to take you to the cop-shop to keep the streets safe. Then, destroy the writing.
Administer self love: Speak to yourself like you would speak to someone you love deeply. You might exhale and say something like, “Oh sweet human, here we are again. You are learning. You are growing and this is part of the process. You’re doing ok! Give yourself a break”! Or, “you’ve been working hard, doing your best and you are tired. Maybe take a rest. Ask for some support”.
So, you’re aware you are being an arsehole, you stop to feel what it feels like in your body and allow yourself to feel it and a.
The next part is to take Action from a place of awareness. You get to choose. You get to choose to do exactly what you were going to do, but you do it with awareness and kindness and from an empowered place rather than a victim and helpless place.
You still might choose to stand int he cupboard and stuff your face. You still might have that bottle of wine. You still might. But if you do, you do it from a place of awareness. Not of sleepiness.
But you might also go a speak to those folks who may have been hit with the flying debris of your unprocessed feeling.
The final stage is Reflection. At the end of the day, or on the loo, or anywhere really, you spend some time reflecting on your self awareness training. You might want to write it out. In a blog. Anonymous or right up front. Your life and the experiences you have had mean something. Not just to you and your experience but to the lives of others.
And this is my reflection. It is turing something that is painful and human into a service. It is the giving back. It pays homage to the experience. It means that it is a teachable experience. It means that we get to see that we are all in this together. All finding our own way. And as we do, we help other people find their own too!
Can you and me agree that we are going to be kind to ourselves. Not because we are perfect because we never will be, but because we are human. And god knows us humans need some serious kindness right now!
Be kind to yourself beauty! Because when you do, the world remembers how to be kind too!