If asked whether or not we support physical, emotional, or psychological abuse most of us would respond with a resounding NO WAY! But I’m going to go ahead and tell you: You’d be lying.
And this is why:
Boldly speaking, most of us are way too emotionally, psychologically, and even physically abusive with ourselves, if not frequently, than regularly.
Physically: some of us over eat, under eat, or just eat crap. We over exercise, under exercise and put our bodies through the wringer on a regular basis. And I’m not even getting into the abuse we inflict on ourselves through excessive drinking, smoking, drug taking or self-harm behaviours.
Emotionally: we call ourselves down and verbally assault ourselves for any mishap, accident, or misstep with names like stupid, failure, idiot, crazy, dumb, loser, pathetic, weak, unlovable, and worthless (and I’ll bet you can add a few to this list without even skipping a beat)
Psychologically: we reprimand ourselves for not being perfect, for not having it all together, for not doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or sometimes even thinking the right thing in every situation all the time.
Still think you don’t condone violence?
But where does it come from and why do we think it’s okay?
Is it because this is how many were parented? Meaning the old school way of parenting being about criticizing and calling your child down in order to get them to do what you want and act in the way you think they should? So now we think that’s what we need to do to get ourselves to behave? To humiliate, berate, and beat ourselves in to action?
I’m sure you already know, but just to remind you: tons and tons of research has come out over the past few decades to show this is, in fact, not how children grow and learn and thrive.
In order to raise a confident, self-assured, secure, respectful, kind, responsible, and loving human being we have to go about parenting in a totally different way than most of our parents (and maybe even some of us) were taught.
When a child misbehaves we acknowledge them, we show understanding, we talk to them and give them a chance to speak and be heard. We ask them to try and express what they are feeling, talk about what they are feeling and help them work through what they are feeling. We encourage them for the things they do well and the strengths they demonstrate, and most of all we love them unconditionally.
Yes, abusing a child by criticizing, threatening, shaming, and humiliating them will likely get them to do what you want them to in that particular moment. But at what cost? And is getting them to obey now worth the long-term collateral damage it’s going to cause later on?
So then why do we insist on treating ourselves in the same horrible way?
What if we too could learn to acknowledge ourselves? To show ourselves compassion and understanding. To listen to ourselves. To tune in to what’s really going on deep inside. To let ourselves be imperfect sometimes. To accidentally make a mistake and forgive ourselves for it instead of beating ourselves up to no avail.
To allow ourselves to become a blubbering puddle of a mess every once and awhile without calling ourselves weak and pathetic. To recognize and celebrate our strengths and the incredible, or maybe even just the ordinary, things that make us exactly who we are.
To allow ourselves to recognize our weaknesses and give ourselves the time and space to work on them. To let ourselves be human rather than punishing ourselves for not having it all together all the time.
What if we could learn to love ourselves unconditionally?
Now you might think it may not be in my best interest to publicly spread this message and call for a societal change, because my job involves getting paid to help people undo all this damage done by both themselves and others.
But don’t worry, if we all agree to stop this nonsense and start being WAY more kind and compassionate with ourselves I’m more than happy to find something else to do with my days.
If you enjoyed this, please do share it. And if you do, let me know so I can thank you!