I have to be honest. I don’t take criticism well.
It’s been a problem all my life. My second grade teacher once sent a note home to my parents that read, “Beth is a joy to be around. But she becomes withdrawn and quiet whenever she’s criticized or if I suggest she could do better. She takes criticism very personally.”
Then there was the time my boyfriend broke up with me. His mother told me years later that when he came home and she asked how our talk went, he said, “I don’t know, Mom. She never said a word, just kept looking at the ground.”
Now, as an adult in my sixth decade of living, I’m much better at constructive criticism when it comes to my work. Even my writing, which, along with air and water, sustains me, is open for discussion and dissection. (Just be gentle, please!)
Why are we so hard on ourselves?
There are tons of reasons why we women–particularly women with addiction–beat ourselves up. Some of us pack around the effects of abuse suffered for years or decades. We may have been victims once, but as a therapist said to me a long time ago, by staying hooked into those abusive patterns, we are no longer victims, but rather, we’re hostages held by our own thoughts, beliefs and attitudes.
Occasionally, when an overly full suitcase of stresses is dropped, those self-destructive thoughts, beliefs and attitudes spill out, like dirty underwear all over the ground.
And just like that, I feel insignificant and worthless again.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Listening to new messages, developing new beliefs
No one but you is responsible for your thoughts, which can be both a blessing and a curse. I am the product of what I tell myself, of the messages I tell the world about me. What are those messages?
If you asked me yesterday–the day I was the only invited guest to my pity party–I would have told you that I couldn’t do anything right. I would have explained in great detail why I was selfish and seldom thought of anyone else’s needs before my own.
Yesterday was a victim day.
Today is a victory day. No matter what dropped in front of you yesterday, stirring up your guts like a greasy, inedible stew, it need not affect today.
Say it with me: I alone am responsible for my feelings, thoughts and attitudes.
Instead, let’s work on those messages.
Here are five to get you started (Note: please read these as “I” statements.).
1. You are loved and lovable, just as you are in this GUS-inspired moment (that’s God-Universe-Spirit).
2. Your worth is not tied to what other people think of you; in fact, their thoughts are none of your business.
3. You are a radiant child of something much bigger than you. You have no reason to belief that GUS is going to drop you on your proverbial arse.
4. It’s okay to not like yourself sometimes because of something you’ve said or done so long as you always love yourself. Tweet: Remember, you’re a human being hanging out on the E-planet, not Jack and the Beanstalk rising in the sky. @bheretoday
5. Love is a great equalizer so make sure you’re giving and receiving the elixir of life.
My feeling of insignificance? Oh yeah–it’s gone. Miraculously, once I began to feed myself the right stuff again, the feeling went away. Since, there is no order of difficulty with miracles (A Course in Miracles) that means I’m back to feeling good about me.
What messages do you tell yourself? When you fall off the beam, how do you get back on? What messages resonate with you as true “shifters?”
Please let me know in the comments section below.
Photo courtesy of pippalou