It’s cold outside. And it’s getting colder. Tonight and tomorrow, temperatures are predicted to fall to -40 with the wind chill.
We’ve needed to be tucked in.
And we’re alone with our thoughts a lot. Sometimes too much. After awhile, for me, my thoughts cycle and spiral downward. From time to time, I tell myself things which simply aren’t true.
Like I’m not good enough.
A recurring thought for a woman who somehow, somewhere internalized a message that perfection is possible. With the onset of menopause, I wake at some point every other night or so with an unnamed anxiety sitting hard in that spot right under my rib cage at the core of me. I toss, turn, and tell myself all kinds of middle of the night misinformation.
Maybe it’s my teaching. Or parenting. Or partnering. Might be something I said. Or should’ve said, and didn’t. Could be my body. My age. The wrinkles under my eyes. The workout I didn’t do, the call I didn’t make, or the mess I left overnight on the kitchen counter.
Maybe I didn’t get enough done or only half done or maybe I never started at all. This morning, I found last Saturday’s list and see I never did a single thing about any of it and now carry it all over to this Saturday. No forward progress. No box checked.
No doubt tonight’s anxiety could very well be last Saturday’s list.
As if it mattered. Any of it.
The words I speak to myself are bad enough, but I’m learning this perfection message filters down to my children too. Over the past week, my oldest son’s struggled with his own self-talk.
It wasn’t hard to miss: he sounded just like me.
No amount of love we receive from others is powerful enough to overcome the self-love and respect we fail to give ourselves.
All the evidence about who I am is to the contrary of what I’ve told myself in so many words for so many years. All I have to do is look for it. The reality of who I am is right there in front of me.
And that’s what I told my son.
You know how you sometimes feel as a parent that you might as well be taking to yourself for all they’re listening? This was one of those times – but in a good way – because I was talking to myself too. Bonus points to me because my son was listening carefully as well
I can do better.
I can speak kindly, think kindly, write kindly. Judge not.
I can treat myself … the way I way I want to be treated.
And I hope to perfect it.