Affirm This

Sigh.  It’s been a month since I last posted.  And, as I normally do when I fall behind in accomplishing what I set out to, I am beating myself up about it.  The difference between how I beat myself up now and how I used to beat myself up lies in the response I have to my self-flagellation.  Now I beat myself up, I catch myself, and… (confession)… I repeat a mantra to myself. 

Okay, yes, I said it.  I have become someone who repeats mantras to herself.  I prefer the word ‘mantra’ to ‘affirmation’ because somehow it doesn’t sound like it was born out of therapy.  Which, by the way, it totally was. 

I am a believer in therapy, but I never embraced the affirmation craze.  With Stuart Smalley, The Secret and the phenomenon of the positive thinking movement, the idea of being one of those people made me throw up a little in my mouth.  What is it about hyper-positive people that makes you hate them?  I have a friend who repeatedly says the phrase “because I’m awesome” and I want to poke her in her awesome eye. But why is the idea of being kind to yourself totally hilarious?  And it absolutely still is.  I still catch myself beating myself up, saying a mantra, and then beating myself up for being a mantra-sayer. 

I had a therapist tell me once that I need to find a way to have more compassion for myself.  Something in that articulation of behavior struck me as a beautiful concept.  Compassion isn’t a word that we normally associate with ourselves.  But I imagine, if more people like me (driven, over-committed, demanding city-dwellers) focused on having more compassion for ourselves, compassion for others would come more naturally.  I like the relaxed nature of the phrase, and that it’s not about inflating one’s self-confidence.  Like, the point is to just take it easy on everyone, you included.  Give the world a break.

PS. This whole post was inspired by this outdated video that my co-workers, in our morning gossip session, couldn’t believe I hadn’t yet seen.  Considering how old Jessica is by now, I’d hate to think she’s already been swallowed by the apathy that is teenagerdom.

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