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 This whole post was inspired by this outdated video that my co-workers, in our morning gossip session, couldn’t believe I hadn’t yet seen.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.