Can you do it? Give yourself a little grace? Doesn’t it seem so much easier to give to someone else? Almost…more noble. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I can almost see the mental bruises on my face from my internal beatings. I have broken off relationships with people who have done lesser things to me than I do to myself.
After my divorce I decided no one was ever going to make me feel small and unwanted ever again…especially myself! I may not be able to control other people but I sure can control me. This “reprogramming” of myself has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. And, honestly, it is still a work in progress.
I began by looking in the mirror every morning. I mean REALLY looking. Not just a glance as I put on make-up. As I took a moment and made eye contact with myself, I wondered, “When did I get to a point where I couldn’t look myself in the eye anymore?” Looking into my eyes I began to speak out loud (yes, really) and I would speak words of affirmation to myself. It wasn’t just about physical beauty but strength of inner character. A rebuilding of the me I had lost over the years. In my youth I had been filled with confidence and now? Now I was just worn out and beat down. I would always end with “Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Today you can be anything, do anything.” I wouldn’t realize for some time how much grace I gave myself by letting go of all the yesterdays and the perceived mistakes within them.
Another thing I did was to become observant of how I spoke about myself. No more self-jokes and no internal sass. When I would catch myself speaking negatively about me, I would immediately rephrase it into something positive. What always stuck with me was a sermon I heard once. The pastor said, “Turn to the person next to you and tell them they are stupid and worthless.” Everyone was aghast! He said, “You can’t do it can you? You say they are children of God and you can’t speak of them that way. Well, you know what? You’re a child of God and it is time you stopped speaking to YOU that way.”
As time has gone on I have learned to give myself the grace I extend to everyone else. I forgive myself and make changes to do better. I no longer tell myself all the things wrong with me or all the things I did wrong. Instead, I give myself encouragement and the ability to make a mistake and learn from it…to be better…because I deserve better…and that makes me better.
So grab a mirror and get serious with yourself! I would love to hear about your experiences so please share!