Ok. Deep breath. Here goes:
Why do we only remember the destructive things people say to and about us?
I’m sure the compliments we all hear outnumber the derisions 10,000:1. But do we hold on to those compliments? Do those kind words become the voices in our heads? Nooooooo.
It’s the mean boy on the playground who said he wouldn’t play on the seesaw with you because you were too fat.
It’s the high school jocks you overheard saying ‘she’d be hot if she didn’t have such a fat ass’. (Remember the pre-JLo, pre-Beyoncé 90’s? When having a fat ass was a bad thing?)
I have instant sensory recall of the pain I felt when a girl in my 7th grade class laughed at the way I had to adjust my shorts because my thighs touched and it made my shorts ride up.
I never wore shorts again. True story.
I grew up in an incredibly loving family, surrounded by supportive voices. Only one voice consistently said I was fat.
Guess which voice became my inner monologue?
She was an older family member, and she was obsessive about appearances. Especially weight.
I just didn’t measure up.
She told me regularly that she wished I wasn’t so heavy. She said it was embarrassing to introduce me to her friends. She said if I wouldn’t slouch then maybe I wouldn’t look QUITE so big.
See the picture above? That’s who she was shaming into feeling obese beyond all measure. Wasn’t I just the heaviest teenager you’ve ever seen? *sigh* SMH.
As an adult, I understand that she was just a product of another generation. I’m sure she thought she was helping. Perhaps she was trying to protect me from the judgments of the outside world with a little tough love from the inner circle.
Unfortunately, what she ended up doing was teaching me to feel ashamed of myself from a very early age.
I got that part down pat.
Her voice became the voice in my head. I heard her voice every time I looked in the mirror, every time I cried in a fitting room.
That voice didn’t motivate me to make healthy choices. It drove me into shame. It played on in my head for years after the woman in question had backed off.
Do you have these kinds of voices in your head? Aren’t they the WORST?
The malignant voices in our heads can be so strong, and shame and self-loathing can be so crippling. Unfortunately, they’re rarely motivational. Or, they motivate us into dangerously unhealthy behaviors.
Danger. Danger. Danger.
I recently watched a TED Talk by a man who was on the plane that went down in the Hudson River. He shared what he thought about when he was convinced he was about to die. His life priorities snapped into hyper-focus.
His inner voice showed it’s truest, demon-free self.
I would encourage anyone whose inner voices have driven them into the darkness to consider: What would you think about as your plane was going down? I bet it wouldn’t be your body issues or the nasty voices in your head. I bet it would be something much stronger and truer.
I would think of my how badly I want to watch my kids grow up, about the decades I want to spend beside my husband.
I keep the fight against my greatest fears and towards my greatest desires in my mind every. single. day.
What can I do to prevent the worst from happening? I will do whatever it takes. Even when it hurts. Because living unhealthy lives puts us on those planes. They’re just going down slowly.
Wanna get off the plane?
Give it some thought. If you can find something with a power that dwarfs the demons in your head, you’ll have found the power to do anything.