A good friend of mine recently sent me the link to Pink’s song, Fucking Perfect. Saying she was running and it came on and it made her think of me and the words I have been writing in my blogs. It made me cry. Both good and hurtful tears. Good tears because it’s an empowering song and makes me think about the fact that some people accept us for our ‘flaws’and think we’re perfect the way we are. Hurtful tears because the film clip is so raw and eye opening and makes me think of the people that bully and hurt others and make us feel so unworthy.
These following words from the song also got me thinking about how hurtful I am to myself and how frequently I tell myself I’m not worthy.
You’re so mean, when you talk, about yourself you were wrong
Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead
So complicated, look how big, you’ll make it
Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game
Oh, pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than fuckin’ perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you’re nothing
You’re fuckin’ perfect to me
Does anyone else have that little voice in their head that never pipes down? I hope so otherwise I’ll have people lining up to put me in a strait jacket and commit me, because I’m about to talk about mine. It’s called your inner critic. And mines a ruthless bitch!!! Even just to start writing this I’ve been battling with her to form the words. I’ll think of a sentence and she’s there telling me how shit it is and saying why would you even think about writing that, what’s wrong with you?
I know without hesitation that if I ever put anyone down the way I do myself, I’d be called a bully. I’d be told to fuck off and never speak to that person again. I know the way I speak to myself is wrong and hurtful. So why do I do it? How did I form such a horrible habit that keeps my confidence at bay and triggers every single one of my insecurities? And most importantly…. How do I shut that bitch up and make her talk to me nicely?
I’ve been speaking to myself like this for as long as I can remember. My first memories as a child start from 10 years old and I can even remember back then that I was talking negatively to myself. So how do I break a habit I’ve held for 25 years? Where do I even start? The thought of how much of a challenge this will be actually terrifies me and makes me feel so overwhelmed.
Annnndddddd of course my inner critic is having a field day right now. Telling me if I was stronger it would be so easy to achieve. Telling me if I was like other people I could change my thoughts in a second. Telling me if I wasn’t so shit at everything, then this would be a breeze. I told you. She’s a ruthless bitch!!
I’ve read so many books on ways to change negative thought patterns and it all seems so cliché and to be honest, unhelpful. The one that always makes me laugh is when they simply say, just think a positive thought instead of a negative. Easy as!!! If only all habits were as simple to break. It would be like saying to a smoker, just don’t smoke. Easy as!!!
I’ve tried so many techniques that have been suggested in these books. Distracting myself with a rubber band that I’d flick when I would have negative thought. Positive affirmations. Trying to ignore the thoughts. Telling myself thoughts aren’t actually real. I’ve tried so many different ways and some seem to help for a bit, but nothing has given me that huge shift that has allowed the pattern to break and I knew I was hitting a point where something big needed to change. I couldn’t keep going this way.
So I was in a pretty bad place this week when I went to therapy and my inner voice was excruciatingly loud with some pretty hideous thoughts. My therapist asked what thoughts were going through my mind. I was scared to tell her. I didn’t want to actually admit to the horrific way I speak to myself. Even just her asking me to voice these thoughts, made me realise just how bad they are and I was ashamed at myself for allowing this inner critic to take control and put me down so badly. I knew in that moment though, that if I wasn’t honest, then she couldn’t help me. If I wasn’t honest I couldn’t help myself. I started pouring it all out.
The thoughts went like this. I’m so fucking pathetic because I’m single and no one is fighting to be with me. I’m so fucking pathetic because I liked someone and was fighting to be with her even after being rejected. I’m so fucking pathetic because I feel lonely and feel desperate for company. I’m so fucking pathetic because I want to feel that someone loves me. I’m so fucking pathetic because I’m sitting here crying. I’m so pathetic because I have no control over anything in my life. I’m so fucking pathetic for having thoughts like this.
She gave me a moment to let all these emotions out and then asked if I was comfortable with doing visualisation. She asked me to picture myself as a child and to imagine I’m sitting beside “Little Jess.” She then said to me “Do you think it would be ok to say those things to her?” It broke me. I couldn’t for a second imagine being so cruel to myself as a child and it made me realise that saying these things to myself as an adult is no better.
She then took me further and asked what it was I thought I needed to hear when I was a child. I couldn’t actually get the words out, I was so emotionally broken and disappointed in myself so she started talking for me. Saying that I am worthy. That I am loved. That I am beautiful. That I deserve to be treated like I am special. As she was saying these things I was visualising that I was saying it to myself as a child and the emotional release was enormous. It’s like I could feel these wounds that I’d carried for all these years were finally being taken care of and nurtured. I was finally feeling love. I was finally feeling like I deserve love. It was a beautiful moment and it has had a profound effect on the way I see myself.
Since doing this with my therapist, I seem to have a constant image in my head of that moment and it is helping me to slowthese thoughts. If I feel any creeping in, I try to picture saying that to myself as a child and I can’t do it. So far, this technique is working for me. I have managed to slow many negative thoughts that have started and show some compassion towards myself instead. I can feel a huge difference already and it feels amazing. I feel like a lot of pressure that I was putting on myself is lifting away each time I show compassion towards myself rather than saying hurtful things.
I’m starting to look at it from a different perspective as well. I keep asking myself how I speak to people I care about when they are struggling. If I had a friend tell me they felt lonely, would I ever say to them that they are pathetic for being single? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t even think it. So again why would I say that to myself?
It sounds so easy as I’m writing it. Why don’t I just speak to myself as I do to my loved ones when they are struggling? But it’s not easy. I’m finding it difficult as it feels uncomfortable to be honest. I’ve grown used to telling myself how shit I am. So now sitting here thinking kind things about myself, it feels really nice, but it’s also hard to get used to. I’m out of my comfort zone when telling myself nice things. Which is kind of sad when I think about it but I’m going to focus on that nice, warm feeling I get when I hear these kind words and keep imagining myself as that little girl that I would never ever be unkind to.
I feel like this is going to be a long road to completely change these thought patterns and maybe I’ll never change them completely. But all I know is that what I’ve done so far feels like it’s working finally and I want to keep focusing on it and keep working towards breaking this awful habit I formed.
If anyone reading this has these unkind thoughts to themselves, please find a way to stop them. It’s not easy and maybe doing what I’ve done won’t help you, maybe you need to try something else. But please try. No one deserves to talk down to themselves. No one deserves to be beaten up each day by that nasty voice in their head.
Please accept that we’re all perfectly imperfect and that’s what makes us all special and unique. Our differences are not flaws, they are just different. Please start saying kind things to yourself. I promise it’ll feel so beautiful xoxo