So, I just turned 28 this weekend (obviously, this is Sarah – Britt’s still a young thang)! Brittany and I got to hang out for Thanksgiving, which was amaaaazing! But as woman conversation often does, we turned to self-loathing and criticism. Why, why, why?! It left me feeling quite reflective the next day as I ran off my 2 slices of apple pie with loads of whipped cream (that’s right, I loaded it up then took seconds when the first layer disappeared) and sweated out the turkey deliciousness in the sauna. I had the epiphany that “No one hates me as much as I hate me.” I don’t say this as a pity statement or to beg compliments; rather, I say this because, as I’m assuming nearly all of us are, I am way too damn hard on myself! When I look in the mirror, no matter how many goals I’ve hit, all I see is “well, I could still stand to tighten up this part” or “woah – since when do you get bumps there?!” I can have only a moment to glance at my reflection and point out nearly every flaw within seconds. My house will never be as clean as I feel should be required, I’m no Paula Dean when it comes to dinner, my friendships have become strictly text relationships as I barely have time to pee let alone engage in any real face time, and as a mother, I will never come close to who I imagined I would be. This is what I hear all day long in my head. “You’re not good enough.” “But Brain,” I plead, “Didn’t you see I unloaded the dishes, while reloading the washer, while washing another load of laundry, paid some bills, and helped my son sound out new words?” Brain replies with a shrug, “Eh.”
I’ve always been a little on the tough side with myself but I’m pretty sure my extreme disatisfaction started upon Caleb’s birth. Maybe it’s because children are a reflection of us that we feel the pressure is on to raise these perfect beings. Caleb is incredible. For a three year old, he helps with laundry, picks up after himself (generally when reminded, although sometimes has suprised me by doing it on his own accord), pours himself cereal with milk, sets up chocolate milk preperations, helps with Jacob, is kind, loving, respectful, obedient, reads, can count to 100 with help, recognizes and completes difficult patterns, etc etc etc. But if the boy throws a temper tantrum of any magnitude Brain says “good job, shitty mom.” Shut up brain.
This is affecting my relationships, I see, too. Because I’m not satisfied with myself, I lay the blame at everyone else’s feet. Poor Scott’s been suffering for four years now! Granted, he’s not perfect but he’s not nearly the bastard I give him credit for. He’s a wonderful man. I’m really lucky to have such an amazing partner. He can see the me I can’t and has loved me (and still does) at my ugliest. I get on him about leaving a shirt on the floor or a dish in the sink. His weight. His job. His schooling. He’s not playing with the boys enough. He’s not playing correctly. He’s not giving me enough attention. He’s giving me too much attention. The list goes on and on. Often it’s a “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario. That’s enough.
So that’s it! I’ve had it with self-hatred! I’ve decided that at 28, I’m going to learn to love me. Truly love myself. That’s the hard part. Anyone can look in the mirror and say “Hey, you’re pretty.” But to actually believe it is a whole different tale! So, from now on, I’m thinking good thoughts. Anytime a criticism comes to mind, I’m telling my brain to “pipe down, you old bitch!” and will replace the thought with something positive. For instance, “Good job, Sarah. You only ate about a quarter of the pie when you actually wanted the whole thing. Good on ya’ self control!” 🙂