18 Dec Turning off the Voice of Self Hate
I had a moment of clarity yesterday when I was weighing myself (which I have been doing every morning for the last month). I was standing in the washroom wearing just my undergarments waiting for the second reading of the scale. In those few minutes I looked in the mirror and felt love for myself. It’s not a common feeling I get when it comes to my appearance. Although I am not unhappy with how I look, there are always things that I see about myself that I would like to change. I think this is something that most women experience (probably men too). My waist could be thinner, my arms could be more toned, and depending on what I have eaten that day, I sometimes have a little double chin. But I saw nothing of this in that moment. I only saw my body as it was beautiful.
Then I started thinking that I am looking at my body as how I think others might see it. Not from my own point of view, but constructed from passive comments I have received over the years from loved ones and friends alike, many of whom I am no longer close with because of this negativity. I thought in that moment how sad it was to base the feelings about yourself on the real or imagined perceptions of others. It’s not a thought that your rational brain would have, but it’s that voice of self hate that lives inside all of us. Some have bigger voices than others. Mine is huge. That voice tells me I can’t do something or that I’m not good enough. But this time when I was looking in the mirror, I was able to turn off that voice and appreciate my body for what it is – healthy and beautiful.
I recently read a book that has helped me with deal with these self hate voices and ironically enough, I stumbled on it while learning about photography from Sue Bryce. The book is called There is Nothing Wrong With You by Cheri Huber. It’s a book that addresses what self hate is – a voice in your head that isn’t speaking the truth. In fact, it’s telling you things that actively prevent you from moving forward and being happy in life. In her book, Cheri explains where self hate comes from and how to make it stop. I am currently passing this book around to the ladies in my life in hopes that it might make a positive impact, as it has done for me.
What I learned from Cheri is that you first have to acknowledge the voice for what it is. This voice is the voice of fear, of not feeling good enough now, and sometimes making you sad. Sometimes making you unable to do certain tasks or put them off. This voice makes you second guess yourself and makes you feel shitty. Have you heard the quote “Would you talk to your best friend/loved ones the way you talk to yourself?” which is always answered no. Yep! That’s self hate! You have to realize that this voice is not real and what it says to you is bullshit. Then train yourself to be aware of it when it speaks to you. Identify and label it as self hate. Once you have identified it, tell it to shut up and replace that thought with a positive thought instead.
That’s what I did when I looked in the mirror, I saw my body which was reacting to a newly discovered egg intolerance (which is why I have been weighing myself daily). I am doing an elimination diet, approved by my doctor, to determine which foods give me a reaction. All reactions are different, but this one was bloating amongst other things. So I saw my tummy swollen, my chin bigger and a whole package of reactions. Instead of hating my body for reacting and looking “fat”, which is what my self hate voice told me to do, I acknowledged it as self hate and promptly I told it to shut the F*$% up!
This is something that takes time to develop. Nothing good ever comes overnight. But is a beautiful moment when you are able to finally turn off that voice when it pops up. I highly recommend reading Cheri’s book! Self growth is so powerful. You deserve only the best.