A few days ago I sent the picture below to one of my fellow recovering girls, because she likes Owls (so let’s call her Wise Girl) and also because it’s true and we were just talking about it in group last week.
JN, our favorite counselor, had brought up the Golden Rule, which Wise Girl fortunately also advised me is NOT an actual commandment. I’m just saying, maybe if it WAS an actual commandment, the world would be a little better off… but I digress. JN said instead of “treat others as you would like to be treated,” the new Golden Rule should say “treat yourself as you treat others.” BOOM.
It seems pretty intuitive. You treat others well, you want them to treat you well, but for some reason, you don’t think those rules apply to you when dealing with your SELF. I’ve said horrible things to/about myself. Things I would never say TO or ABOUT another living creature. I’ve asked this before, but why is it that we are willing to give total strangers the benefit of the doubt and show them some basic courtesy and kindness, but we don’t offer ourselves as much?
So, Wise Girl and I agree that the way we talk to and about ourselves is unacceptable. We agree that we need to replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts (this reminds me, I MUST dedicate some time to filling you in on developing neuro-pathways in the brain in the next week or so). We are all still learning, but we are committed to replacing our harmful behaviors with positive new ones, except…
Wise Girl also commented that, like above, she has called her eyes fat in the past. I questioned how it is actually possible for eyes to be fat and she responded with a list of negative things about her face, to justify the comment, which flies directly in the face (pun not really intended, but once it was out there… what can I say) of what we were JUST talking about. By the way, WG’s face is absolutely perfect. It is so expressive. A beautiful portal to her thoughts and feelings: concern, passion, mischief, happiness, sadness, empathy, I could go on and on.
The point is, that even with the heightened awareness we have gained in treatment, we have been defaulting to putting ourselves down for so many years, that it is hard to just switch it off. As useless and burdensome it seems now, it served a purpose at one time. It explained the inexplicable. My flaws were the reason I couldn’t be loved. So if I got too wrapped up in the whys and the injustice of it all, I just reminded myself that it was my own fault and in my own power to change.
So what we are going to do is cancel all future episodes of negative self talk and replace them with anything we would say to or about anybody else. Let’s start with things we would say to ANYBODY, whether we like them or not. And maybe, as we get better at it, we can fine tune that to saying things to ourselves that we would say to people we care about, or, GASP, love. And just as a refresher, this golden rule is everywhere (see below), so it is obviously a BFD.