I have had a rough week. I have been struggling with my inner demons off and on all week. I came out of two different meetings this week beating up on myself; feeling that my tone was a little too confrontational in one and perhaps a little too defensive in another. That is all it took. A few sentences spoken with the wrong tone in two work meetings and it has unleashed a torrent of self-hatred.
I thought that I would have conquered these demons by this point in my life. But it seems that the hateful voices in my head are as loud today, when I am 55 years old, as they ever were. What do the voices say? “You are such a terrible person; so blunt and aggressive.” “You are such an insecure person; so quick to take offence; so quick to get defensive.” “No wonder nobody likes you; you are so critical and judgemental.” When these voices get loud, I have trouble sleeping; I feel depressed; I feel like I wish I were not alive.
I know where these voices came from. I recognize my mother and father’s words in these phrases. More importantly, I know that these voices have so much power because there is no counter-point to them. Nowhere inside me do I have loving words to counter the negative. I don’t remember my mother or father ever telling me that they love me. I don’t remember either of them ever telling me they were proud of me, that I did a good job, that I was good at something. I don’t remember my parents ever hugging me or kissing me, although I am sure they did from time to time. This is not about blaming my parents. They are good people. They were kids when they had me. I know they did the best they could to raise me. And I do believe that they loved me.
This is about understanding where the hateful voices come from. It is about learning to counter the voices; to forgive myself for being imperfect; to ask for help; to become a more secure person, a more loving person, a less fearful person. It is about learning how to be in this world without hating myself for my failings; to believe that people can like me despite my faults; to believe that people can love me!! It is about learning to love my self!!