Hey SoJ babes! I want to start out my first blog of the year with some unconditional LOVE for the both of us.
For all the fun and merriment we create and experience in November & December, we create an equal amount of shame and self-loathing in January. It sounds like this: I can’t believe I spent so much, drank so much, ate so much, etc. Now I must whip myself back in-line by bringing out my inner B (for those who find the B-word offensive, let’s call her Beverly, or Bev for short.) You know who I am talking about. She’s on your shoulder, chastising you, rolling her eyes, hands on hips…or she’s shrugging her shoulders in shame, shaking her head at all your weaknesses and holiday transgressions, or the worst, she looks like my high school drill team coach and has a perfect body, perfect face and will tolerate nothing short of that level of constant perfection.
Historically, our human brains create a Bev to keep us safe. But in this day and age we aren’t going to be eaten by a dinosaur or bear, so she’s not doing much good by constantly chastising, warning or berating us. Sometimes Bev is a recreation of an adult or experience in our childhood, who had the best of intentions, but actually helped to create some insecurity in us via some beliefs that may not benefit us. I.E. “If you are really skinny, everything will be perfect in your life, you will become really rich and all your problems will just melt away.” Or “Your dream life is just around the corner! If you can just do X then all your problems will melt away and you will be completely happy!” Or “You are not smart enough, good enough, from the right background etc. to have X, so you shouldn’t even try.” In truth, listening to Bev may just be doing more harm than good.
So now that we’ve ID’d Bev and why she exists, let’s discuss how to send Bev packing when she decides to invite herself into your day. Let’s start with Bev’s favorite time to visit. Usually, she’s unpacking her Away suitcase in your brain right after you’ve had a lot of fun or are thinking about doing something new and possibly risky. When you start to hear the criticism or frantic warnings, stop and ask yourself, is this me or Bev? Who does this sound like from my past? Is what she saying REALLY true?
Taking time to go for a walk, meditate for 5 minutes, go to a yoga class (see my last post, it’s time.) or talk it through with a friend who really knows and encourages you, can help you start to separate that voice from being an absolute edict you must follow into just an opinion.
Here’s an example of how I deal with Bev. It’s January and I’ve gained 5 pounds (again, read the blog post from December if you need to catch up.) My inner Bev is really trying to punish me for gaining the weight. She’s throwing her best at me “You do this every year! Why do you indulge yourself every December!” So I go for the walk, go pay penance to my yoga teacher, or call my Aunt Mary to talk it through. And what I discover is that like the weather, we also have seasons. Trees and birds change and morph with the seasons and so do we humans. I had a super awesome time in November and December and I am not sorry for that experience or for eating those crazy delicious peanut butter rice crispy treats (Plural) from my neighbor’s. I am not sorry for choosing to bing watch Marvelous Mrs. Maisel rather than attending yoga.
Do I need to punish myself for gaining the weight? Will that actually do good? Nope. If I aim for getting back to feeling emotionally and physically healthy, I can lovingly ease myself into the next season of good health and introspection without creating self-loathing or emotional battle scars. Because let’s be honest, if I drop dead tomorrow would I rather be remembered for enjoying holidays and life with friends or for constantly keeping a strict diet? Um, I choose the first option.
So dear friends, make a cup of tea, wrap yourself in a cozy sweater, jot down a couple times this week to get out and move your body. If that doesn’t work let Amy Schumer’s character in the movie “I Feel Pretty” motivate you.
Kate + SoJ