The Bully in my Brain
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The Voice in Our Heads
We go out of our way to be kind to total strangers. We watch our tone with our children. When the conversation is important, we measure our words carefully. And yet for a lot of us, none of these rules apply to the voice that speaks the loudest in our own minds. I wonder why?
We not only say hurtful and belittling things to ourselves, but that voice also has a tone. It is not sweet or kind; it sounds critical, judgmental, and harsh. In my health counseling practice I have spoken with so many women who repeat the same demeaning mantra over and over as if on a recording device. Things like:
- “You’re so stupid.”
- “You are so lazy. Why can’t you get your act together?”
- “You will always be fat so stop trying to be something you’re not.”
- “You’re weak…you don’t matter…you aren’t capable…”
And the list goes on and on.
We would NEVER speak to another person with those words or that accusing tone but we have no qualms about being our own worst nightmare. We would never put up with another person treating us in such a way. But if it’s coming from our own voice, in our own head, not only is it fine but we believe it to be true.
The Need for Self-Compassion
Two words have been cropping up over the past several years in counseling offices, in therapy books, and TED talks alike. Those two words are SELF COMPASSION. Most of us know how to be compassionate to others but are at a loss how to offer that same love to ourselves. In the words of one of my favorite Natalie Grant songs, she says, “You can’t be free if you don’t reach for help and you can’t love, if you don’t love yourself,” and it is so very true.
Frequently, I am asked questions about:
- Techniques for weight loss
- How to stop overeating
- Ways to have more energy
- How to feel more confident in my own skin.
As a fitness trainer, I know the scientific solutions to these questions but without self-compassion, self-love and self-care, none of it works.
Remember that the two greatest commands are to love God and to love others. Matthew 22 goes on to say that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Self-love and compassion is a commandment of God’s word. I think a lot of us have missed the mark on this one.
The body is the single most proficient machine ever created. It is beyond the measure of intelligence and efficiency and comes with all the signs, signals, and tools we need to be fully alive and functional. The problem is we have stopped listening. So many louder voices speak over us that we are no longer in tune with our bodies’ demands, wants, and needs.
Getting Rid of the Brain Bully
What if we made a pact with ourselves to remove that harsh, critical voice in our heads, and to honor our bodies by listening to its messages?
The answers to all of those health and weight loss questions lie in this formula.
When my body says:
- Rest–I will rest.
- Eat–I will honor it with healthy, life-giving nutrition and I will stop eating when I am satisfied.
- I am hurt–I will deal with the issue immediately whether physical or emotional.
- I feel like crying–Cry.
- I need a friend–Call one.
How opposite is this compared to the way most of us operate? We tell ourselves we don’t have time to:
- Eat breakfast.
- Deal with that hurt right now.
- Connect with others.
We push and push and push and completely ignore the things our bodies are literally begging us for.
Some of us:
- Make our bodies wait hours for nutrition.
- Sleep as little as 3-4 hours a night.
- Give so much to work that we miss out on the very things that make our lives meaningful.
We all struggle with these issues. However, we must find balance in order to avoid the consequences of an overworked, over-stressed, and physically exhausted lifestyle.
The body-spirit-mind connection is so strong.
The three are inseparable, so to honor one is to honor all. If we take this challenge we will fall in line with God’s design for us both physically as well as emotionally. We will kick the brain bully to the curb. We will treat ourselves with the same love and kindness we extend to those around us.
We are worth it and some of us have spent far too long believing otherwise! Since God’s own son died for one and all, HE certainly believed you were worth it!
Are you ready to start kicking the brain bully to the curb?
What changes will you start making today to live in line with God’s design for us?