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January 21, 2013

Lisa Madras: If you hear me talking to myself — I hope I’ve got something good to say

NEW CASTLE — What do you do over and over again that you hate doing?

Um, I mean besides going to work every morning. (Just kidding, boss!)

OK, well, sorta kidding.

I mean, c'mon! Who really WANTS to go to work every day rather than lounge on the couch watching reruns of “The Walking Dead” while consuming ungodly amounts of chocolate pudding?

We all have to work for a living — well, most of us  — in some capacity or another. It's a necessary evil, I guess.

If you have a job you love to spring out of bed for every morning at the butt-crack of dawn, congratulations. But the whole loving your job thingy is a blog for another day. Today we're talking about more important things. (Just kidding again, boss! Ahem.)

I'm gonna be real honest here — I can think of a least a dozen things I do over and over again that I hate doing. And things like flossing my gigantic teeth and doing the laundry aren't even a part of that list. I'm talking about things that I shouldn't be doing, but for some unknown reason I keep doing anyhow. Things that don't make sense to be doing on any rational level. Like saying yes when I want to say no, or eating carbohydrates that I know are going straight to my thighs, or holding on to feelings I know I need to let go of.  

Please don't take this the wrong way, because I mean in no way to make light of abuse of any kind — that's not my intention here. But sometimes I feel like I'm in an abusive relationship — with myself.

•I speak unkindly to myself ("You're not good enough. You're not thin enough. You're not smart enough").

•I have conversations in my head with people who didn't care enough to have the conversation with me in real life ("How could you hurt me like that? Why do you treat me like that? Am I really that unlovable?")

•I poison my body with unhealthy foods and too little exercise ("Why bother trying? Nobody is ever going to love you anyhow. You no-good, worthless excuse for a human being. You've always been fat and ugly and you'll always be fat and ugly").

•And worst of all, I allow myself to be treated by others exactly the same way I treat myself ("You will never, ever, ever, EVER be good enough").

Frankly, if I were married to me, I'd divorce me. And I'd take me for every last dime, which isn't much, since I've never been good enough to earn a decent salary.

These are the things I do over and over again that I hate doing. It might be similar for you, or maybe it's being too judgmental of others, or drinking too much, or surrounding yourself with the wrong people. Whatever our acts of self-sabatoge are, in the end, we're the only ones who can change them.

It's really all about taking bad habits and replacing them with better ones. I'm going to stop bad-talking myself and start replacing those thoughts with more constructive ones ("You're valuable. Your opinion does matter. You're smart enough.") and then back up those thoughts with the correlating actions, like offering my opinion or teaching myself a valuable skill.

Maybe you need to start replacing every other mixed drink with water, or start telling your spouse what you love about her instead of pointing out her flaws. Whatever it is you need to do, and I'm going to borrow a phrase from Nike here — just do it.

It's our habits that make us who we are.

So here's a bonus question: Who do you want to be?


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