Last night as I got half way down the street from dropping a friend at her house,
I noticed that there was a war of hatred going on in my head.
During the short drive to her house I’d somehow got onto the subject of how it had recently really hit home that probably hundreds if not thousands of people have judged the bejaysus out of me me and/or continue to do so for putting a lot of my life out there on social media.
It’s something that I’ve known since the start, but it’s been on my mind a lot more lately after my run in with the chick at the wedding that I wrote about here: <When Someone is Judging You and You Want to Kick Them a Little Bit>
Within 10 minutes the conversation in the car had taken a turn for the more serious, and somehow, as seems to often happen with this friend,
I ended up feeling really vulnerable like I’d accidentally just shared a negative side of myself that I didn’t mean to bring up so randomly,
especially as I don’t know this friend very well yet.
She is particularly empathetic and often seems to effortlessly draw out things I’m struggling with in a way that makes me feel like I’m whinging and I often feel like I’m putting her in the position where she has to try and make me feel better.Which is never my intention.
By the end of the street my mind, Neville, was megaphoning in my ear
“THIS is why no one likes you, you’re not fun enough, you make things too serious, she no doubt thinks you’re a dick and she probably couldn’t get out of the car fast enough”.
Female friendships are not my forte. If there is one thing I can safely say has been a lifelong struggle for me that I’ve still yet to overcome despite years of self-development, it’s female friendships.
And so, it was a bit of a shock to me that when I noticed the hatred my mind was raining down on me, instead of nodding in agreement and continuing the barrage against myself for being so socially inept, I shook my head in bemusement and thought to myself “ah, THIS would be a good moment for self compassion”.
So I gave it a shot, and had a little chat with myself in my head.
“You’re allowed to be negative sometimes, you’re not perfect, whether she thinks you’re an annoying whinger or not, you’re ok,
you’re just trying your best. And let’s be honest, Andrea, it’s usually never as bad as we think it is”.
Then I had a little moment of triumph and I finally understood how powerful self-compassion can be.
Then Neville went back to telling me I’m a useless human who no one wants to get too close to.
For the rest of the drive home I alternated between overanalysis and disappointment in myself, interspersed with moments of bringing myself back to present reality with a pinch of compassion thrown in here and there.
“You’re not perfect. It’s ok not to be perfect.”
The realisation that I was hating on myself was all it took to slightly unhook myself from the spiral, just enough that it never descended into anything too major, and by the time I got home I felt relatively fine, just with a background tinge of failure.
This self-compassion thing, it’s a massive work in progress,
there are road cones everywhere and some guy with a hard hat keeps putting a halt to my journey with a battered old stop sign.
But I’m pretty sure it has the potential to be as life changing for me as mindfulness has been.
I hope that mine and Neville’s journey with intermittent self-loathing will help you somewhat if you notice your mind being a bit of a bastard towards you,
and that you’ll join me in interspersing your self-judgement with flecks of compassion.
En route to becoming self-compassion masters, obviously.
We’re not perfect.
And that’s ok.