I heard the ugliness leap out of my own mouth, pulled up just shy of the stove and listened to the words echoing back at me, reverberating off the Tuscan-painted tiles on the backsplash. “Lisa, you are so stupid!”
I didn’t even flinch. I wasn’t surprised by it, partly because I’ve heard it my whole life (mostly in my own voice) and partly because I’ve accepted it as truth.
It was nothing heinous I had done. It usually isn’t. It’s things like today when I had to remake the grilled cheese sandwich three times because I kept getting distracted and burning one side. Who does that—three times in one lunch? Apparently I do, and my auto-responder is primed to give me hell for it.
As I stood there today buttering yet another slice of potato bread, I found myself wondering why I talk to myself the way I do. It occurred to me that I’m not really consciously hating on myself—the wide-eyed woman I see when I look into the mirror—but rather that I am habitually spewing negative self-talk that I’ve simply gotten used to uttering. I don’t even know it’s coming out until I hear it.
I don’t know about you, but that is a feature of auto-pilot I don’t much like.
I got to thinking after a little introspection that I don’t genuinely dislike me—certainly not enough to purposely want to shoot such hate-filled bullets at myself. But I’ve discovered there’s an all but invisible bull’s-eye I painted on my forehead somewhere along the line in my childhood, and out of mere habit I keep catching myself firing off without even a ready-aim.
I wouldn’t dream of speaking to anyone else like that, so why is it so easy to turn it inward?
I’ve wondered most of my life at the fact that I rarely take anyone else to task for a mistake or misstep, yet there seems to be a fair number of people ready to jump on me for mine. Maybe my self-inflicted attacks are just my way of saving them the trouble. I’ve never considered that until this moment. When did I sign up to be a member of my own self-aimed brute squad?
And now I’m wondering, if I don’t stop bullying me, how will anyone else be deterred? If the woman in the mirror can’t count on me to stand up for her, what hope is there that anyone else will value who I am and what I have to offer the world?
And now I ask you, sweet friend—as you face the mirror, stone in hand, ready to throw—to join me in letting the Prince of Peace steady our hands and trace our real worth into the sand.
Because while sand and sandwiches matter, the Artist who painted beauty and value and abundance into the backsplash of our lives loves us so much more.
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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for this month’s FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart.
Lisa Easterling is a lifelong resident of the Tampa Bay area alongside her husband Steve, five children, and two grandchildren. A pioneer for home education in Florida, she has served in various areas of Christian ministry for the past 32 years. Lisa is a lifelong writer, editor, creative writing coach, and Site Director for Write Where It Hurts. Her favorite place to write is near the ocean, and she particularly loves helping others to fall in love with words. Lisa blogs at www.lisaeasterling.com and can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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