Monday, May 21, 2012

Mama Bean believes she deserves it

We've all heard the cliches that change is inevitable. Of course it is. Time passes, inertia science et cetera...things change. 

We change. Be it for good or bad, maybe small but meaningful, maybe shallow and inconsequential, maybe deep but silent. 

I don't know about you, but I want Good Change. I want things to get better, I want to be better. Better body, better worker, better friend, better housekeeper. Better wife, better mother, better Christian.

When we look at lists like that, it's easy to flip it around, and see it as a list of the things we're not. At least that's what I do. And what it boils down to is these awful things I tell myself about the way I am: I amfat and lazy. I tell myself these things about the Present as though they are so True and Real that nothing can be done about them. And I've stopped looking at that list like it's something about the Future. Because my (untrue-but-true-in-my-head) Present is all I see.

The thing is, I can't hate myself into being better.

We can't hate ourselves into being better.

I can't tell myself I'm lazy, and then expect myself to believe I'm strong enough to stick to a diet, or go on another run, or lift another weight, or put the cookie down. (Or finally clean the bathroom, or stop yelling at my kids...)

I have to believe I deserve it. I have to believe I am beautiful and strong and worthy right now. That's the great paradox about Good Change. I have to believe I am already good enough in order to follow through on the behaviour that will create the good change. If I don't believe I am already good enough, guilt and doubt will blind me, and the change I want will become the same inconsequential or damaging change that happened last time. And the time before that.

Now that I see the paradox, I can't unsee it. That doesn't mean I love myself all the time, all the way. But, when I start thinking The Nasty about myself (my self! my own beautiful self!) at least I know how to shut it down. And that means I eat fewer cookies. And I go on more runs.

(But I don't have a cleaner bathroom... yet.)


  1. Interesting concept. I don't try to hate myself into anything... I do worse. I just don't think about it at all. Ignore it, thinking it will change on it's own. Never happens. Why is it so hard to put into practice these good things?

  2. I wanted to write an expanded post on this on my blog. It feels counter intuitive but it's so true........I think you have to get to some point of totally loving yourself, warts and all, to finally be able to keep promises to yourself to do better.

    1. I really enjoyed your post about coming to a place where you knew you really deserved it, deserved to treat yourself well, first. And you had linked to another blog post about needing to love ourselves first. It took some time to sink in for me! We get so used to the negative internal monologue :(