Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Gift Of Being Kind To Yourself, Part Two

Though I started this blog with the intent of helping others, a really pleasant by-product is how writing about my experiences of living with OCD have been helpful for me as well. In particular, while composing Part One of this post, I began to realize that I was starting to slip back into old patterns of speaking harshly to myself. And when my friend C asked if I could give some examples of speaking nicely to myself, I realized that it was an opportunity to do some good 'ole cognitive restructuring.

1. "I'm a filthy, disgusting, pig." Yes, I've said this to myself. More times than I can possibly remember. I have Contamination OCD. I often think that dirt/germs = bad/gross/unloveable. So if I don't keep my house as neat and clean as I think it should be, I think that it is a reflection on me personally, and that no one would want to be around me if they knew my house wasn't up to certain standards. So when I catch myself saying these types of things in my mind, I stop and say, "No, the state of your house has nothing to do with your value as a human being. Do you think other people have more or less value based on the state of their home? Of course not. What makes you any different?"

2. "I'm such a(n) idiot/stupid/dummy." Whenever I make a silly mistake, my first reaction is to say this kind of thing. Sometimes, I'm not even really serious when I say this stuff. I'm almost kind of joking. But you know what? Even jokingly referring to myself this way is unhealthy. When I catch myself saying these things, I stop, and rephrase it. "No, you are not _______. It was an oversight. It was human. Nothing more, nothing less."

3. "You're so arrogant. Who do you think you are?" Because of my experience with a severe anxiety disorder, and my level of recovery, and the fact that I am so open about it (because I genuinely want to help others), I get asked a lot of questions, by a lot of people. So I try very hard to share my truly honest opinions about what helped me and what I think constitutes good treatment. Of course, I'm no expert, and I always clearly state that, but people still seem interested in hearing about my own experiences, and my resulting opinions. And I'm so incredibly happy to help. But my Hyper-Responsibility OCD often kicks in and tells me that I'm giving bad information. And that I'm an arrogant fool for thinking that anything I have to say is legit. And the Scrupulosity OCD in me tells me that I'm not being humble enough, and because I don't read my Bible nearly enough (and I really don't - that's not Scrup talking) and I don't pray enough, so who am I to be saying anything? I'm clearly not leaning upon God enough to lead me in speaking to others. What arrogance! This is a time when heaping guilt upon myself is not helpful. I think it's better to say, "Well yes, I do need to increase Bible reading and praying. And I need to make a plan to do that. But I also trust that God is so much bigger than me, and that He can still do good things in these circumstances in spite of me. And the past is the past."

4. "You're a lazy slob." Yep, I stay in bed a lot. I procrastinate. A lot. Am I lazy? A lot of times I think so. But then I remember how I was before anxiety and depression really got hold of me. And I realize that depression is a beast that can hold you down. And I also realize that procrastination is probably just another word for avoidance, anxiety style. So I remind myself that I can't possibly keep up with others who don't have anxiety and depression. I try to say, "You are human and you are battling significant issues that maybe those around you are not. Comparison is deadly. Instead, you should try to focus on what will get you healthier for the future. Again, the past is the past."

In case you want more food for thought on the subject, I found a really cool post about speaking nicely to yourself that you may be interested in, just to get a little bit of a different viewpoint on the matter. My only critique on that post is that in my opinion, we shouldn't even think these things about ourselves.

Lastly, here's an important point. Let's say that everything mean that I said to myself was actually true. Does saying those things to myself actually help anything? Would it help me be more humble, or less lazy, or less stupid? Absolutely not! It would just keep me mired in the mud of self-loathing. As far as I know, a person enveloped in self-loathing is usually unable to move forward. So, whether I think I deserve it or not, I consider speaking to myself in a harsh or mean manner to be totally unacceptable because it is needlessly cruel, and frankly, unproductive. Give it a try to speak nicely to yourself. What have you got to lose?

12 comments:

  1. I'm guilty of self-loathing all too often. Thank you for this encouragement. Hugs to you!

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  2. Great post. I can relate to some of this.

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    1. Unfortunately, I think it is all too common . . .

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  3. Oh, Sunny, I hate to think of you or any of us talking to ourselves like that. But I do it too. I have begun to catch myself more doing it because I've realized what a bad effect it has on me. It doesn't help, as you say. I read something the other day about how we should speak kindly to ourselves as we would to a child.

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    1. Oh I like that! Yes, we need to be more gentle with ourselves!

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  4. Sunny, stop talking to my friend Sunny that way! It makes me cringe and she SO does not deserve it!

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  5. Guilty as charged. It's easier than it used to be, but i still go through periods where I'm convinced I'm a "mess," and my husband would be better off without me, and I am really no use to the world whatsoever. But I know it's not true. Or I try to believe it, anyway!

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    1. Oh I think my husband would be better off without me too! I often tell him that I'm sorry he got stuck with me! Which, I guess, is not being very nice to myself. Let's just say that it takes a while to absorb these concepts.

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