Beating Myself Up (and other unhelpful hobbies)

Clearly you can have “runner’s knee” without ever running. I do. How I got there, I’m not sure.

I’ve developed my clumsiness and bad balance into a side show, as seen on social media–re-twisting my already twisted “runner’s” knee, dropping paint from a height for a maximum disastrous splash zone on newly painted walls and refinished wood floors….

For these things the internal monologue is ongoing and unkind. “You’re a clumsy idiot!” “You are mindLESS in a world learning to be mindFULL!” “What is WRONG with you??”

I wish the voice was of someone else, but it is mine. This voice that sees the humor in bad shite, this voice I find far too nasal, this voice that has to fight taking on the casual cadence of the Tennesseean….

My voice. My own voice doubles up its fists and swings away. My voice that knows I’m a bit slow to get out of the way of that left hook.

It can be exhausting.

What I think I’ve come to is this: some of us were simply born with more sensitive nervous systems. Our fight-flight-freeze-fawn systems are more easily set off. And without dismissing any of our experiences, we had stronger reactions than others to the difficulties of childhood and, well, LIFE.

I judge myself for being this way.

Would any of us think of being as harsh with another human being? NEVER! We’ve been told since early days that we’re being Too Sensitive, Taking Things Wrong, Overreacting. We understand the pain of having our feelings dismissed.

We often tend to be extra nice to others in our lives because why would we want to make anyone else feel as invalidated as we have–even possibly by them?

Would any of us think of being as harsh with another human being? NEVER! We’ve been told since early days that we’re being Too Sensitive, Taking Things Wrong, Overreacting.

BUT–we judge ourselves.

YOU are absolutely safe with us! We, however, have totally missed the point of “loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.” If we treated you the way we treat us? We would have zero friends. Neighbors would slide silently back inside their houses as we passed. Dogs would growl.

Odd to think about, but this can become a self-centered way to live. Our nervous systems reverberate for days from unkindness. We in turn think we are protecting ourselves by not “causing an issue”.

We will not stand up for ourselves. We will smile and be kind to you even when you are mean to us, because to say something would cause us to feel scary emotions that make our hearts race, our insides shake. We will stay in harmful situations for far too long because (selfishly) we think we are safer if we just shut up.

For these things the internal monologue is ongoing and unkind. I wish the voice was of someone else, but it’s mine. My own voice doubles up its fists and swings away.

TWO BIG THINGS–

ONE: if you are one of those gifted (and cursed) with being highly sensitive, embrace that wonderful you!! You are amazing! You are likely a great listener, a firm friend, and empathetic.

TWO: Relearn. Be that awesome friend to yourself! Get therapy. Take steps to understand that selfcare may mean standing up for yourself, saying how you feel, and choosing how you will allow yourself to be treated. Selfcare may mean not yelling at yourself for every tiny imperfection you’ve learned to see in yourself. Selfcare may mean allowing yourself to feel the difficult feelings.

My favorite mental health professional, my long-time therapist who has raised me (someone needed to) has been reminding me that what I think of as Triggery Badness is actually my body trying to keep me safe. To warn me. But sometimes when it’s yelling BACK AWAY FROM THE FIRE! there is no fire. There once was a fire, and this battery-powered candle reminds it of those flames. In therapy I have been learning to listen to my body, to assess the Truth it’s telling me and to weed out what is no longer relevant or helpful.

I will still be me. I will still get things like runner’s knees in a walking life. I will still spill paint. But if I can continue learning to be gentler with myself about all these things? Drop the unhelpful hobby of self-flagellation? I’ll be headed toward balance and peace in my life. #goals.

I encourage you to love your sensitive, triggery self! You are amazeballs! I know this stuff!

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