I talk to myself a lot. It’s the joy of being an introvert. When I stop to think about it though more than talking to myself I disagree with myself. I talk down to myself and I question my actions almost on a daily level. I disagree, I second guess and I never come out on top. I’m mean, I’m harsh and brutal when I talk to myself.
Why is it acceptable to self-harm with words?
As a writer, I know the value of words. I know that they are sharper than any knife and can cut deeper than anyone can see. I also know this as a survivor of an abusive relationship. His main form of abuse was verbal. I survived because I left him. I would not let his vile words weasel their way into my daughter’s brain like they had mine. I ran to protect her and in doing so I saved myself. It has taken me 20 years to get over those words I thought would end me. They tainted my soul and covered me in shame and self-loathing. Yet today here I am. Happy, strong and proud to talk about that experience.
Yet I continue to have internal conversations with myself that are hurtful, shameful and damaging. I feel like an addict at times. I don’t like how it makes me feel but more often than I like to admit I tell myself ugly things. I know what I am doing is harmful but I keep doing it.
I am not enough.
I am not a good enough mother.
I am going to fail so why try.
I am not a good Christian.
Even as I say harsh things to myself I am in disagreement with them. I know saying them goes against what God wants for me. If I wouldn’t allow others to speak that way I have to stop speaking harm to myself. Can you ever really win an argument with yourself?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
I listen to myself tell my now 20 year old daughter that she is good enough. She is in college and trying to find her way in life as a person. A whole person who is more than she was yesterday but not yet who she will become. I tell her to go easy on herself, give herself time to learn and grow. I remind her to keep searching. Keep asking the hard questions and when she does take time to stop and listen for the answers she will be given. At that moment it’s like a slap to the face! It almost takes my breath away when I step back and let what I have just said wash over me.
When I thought I was arguing with myself and no one else was listening, I was wrong. There was another person there with me and he was giving me the rest of the conversation. The words I spoke to her echo over in my own mind. He has always been there…but when Jesus tries to enter the conversation, I shut him out. I tell myself I am not worthy of the things He would say to me. His truths might be painful, the words he wants to give me might be hard to swallow at times, so I just shut him out. The lies I tell myself, the ones cause such internal debate I have come to realize aren’t really lies at all. I talk too much and forget to listen for the rest of the conversation.
I am not enough… Alone I am not enough so I must remember I am never alone when God is with me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
I am not a good enough mother… God has given me all my children will need from me.
God can bless you with everything you need, and you will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others. 2 Corinthians 9:8
I am going to fail so why try… I may mess up sometimes but the only true failure is to stop trying.
The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked. Proverbs 24:16
I am not a good enough Christian…and as a human I never will be, good enough and that is perfect.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
I will continue to disagree with myself I am sure. Old habits die hard. I can however promise that I will be kinder when I disagree. I will take the time to listen to not just what I think I am telling myself but what God is telling me also. I will remember that I am a survivor and I will not be talked to like that ever again. Not even if it comes from myself.