So the other week, I attended a morning yoga class. In this session the instructor said something so profound that made me think. She said:
“Imagine if your best friend talked to you like you talk to yourself. Imagine your best friend beating you up with all her negative self talk. Let go of the negative self-talk. A good best friend should lift you up! Not tear you down. Be that for yourself. Be a good best friend to yourself. Stop the negativity.”
I may have paraphrased a bit here, but you get the idea.
Today, I’ve realized how grumpy I am in the morning before a workout or attending mass during the day. Very irritable, snippy, and miserable. Fair warning to all: don’t interact with me until I have done either of those things in the am. I’m not the most pleasant person to be around.
Many people (my former self included) is often like that with coffee, but since that I have tried to change my lifestyle a bit, my new stress relievers have been either in exercising the physical or the spiritual.
The reason is this: prayer, mediation, running, jogging, breathing… all require full attention to the moment. It’s the one time in my day where I am able to turn off the constant chatter in my inner mind. To turn off the negative, critical, over-thinking, self-talk that I give myself every day. I do this when I drive, work, interact, everything. I’d like to believe that I am not alone here. Perhaps you have your own demons to battle with everyday in your inner monologues.
I generally think about the past, all the things I should have said or done. I think about the present, how I should be doing x, y, and z. I think about the future, how it’s not clear and how this frustrates me. The desire to know what lies before me and what direction I am headed is constantly nagging at my brain every single day. It’s exhausting and discouraging. I am my own worst critic and enemy. I am tearing myself down with all the negative self-talk.
The only time I am encouraging to myself is when I force myself to do something challenging. Whether it be to run/jog an extra mile, to motivate myself to attend daily mass (temptation to skip always weighs me down), to do the rosary even if I am tired and ready for bed.
“You only have .50miles to go… that’s easy. You can do it!”
“If you turn back now, you’ll give up. Don’t give up.”
“You really should get up. You made a promise. You will feel better if you go [to mass].”
“Come on, it [the rosary] will be quick. Only 15mins. That’s all, it’s the least you can do. You can do it.”
It is in these moments where the dormant part of me comes out, trying to discipline me to ignore the temptation to be lazy, gluttonous, or what have you.
So when people don’t understand why I NEED to go outside or NEED to go to mass. I say, it’s for my health. It keeps sane. It’s the most natural form of anti-depressant. It’s the one time I have to believe in myself and be kind to myself. To experience that positivity even if it is for an hour or half an hour. To be in the present moment with a radiant God and all His creations…that, my friend, is valuable time that goes beyond measure.
So I encourage everyone to try it out. Even for a brief moment, find a way to be a good friend to yourself.