lisainmirrorI heard the ugliness leap out of my own mouth, pulled up just shy of the stove and listened to the words echoing back at me, reverberating off the Tuscan-painted tiles on the backsplash. “Lisa, you are so stupid!”

I didn’t even flinch. I wasn’t surprised by it, partly because I’ve heard it my whole life (mostly in my own voice) and partly because I’ve accepted it as truth.

It was nothing heinous I had done. It usually isn’t. It’s things like today when I had to remake the grilled cheese sandwich three times because I kept getting distracted and burning one side. Who does that—three times in one lunch? Apparently I do, and my auto-responder is primed to give me hell for it.

As I stood there today buttering yet another slice of potato bread, I found myself wondering why I talk to myself the way I do. It occurred to me that I’m not really consciously hating on myself—the wide-eyed woman I see when I look into the mirror—but rather that I am habitually spewing negative self-talk that I’ve simply gotten used to uttering. I don’t even know it’s coming out until I hear it.

I don’t know about you, but that is a feature of auto-pilot I don’t much like.

I got to thinking after a little introspection that I don’t genuinely dislike me—certainly not enough to purposely want to shoot such hate-filled bullets at myself. But I’ve discovered there’s an all but invisible bull’s-eye I painted on my forehead somewhere along the line in my childhood, and out of mere habit I keep catching myself firing off without even a ready-aim.

I wouldn’t dream of speaking to anyone else like that, so why is it so easy to turn it inward?

I’ve wondered most of my life at the fact that I rarely take anyone else to task for a mistake or misstep, yet there seems to be a fair number of people ready to jump on me for mine. Maybe my self-inflicted attacks are just my way of saving them the trouble. I’ve never considered that until this moment. When did I sign up to be a member of my own self-aimed brute squad?

And now I’m wondering, if I don’t stop bullying me, how will anyone else be deterred? If the woman in the mirror can’t count on me to stand up for her, what hope is there that anyone else will value who I am and what I have to offer the world?

And now I ask you, sweet friend—as you face the mirror, stone in hand, ready to throw—to join me in letting the Prince of Peace steady our hands and trace our real worth into the sand.

Because while sand and sandwiches matter, the Artist who painted beauty and value and abundance into the backsplash of our lives loves us so much more.



Featured at Write Where It Hurts


6 thoughts on “When you love everyone but yourself

  1. oh Lisa. I had a stone, packed away now, with that verse from John on it, full verse one side, book and chapter on the other. Pick it up. Read. Put it down. For ourselves. For our homes. Our friends. Our faith.

    This moved me today, and in a good way. I needed to hear it to shush that voice that is always holding a stone. Always ready to toss one at me.

    1. You warm my heart, dear friend. I love the idea of a stone as a reminder, particularly the part about writing on them. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I fight that voice constantly, so sometimes I need to come back to things the Holy Spirit laid on my heart long ago. I wish you love and grace (especially for yourself) on this warm summer day.

  2. It’s scary how much I can relate to this. I was criticized immensely in my childhood, as well as bullied, beat up on, etc. Somewhere along the line of my getting those people away from me…….I filled in for them. Thank you for pointing this out in the way that you did. It is something I will try to stick in the front of my mind to practice stopping myself from attacking the woman in my mirror.

    1. I can relate, dear friend. It seemed such a natural progression to take over the bullying role when there was no one else throwing the verbal punches. I will be praying for you as you try to break that cycle, and I would love your prayers as well. This is an area where we can all use those reminders and combined prayer efforts. Blessings to you as you strive to speak more kindly to beautiful you.

  3. I believe I just picked up when my dad died and kept belittling myself. It’s funny because I recently wrote two children’s books lately and one of them is about a bully. Just today I told my daughter that I have bullied myself. And then I saw your post. I thought you brought up a lot of good points. Sadly, this will resonate with many. The good news is, maybe they will stop doing it. I know I am getting better at NOT doing it.

    1. This is so encouraging to hear, my friend. You are so right, though–there is hope that as we all share these thoughts we can retrain our brains (and therefore our voices) to speak positively over ourselves instead of being a mean girl to the girl in the mirror. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your heart.

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