The blow came to the left side of her face. She hit the ground, landing on all fours. The pain radiated across her cheek. She hung her head and gritted her teeth just waiting for the moment to pass. Just then the breath was forced out of her lungs. She rolled to her side trying to regain her composure before the next hit. Finally, it seemed to be over, the bat was now lying dormant on the floor and she whispered to herself, “Get up. Keep going!” As she pulled herself to the bathroom sink, she barely recognized the woman staring back at her. She dabbed some cover up on her bruised cheeks. She tried to take a deep breath but her ribs seized up. She winced and muttered, “I don’t have time to cater to my needs.” She applied some blush to her cheeks and then painted on a weak smile with her lip gloss before heading to the kitchen where she could here her kids laughing. My babies, she thought. I want nothing but the best for them, certainly not the life I have chosen. She rounded the corner of the hall expecting to see smiles, but saw confusion flash across their faces. They stared at her bruised face and her hunched posture “It sounds like you are having some fun in here,” she said. She watched her children turn their concern into a smile to make her feel better. Her husband came up behind her and wrapped his arm around her for a hug. She yelled jerking away from him in pain. “I’m OK,” she said, although he didn’t believe her and she knew it. She truly hated being in so much pain that she couldn’t feel his embrace.
As I read this story I am angered at that person who did this to her. How could I stop it? Could I save her? Then I realized, I could not… she was the one holding the bat. She was the one throwing the punches with her thoughts of: If I am mad enough at myself I won’t make that mistake again. If I can say I am a failure first, then it won’t hurt when I find out that is what they were thinking. If I criticize myself to them, then they won’t be able to criticize me.
While the story I share may seem brutal, I share it because as women we don’t realize how truly detrimental our negative self talk can be. It is imperative that we create a healthy self talk that encourages and supports us, giving us peace and strength through out the day, rather than guilt, shame and agony. It is time to put the bat down and look at the woman in the mirror with appreciation, understanding, grace and forgiveness. It is time to be in our own corner encouraging, nurturing and giving ourselves a little pat on the back for being exactly who we are… women.
So who is in your corner? Before the match, a boxer doesn’t take 30 minutes hitting themselves in the face to prepare. They certainly don’t look in the mirror telling themselves how awful they are and what a failure they will be. Be in your corner. Be an encouragement to yourself.
Take a few days and begin to notice how you treat yourself. And look for way to let go of the past, drop the expectation of the future and just encourage yourself in THIS moment.