In my last article I asked the question of what you do about our House on Fire. The question was just as much directed at myself. Here is another step towards the answer.
Where do you find answers to such fundamental questions but within yourself? So I contemplated, I felt, I went inwards, I observed, I read, I travelled, I connected with nature, with women, and with my womb (yes I should write an article about the latter, definitely!).
Sometimes, it’s just a little seed that all of a sudden fits into the larger picture. I only meant to share with you a story that life wrote the other day, while I was sitting in a cafe on the Coromandel Peninsula, here in New Zealand. By starting to write, the larger picture emerged. Magic.
For a while, I have been observing my self-talk. What I noticed was not all too pleasant. My inner dialogue was often very self-critical, and the “shoulds” and “musts” and “must nots” and “should nots” could be really mindfucking. They would swing me to one side, then to another, and in the middle I was left highly confused, trying to figure out the “right” thing to do. To make it even more sadistic, I could have well ended up talking myself down even more for being so useless and for confusing myself.
Then I realised that I did not deserve to be talked to like that, not even by myself. Especially not by myself! Mind you, these weren’t my voices anyway. I will have incorporated them from somewhere, at some point in my growing up process. They could have been voices I observed my parents or other authority figures say to themselves, to me, implying to me, or I could have interpreted actions by others to mean such things, etc.
Let’s get back to the story that I wanted to tell, in that picturesque little village up on the Coromandel Peninsula: Imagine me sitting there in a French cafe with a cup of coffee, writing away on my laptop with this beautiful view out onto the ocean. It so happened that I was seated next to the main entrance. The door was hard to push open, so that several guests struggled to enter. One older woman tried her luck, timidly. I signalled her to use more force. She gave it another go, without success. I got up to support her. As I opened the door, I heard her say, either to herself or the man entering behind her: “See, I told you I am useless!” Now, given I am an expert in such sabotaging self-talk, I told her before I could even think: “Please do not talk to yourself like that.” She looked at me surprised: “But I am useless, I cannot even open a door.” I repeated myself and added: “You know, I appreciate that you were cautious in opening the door so as to not break anything.” She replied with a deeply touched gaze and thanked me for having made her day. What a moving experience.
I know as a matter of fact that many, many people talk to themselves that way, not only women. We live in a world of “not being good enough”, of having to “DO” more. We learn early on, and keep ourselves, in a constant state of insufficiency.
This, fundamentally, is an expression of a patriarchal society: Where “doing” is valued above all things; where “being” is considered not enough; where there is a “right” way of doing things (and a “wrong” way); where “pushing through” is a virtue; where surrendering and softness is frowned upon; … to give only a few examples.
So while you keep talking to yourself with this self-sabotaging criticism, you feed patriarchy. When you stop it, you end it. Patriarchy ends with you.
Are you ready for the revolution? Go and start loving yourself. Truly, deeply, with all your flaws.
Photo by Chloe S. on unsplash.com.