I look for inspiration everywhere, and often I get it from Facebook. Sometimes all it takes is a quote from Gandhi or Julia Child, but it will usually set the wheels in motion. Yesterday it was from the Author Elizabeth Gilbert; I have become slightly obsessed with her these last few weeks and for good reason. She is an incredible human, so smart and creative. I actually want to BE her when I grow up. Yesterday morning she had a Facebook post comparing how we treat ourselves to how we would treat a dog from a shelter. It struck me to my core. When you adopt a dog or any pet from a shelter, you treat this new pet with love, compassion, and kindness.
She said, “Imagine this: Imagine adopting an animal from the rescue shelter, and then treating it as dreadfully as you sometimes treat yourself. Imagine calling that poor animal names. Imagine forcing it to stay in dangerous, toxic, or degrading situations. Imagine starving it, or cutting it, or making it binge eat and then forcing it to vomit. Imagine refusing to take it outside to see the sun. Denying it sleep or healthy exercise. Forcing it to consume substances that damage its health horribly. Putting it in the company of abusive people, who insult and degrade it. Working it half to death. Blaming it for everything. Yelling at it. Forgiving it for nothing. Denying it grace and love.”
How many times have we done all those things to ourselves on a daily basis? I know myself I’m guilty of at least one of them every day and admitting to just one is being kind to myself. Comparing myself to a shelter dog was the best analogy I have ever heard, and it makes it easy to see how harmful we are to ourselves. I cringed when I read some of the comparisons because it just hit too close to home for me. We deserve to be treated as well as our pets, so why is it so hard to do?
I also wondered, why do we let others treat us that way? I know the second someone even tried to talk to my dear dogs Grace or Lucy the way I talk to myself, I would punch them. No doubt in my mind, I would haul off and just punch them in the throat. Why wasn’t I as defensive of myself as I would be for my own dogs? It just seemed so logical.
As I sat on the couch Sunday afternoon with the sound of football in the background, I made a large and very hard decision for me. I am going to treat myself like I’m worthy of being treated. It’s interesting to me that I’m always wondering why we can’t all be kind to each other and all along I wasn’t even kind to myself. I am going to start being kind to myself. Every time I think something mean or unfair to myself, I’m going to picture Grace or Lucy. I’m going to imagine those big, adorable, squeezable faces and apologize to myself. I do realize that is much easier said than done, I’ve got 48 years of self-abuse to undo, but I am worthy of the effort, and so are you. If you aren’t a pet person, then imagine your child. If you don’t have children, then imagine your mom. Every time you say or do something to yourself, imagine first doing it to your mom, child or pet because you deserve to treat yourself as well as you treat those important people in your life.
Be kind to yourself and you will be just fine.
Photo Cred: @Lifeandstyleprint on Instagram who got it from www.themotivatedtype.co.uk