Invisible tears stung my eyelids; a hot dull knot clenched in my belly.
How come I always say the wrong thing?
How could I forget something so important?
Why did I do that?
I wish I were more like her.
How many ways can I put myself down?
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. the devil is real and smart.
He knows the best way to get to some people is by offering them riches and fame and sex.
He knows the way to get to other people is through food and material possessions and long work hours.
He knows the best way to get to me is by making me believe I am a worthless loser – and about a million other things.
I am ugly.
I am fat.
I am stupid.
I am nothing…
The list could go on and on.
For those suffering marital abandonment, those negative voices become a steady mantra pounding through our heads and our hearts, pulsing through our veins until they spread through to every part of our being, threatening to DEFINE who we are.
They threaten to disconnect us from ourselves and our friends. I’ve laughed with friends about things foreign to me like pedicures and beach houses while clinging to their words, trying desperately to have them make sense in my head, hoping those words drown out the pounding I felt even more than heard, the pounding that was so part of me I could barely tell where the voices stopped and I began.
Why are you here?
They don’t like you anyway.
You don’t belong with them.
They are too good for you.
Their lives are so wonderful because they deserve good things.
What do you deserve? Nothing. You are worthless…
And I’d laugh with them at whatever they were saying all the while screaming silently, “Please reach out to me. Tell me I’m not worthless. Please don’t think I’m stupid and fat and lazy and nothing.”
Where Does that Worthlessness Come From?
When we marry, we take another person as our soulmate. We plan to be with that person forever, and he becomes our soft spot to land. We know that, no matter how big a fool we make of ourselves in the outside world, we will come home to someone who loves us despite our many faults.
When something happens to change that equation and our mate suddenly chooses someone or something above us, if our love suddenly decides our badness outweighs our goodness, then our soft spot to land suddenly becomes a bed of nails and our landing impales us with an agonizing piercing of our hearts and minds; the loss of our soulmate even threatens our very souls as Satan uses negative self-talk to pull us into darkness.
Drowning out those negative voices and finding the Worth God gives each of us takes effort.
But it is not impossible.
If you use negative self-talk, think about this:
- You are not God – We are made in the image and likeness of God, but here’s the thing…We Are NOT gods! Why do we expect perfection from ourselves (and sometimes from others)? We must stop trying to BE God. Strive to do better, but be humble in accepting your imperfection.
- Don’t use past mistakes to make future mistakes – The Third Sorrowful Mystery of the Scriptural Rosary speaks a bit of Pontius Pilat making me wonder what Pilat did after Jesus’ death. Pilat made the mistake of arresting Jesus and then the mistake of bringing Him before the crowds and then of turning Him over, and then of having Him crucified, but after Jesus’ death, did Pilat ever beg the Lord for forgiveness – or did he continue making “mistakes”? We cannot be God, but we don’t have to be Pilat either.
- Forgive Yourself – When you do something wrong, extend the forgiveness of Jesus to yourself modeling it for others and as great practice in your learning to extend forgiveness to others.
- Love Your Neighbor as Yourself – We think of Love being extended to our neighbor, but if we do not Love ourselves, do we really want the feelings we have for ourselves extended to another?
- Trust in God – God didn’t make us to cower behind our human failings, so we have to trust that God didn’t make our humanness powerful enough to devastate others or ourselves beyond what He can repair.
I still have moments, days even, when I have to fight down the negative voices telling me of my worthlessness, but I am learning to forgive myself. I am human and make mistakes, but am learning my worth comes from no person. It comes from the One who can pick me up when I am too much ME and not enough HIM.
Thank you Lord for helping me see that I can be an idiot, but I am not an idiot. I can be mean and hurtful and spiteful and just plain ignorant sometimes, but that does not mean I am mean and hurtful and spiteful and ignorant. I am just me, trying every day to be a better me than I was yesterday or even five minutes ago, and with your help, someday, I’ll get there.
How do you speak to yourself when you do something wrong? What message does this send to your children about you? About themselves? About others?