“I hate myself. I will never love myself again.”
Words spoken just last night by my seven year old son for an accidental incident that left him beating himself up.
And, while I was comforting him and offering him replacement words of love and support when he uttered those words, the truth is that when the accident occurred the very first words out of my mouth were less than loving.
And I hate myself for that.
I hate myself.
We might not always think of those exact three words, but how often do we feel that way throughout our lives, or on any given day for that matter? For things we do. Things we say. Things we don’t do or say. Things that happen. Ways we fail. Ways we let others down. Ways we let ourselves down.
Self-loathing can send us down a pretty nasty spiral, if we’re not careful. Not just in how we see and treat ourselves, but also in how we see and treat others. Meaning… the feelings that swell inside of us swell out from us too. I’m not a scientist or a psychologist or an expert in really anything at all… but I know that on the days when I have an “I hate myself” narrative running through my head, my interactions with everyone and everything I encounter are much, much different than on the days when I have an “I love myself” reel playing. Or even an “I guess I’ll do” soundtrack.
I don’t want my son to ever say anything like he said last night again…. and I don’t want him to ever feel that way again, either. But I know he will, because he’s human. And even worse, I know that I might sometimes inadvertently be the cause. So instead of wishing for him never to experience those feelings, I’m trying to feel grateful. Grateful that at seven he is able to articulate those thoughts out loud, to me, so I have the chance to help him flip the script.
We can all help each other flip the script.
Today is October 1st. October is, among many things, Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and today is World Day of Bullying Prevention. Many of us are wearing blue in solidarity as a part of the #BlueUp campaign to stomp out bullying. Each and every one of us can do our part to eliminate bullying, not just from our narrative but from our lives. And I believe it starts with individual acts of kindness and love. One at a time. Starting with kindness and love toward yourself.
Where can you flip the script? What kindness can you show yourself, or another, today?