Being Mean to Yourself Hurts Others

May 29, 2012Heal from the past

My hunch is that you’re not interested in actively hurting others, right? I know I don’t like to. But something happened last week that made me reconsider the way I treat myself.

Since moving back from France, I’ve gained weight. Even though I’m in good shape (training for a half marathon), I still can’t shed the extra pounds. I despise this. Holler at myself. Get frustrated. Curse my age. Eat less. Wince at the scale. But mostly I say mean things about my dilemma. Out loud. To my husband.

Poor man!

During one of my weight rants, he said this: “Mary, it hurts me when you talk that way.”

His words stopped me. I thought about the times my friends have done something similar, ranting about something in themselves they didn’t like. It pained me. Because I love each friend, it hurts to watch each one abuse herself with condemning words. 

Think of it this way, if you saw a person hollering at a child at the supermarket, and they were being abusive, you would hurt inside. And you’d want to rescue that child. Now, make yourself the grownup AND the child AND the crowd. Now you will understand why dissing yourself hurts you and others.

I believe we can learn to be kind to ourselves by remembering three truths.

  1. Truth one. Because we are created by God, we have value. God shaped us. He loves us. He made us unique. Because of that, who are we to rant and complain about ourselves?
  2. Truth two. You hurt others when you hurt yourself. If you can’t stop dissing yourself for your own sake, do it for the sake of those who love you. They don’t like seeing you beat yourself up.
  3. Truth three. Being kind to yourself helps you be kind to others. Giving grace to us reminds us that we’re fallible in need of grace, which then translates into grace toward others who are also fallible. We are to do unto others as we do unto ourselves. If we’re critical of ourselves all the time, this naturally becomes the way we relate to others. Ask yourself: Do you want to be a critical person? Really?

It’s time to stop hollering at yourself. It’s time to be kind to yourself just as you’d be kind to a close, close friend. You’ll find freedom when you re-train your mind and mouth, and you’ll discover a comfortability in your own skin.

Q4u: When has abusing yourself hurt someone else? What have you learned in the aftermath? Do you have people in your life who are mean to themselves? How does it make you feel?