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Don't Fuckin Say That Stupid Shit!

*This post expands on Deb’s last post, check it out here.



“That old lady called me on my shit and it hit me like Mike Tyson in his prime…”

I sat down with my small group at a table that was linked to all the others in the room making a large U-shape. My friend and mentor, Marty, the doppelgänger of Jeff Bridges from Crazy Heart and Hell or High Water, sat to my right. My friend Brad (for the purpose of this writing, we’ll call him Brad) sat to my left. We sat in this early morning Alcoholics Anonymous group waiting for the meeting to start. This was a very important day and meeting for Brad. He had just completed his 30th day of sobriety and was getting his one month chip. For anyone battling alcoholism or in recovery, you know how significant that one month chip is.  Brad had become a father figure to me in the early days of my recovery journey. So I'm at this meeting because I was supporting a man I watched struggle with alcoholism. For the last four weeks, I heard about the traumas that he battled which ultimately led to his fight with and recovery from alcoholism. Marty was our counselor and also a recovering alcoholic. Marty had this way of giving you a hug that you could feel in your soul. You could feel it in your bones. He radiated an energy of compassion and love that I’ve never felt or experienced with anyone I’ve ever met. He showed me that recovery is a lifelong battle and journey that we must stay on top of at all times. That we must stay mindful of our vices and behaviors, and to give ourselves grace with our recovery. But I digress…  It didn’t take long into the meeting until an older lady, probably 65-70 years old, who was hunched over the table and holding onto her coffee as if she just had a long stressful day at work, raised her hand to speak. I don’t remember her name. Not that it matters because that defeats the purpose of it being called Alcoholics Anonymous. But for his article, let’s call her Rita. 

Her voice was raspy from decades of drinking, smoking and self admittedly, partying too hard. What she shared that day was amazingly heartfelt. But her words cut me to the bone. It was a hard truth that I needed to hear, though I had a hard time accepting. And the problem with hard truths is, they come at you full force. They hurt a little. You have a knee jerk reaction to shy away and ignore it. But after the initial sting, you realize it’s for your own good. And for the past two years and change, what she said that morning has resonated with me. Especially in the moments where I’m the most self deprecating. 

Rita introduced herself the same way AA has become synonymous for. “Hi, I’m, Rita and I’m an alcoholic.” Everyone flatly and seemingly unenthusiastically chanted back “Hi, Rita”. She said,  “I really struggle at times with the negative voices in my head that tell me that I’m not worthy and I’m not a good person. All the horrible things I’ve heard about me from various people in my life, and abusive relationships I have been in. The negative things I tell myself are the reason I drink. Because drinking makes the voices go away. But… I was thinking about it the other day, I thought... would I say these horrible things to my daughter or granddaughter? NO! Of course not! Would I tolerate anyone else saying these things to my daughter or granddaughter? Absolutely not! Would I tolerate my daughter or granddaughter saying these things about themselves? NO! I don’t want them to think these horrible thoughts. So if I wouldn’t say these things to a child or my loved ones, why the hell do I say them to myself?” That old lady had called me on my shit and it hit me like Mike Tyson in his prime. She was speaking generally to the group but it felt as if she were personally aiming her words directly at me. 

As soon as she finished uttering that last sentence, I felt a sharp elbow hit me in the ribs from Marty, and a quick kick to my calf from Brad. Both of them, simultaneously, making sure I heard exactly what Rita said. They knew I too struggled with that negative inner monologue that drives my self image and confidence into the ground thus feeding much of my depression and anxiety. 

Until that day, I never had the perspective Rita did.

Looking at that inner monologue as the voice of an authority figure over a subordinate, or parent over a child. That inner voice is powerful beyond belief. And over time I have realized that not many people understand we can actually conquer that negative internal recording. We can do battle with it and see ourselves differently if we so desire. We have to have the courage to say, “I am the ultimate authority of my self-image and confidence. No one else is responsible for it other than me. So if I’m ultimately responsible for my internal monologue, then why don’t I start saying the things that make me a better human? Why not try to boost myself up rather than continuously tear myself down?” 

Society’s standards and our peers tear us down enough. The message of society is, “you don’t make enough money”, “You’re not handsome/ pretty enough”, “You’re a sexist, racist bigot because you’re straight and white”, “People don’t find you attractive if you have a dad/ mom bod”, “you’re too old to find love again” and many others. These negative stereotypes and messages from society are thrown at us all day. Let’s not forget the childhood and adolescent traumas that are still in our heads too. Any imaging that was cemented in your head that made you feel unworthy or less than what you really are is going to be in your head whether you realize it or not. Many people don’t realize that it only takes one little comment as a kid and you can be traumatized for life. 

For example, my son was maybe 9 or 10 years old at the time of this incident that has left him scarred to this day. His mom took him back to San Diego to see family and they all went to the pool. Andy, my son, was a little tank at the time. Yeah, a little chubby, but healthy and happy. His cousins made fun of him and asked him why he was fat if they were so skinny. Since then, my son refuses to be seen without a shirt on. At 14, he’s jacked and in extremely good shape. He fights and is stronger than many of the adults that I have at the gym I own. But Andy already lacks confidence in his physical appearance from that comment. I doubt his cousins even realize they said anything at all. They were just kids being kids. But this will be a battle Andy fights the rest of his life. The point is, you may not realize that a seemingly innocuous comment could leave a scar so deep for so long. 

People tend to scoff at affirmations and “positive self talk”.

We are sceptical because we feel like it is cliche, unbelievable, melodramatic, corny or gushy. I know for myself as well as my friend Deb, we have both told ourselves, “I don’t even believe the things I’m saying, so why even say it?” The answer is… Because you fucking need to hear it even if you don’t believe it. And just because you don’t believe it right now DOESN’T MAKE IT NOT TRUE! So say the beautiful words you deserve to hear and believe because they apply to you, chucklehead! Think about the negative things you say about yourself. 

Would you say these things to your son, daughter, niece, nephew, mother or grandmother. Would you tolerate someone else saying those things to them? Would you tolerate them saying these things about themselves? My guess is, you probably wouldn’t. So instead of saying these stupid and inaccurate things about yourself, go to the mirror and look at yourself. Find one thing and verbally complement it. Find something that you can try to appreciate every day. Something simple. “I like my eyes. They are change color from gray to green to brown. They let me see the world and I’m grateful to have both of them because some people don’t have the blessing of eyesight.” Or “My workouts are paying off! I’m looking good, I’m feeling better and I know someone in this world will find it attractive and desirable. My tattoos accent my body and make it a work of art. My tattoos tell my story. I look good today.” or “I am worthy of love and respect. I give myself freely to my partner and I am honest in word and deed. I give love and I accept love from those around me.” Or “I am loved, wanted, desired.”

And if you can’t find wonderful things to say about yourself, contact Deb and I for a coaching session and we will help you find those wonderful attributes of yourself. Because no one deserves to go through this life not knowing or believing there is greatness within you. But again, I digress…. So… stop saying these horrible and self destructive things to yourself. You are worth more than than you realize. You deserve to see yourself the way others see you. You deserve to see yourself as the beautiful, kind, loving creature that you are. Don’t fucking say that stupid shit! You deserve better! 

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