Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Watch Your Mouth


(Please, I have said this many times before: When I write a post like this, it is not to get your sympathy or to get positively affirming messages; posts like this are illustrative of the hard work we are all doing. Pay attention to the underlying message for yourself not to the details of the examples.)

I would never think to tell this precious animal that she is fat or stupid, and I would never use those words on a tiny human.  And yet...

Frequently, you will hear me say aloud, "Stupid Monkey!" (Monkey is my nickname.)

Marcy will immediately tell me to "take it back!"

It upsets her to hear me talk to myself like this, and the more I do the work that I do at the studio, the more I understand the responsibility we must take for the words that come out of our mouths (or that rattle around in our heads).

When I am teaching, I am super conscious of my wording. I think it through.

My students say that I am militant but loving, for example. I help them to be courageous and to expect more of themselves, because I know they are capable, and yet I get this across to them by using loving language. Through positive reinforcement, I help them to raise their own personal bars.

I would never think for a second to tell them that they are losers for not trying "hard enough" or that they are lazy or...you get the idea.

But I use this language with myself frequently.

Less frequently than, say, three years ago, but it's still there.

When I berate myself -- when anyone does -- in this manner, I am splitting.

From what?

Pain.

There is something painful in the moment that I do not want to feel and so I beat myself up with learned language. I am triggered and then I pull the trigger.

The key, then, is to feel the real, underlying pain and to face it.  Feel it and see that it will not kill you.  Feel it and ride it out and see that you are bigger than it.

Stop. Breathe. And ask yourself, what is really going on?

Or dance.

Stop. Breathe. And get in the body. As you move, hold lightly onto the pain that you expressed in a destructive way until it turns into a productive realization.

It will...trust me...if you are willing to stay with it, it will always transform.