Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Self-Love is Sexy and Good for the...Brain

My husband and I just got back from four days in Palm Springs, where we'd rented a house with a pool and pretended to be rich.  It was a good fantasy, the adorable mid-century house with the crystal-blue pool in the back yard.  We needed a getaway to turn our brains off and de-stress.

Just before we left LA to drive the two hours or so, we were a little late, and my husband was stressing out big time. He not only had wanted to get out of the house earlier, but blamed himself for not doing so, and thus, began a cycle of self-flagellation.

Leslie Knope does not approve!

I said something spur of the moment that kind of became a mantra: We're only allowed to say nice things to ourselves this weekend.

We're only allowed to say nice things to ourselves this weekend.

It may seem silly, or trite, or even rather useless, this sentiment.  But I found myself saying it to him here and there, and to myself quite a lot.  When I fussed over an outfit to go out to dinner in, being hyper-critical of my appearance...say nice things to yourself, Lucy.  So I took a step out of the negative lady programming screeched at us from every TV show, movie, and magazine, and told myself I looked nice.  And I did!  Cute dress; bangin' body (if I do say so...); sexy, wild hair.  What's not to like?

I did this again and again over the few days.  When I felt guilty for putting my writing work down for a few days...I told myself I deserved a vacation.  When I might have had too many margaritas and accidentally left the hot dogs out on the counter all night...I told myself that everyone makes mistakes.  I urged my husband to be kind to himself, too, and I saw him relax more and more as the days went on.

This morning, it was back to the grind for us.  I saw the mantle of responsibility slip once again over my husband's shoulders.  I gave him a kiss and said to him...let's keep the rule going.  We're only allowed to say nice things to ourselves in our heads.  Because you know what?  It works.  It's a much pleasanter brain to live in, this one that's being kind to itself.  I will shove out the negative, cyclical thoughts...and treat myself the way I'd treat a friend or family member who was being too hard to themselves.

In my regular life, there are certain sneaky hate spirals I go to again and again, brought on by the grief I've been coping with, or book sales and writing frustrations. Today, I stopped these nasty thoughts by telling myself that's not nice, Lucy! Would you ever say this to a friend? Then stop it, and also you look cute in that skirt.

I encourage you to be nice to yourself today.  Pay attention to the negativity you throw at yourself--I bet you don't even realize it's there, do you?  But it adds up, and it's so cruel.

I'll help:  Hey you, reading this amazing blog--you are only allowed to say nice things to yourself today!

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