Monday, April 19, 2010


My sister-in-law is amazing. She works at a center for girls who have eating disorders and body image issues. I've known this for a while but didn't think much of it. I also knew she went around and spoke to lots of women's organizations. Yesterday I heard her speak and I was blown away. She was so inspiring!

There was this one part where she had us close our eyes and honestly think about the things we say to ourselves. I should probably state here that I have a slight bit of social anxiety. I'm usually fine in the moment (except for the fact that I talk faster than the micro-machine man) but hours later I get all anxious, with my stomach in knots wondering how I could have said anything so stupid or I really should have made more of an effort to smile at her... etc. Anyway after she had us do this she had us turn to the person sitting next to us and say the things we had just said to ourselves. I didn't really want to tell the person beside me she was really stupid. None of use were comfortable doing that. My sister-in-law then pointed out that if we don't want to talk to other people the way we talk to ourselves maybe we should ease up on ourselves too.

On the way home from her lecture my mind switched over to writing. I realized the same process applied there. I would sometimes read something I had written and berate myself for how horrible it was and could find nothing of value. I know my friends do the same thing. But when it came time to critique someone else's story, I could tell something didn't work, but could still see something of merit. My friends did the same thing with mine. My good friend once responded to a new chapter with something like this, "I can see where you were going with this, however, it feels out of place that a werewolf suddenly turned up and as much as it's intriguing that she was chosen to be the sacrifice for the yearly ritual... it didn't really work with your nonfictional account of Gettysburg." Well okay.... that didn't happen because I don't write non-fiction. :) But you get the idea. They encourage me while still critiquing and pulling what I've written apart. I do the same for them. So if I'm willing to find the good in the bad for someone else, shouldn't I be willing to do the same for myself? Not just in writing but in life in general? I really should treat myself as well as I do complete strangers. Shouldn't you do the same for yourself? Just a thought.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

I love your idea of finding the good, along with the bad in yourself, to treat yourself at least as well as you would a stranger. It reminds me of a related life lesson I learned in my early twenties.

When I was pushing myself hard at the university in my second year, my half-Lakota mothter took me outside to look at her rose bushes.

She bent down and took a gentle fistful of dirt from around one and looked up at me with a smile.

"Farmers will not use the same piece of land every season, son. They give it rest and fertilizers for one harvest time."

She rose, reaching up and ruffled my hair, "If dirt needs a rest and nutrients, how much more does that overworked brain of yours, right?"

So I remember the lesson of dirt every time I find myself pushing myself too hard.

You have a lovely blog. Thanks for all the effort I know it must cost you, Roland

Lani Woodland said...

Thank you for your comment! :) I really enjoyed your story.

lindyb said...

The blog looks great and I enjoyed the message of this post. It reminded me of this cute video showing what kids can teach us about the power of positive thinking-
Sorry to make you copy and paste it, but I can't figure out how to make the link active.

Lani Woodland said...

I love that video! You are like the youtube queen! Thanks for the comments Lindy!