Try a Little Tenderness
Previous The Bridge participant Jordan Stephens shares his perspective on a new kind of masculinity and why it’s so important…
February 5, 2018
‘You moron!’ ‘Why did you say that?!’ ‘What do you look like in that dress?!’ ‘Shut your stupid mouth!’ These were just a few of the vicious verbal attacks that happened to me daily for years. And who was the cruel persecutor? An abusive partner perhaps? A bullying boss? Nope. Myself. It was me. My inner critic using words as weapons against myself. Every. Single. Day.
For years I would judge, berate, ridicule and criticise myself in my mind. Like a relentless tirade of abuse. An internal abusive relationship with myself with no safe refuge to hide in. The running commentary constantly reinforcing the strong message of my childhood… ’as you are Donna, you are simply not good enough.’ No wonder then that I suffered from decades of low self-worth and depression.
The journey back to my inner champion was a long and painful one. It started and ended with tears. Over time and with much support I was able to acknowledge and grieve all of the times as a child that I was told and made to feel ‘not good enough’. I cried and cried. Tears of rage, hopelessness, fear, injustice and despair fell from my eyes until I was truly spent. Those tears washed away the dark filter that had blocked my vision for so long. They allowed me to see the world once more through fresh eyes.
And then one day a miracle happened. I noticed something truly remarkable had occurred. The inner critic had become quieter. It had changed from a shout to a whisper. Until one day I couldn’t even hear that whisper. It was drowned out by a commentary of loving and encouraging words. ‘Well done you’ ‘perfectly imperfect’ ‘You can do this Donna’. A new kinder internal lover had moved in. And she was great. And then more tears flowed…and these ones were of hope and joy and gratitude. I cried the tears of the living.
And so now when my tears roll gently down my cheeks, I do not feel the need to rush to wipe them away. For they are hard earned tears that brought me back to life. Those tears honour the younger ‘not good enough’ me that was harshly judged for so long. She deserves those tears. We all do. Because these tears are freedom.
May we all find our way back to ourselves through the wisdom of our tears.
Donna Lancaster – Co-Founder of The Bridge Retreat
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