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Is your Brain Gut-Punching You?


As children, many of us were taught the familiar rhyme that starts with "sticks and stones my break may bones. . . "

But sometimes words and names really do hurt, don't they?

Yes, but only if they're coming from inside your own brain.

And sometimes, our brains really throw us a gut punch.

I call them "gut punch thoughts."

The "gut punch thought" is a little sentence that stealthily rolls through your brain.  You don't instantly recognize it as a threat or an intruder, because it is familiar.

You 've been thinking it your entire adult life.

It's a little sentence that sounds -- on the surface -- so. . . true. . . appropriate. . . almost inspirational.

Sometimes it dresses in slightly different outfits.  Y'know, just to trick you into thinking it belongs right where it is.

But when you say the sentence to yourself, how does it feel?

Really.  Do it right now.

Do you have that sinking feeling, like your heart is falling into your stomach?

Like you got the wind knocked out of you?

Then it's a "gut punch thought."

And it usually has something to do with you believing that you're not good enough.  It has something to do with following a manual that you did not write.  In fact, not only did you not write the manual, you're not even sure who did, or if they were qualified, but you're falling in line anyway.

It may look something like. . .

"I have to help Junior with his homework."

"I can't let him go to school without a packed lunch today."

"A good mother would. . .  [fill in the blank.]"

"A good friend would. . .  [add ridiculous minutiae that really doesn't matter.]"

"If I were better at this, then. . .  [fill in whatever bullshit perfectionist fantasy seems to fit here.]"

You get the point, friend.

Why are you letting your brain gut punch you like that?

Did you know that you get to believe you're an amazing mother even when you f&*!ck it up?

Because that's what we're all doing out here.  Executing imperfectly on this parenting thing.

I like to joke that I'm a "B minus mother."

The truth is that sometimes I fall far short of the B minus.

Unless I decide that whatever I did is an A minus. . . 

Or that it's an F.  Like, "I really sucked at that today, and that's totally okay."

Doesn't that feel better in your body?

You're not making yourself better at the thing that you're gut punching yourself about by continuing to gut punch yourself about it.

Stop it. 

Decide today that you're not going to let your brain gut punch you anymore.

That's it.  Just decide.

Don't tell me it's hard.  It's not.

Not for you anyway.

You're reading this right now, so I know one thing about you --  you're a freaking badass.

This parenting thing -- this being-a-human-thing -- is hard and you're doing it anyway.

Talk to you soon, friend.  You take care until then.