Schooled By Hermione

                                   “We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are.”                                                       -Emma Watson

Yeah, Hermione said that. All that wisdom and she’s, what, 12?

I read that yesterday and was reminded of a counselor I used to see many years ago. In one of our sessions, he asked me if I had graduated from college. I said, “Yes, but my grades weren’t good.” He said that I had to train myself to stop at “yes.” Graduating is an accomplishment and when I added that my grades were not good, I took away from that accomplishment. It took conscious effort to stop taking away from my accomplishments and talents; but, after awhile, I got better at it.

Then I forgot to try.

And I got worse again.

hermione at hogwartsOn Monday night, a friend came over for dinner. I roasted veggies with Greek seasoning (I love that stuff), caramelized onions and peppers to go on his steak and on my Portobello, tossed a salad and baked apples for dessert. It was a nice meal. But, all I could think about was that I had overcooked his steak. And, get this, he didn’t care! He likes his steak well-done where I like mine still mooing a little bit. So, it was just like he wanted, but I still felt like I had messed up the whole dinner.

Oh, for the love of Mike! The dinner was fine.

Am I alone here? Am I the only one who does this? I think not.

For those of us who are emotional eaters, I think that this is probably a very familiar scenario. We are harder on ourselves than anyone else is. We notice every flaw, every tiny thing that is off and we label ourselves a failure – or, at the very least, “less than.” And so the cycle begins. Am I right? We begin feeling like a failure over something really small, something no one else may even notice, and we berate ourselves for it. Soon, we’re going over a giant list of failures and failings, believing that we can’t get anything right, before you know it, we’ve parked ourselves in a chair in front of the refrigerator with the intent of eating until we feel better. Only we never really feel better, do we?

And that is so wrong!

So, today, let’s recommit to being kinder to ourselves, being a better friend to ourselves. Let’s stop listing off our flaws (I’m a poor housekeeper. I’m not good with money. I don’t actually look exactly like Ann-Margaret.) and defining ourselves by them and by what we’re not. Instead, let’s side with Emma, list our positive traits (I’m a good cook. I’m a survivor. I’m a hellagood trivia player.) and define ourselves by who we are. There are good things in all of us. Some of us just have to practice seeing them in ourselves.

Let’s practice that today.

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