This habit keeps you anxious. Here’s your out.

Five days a week, I start the day by judging myself and being angry with myself for a habit that I created and have refused to change. As I round the final corner to the parking garage at work, the voice in my head gets loudest. “You’re late to work again. You’re always late. How could you.” The voice offers a vision of how awful I’ll feel if my boss talks to me about it. It then proceeds to remind me of the sound of my husband’s voice when I’m the last to rush out the door, which is almost always. Sometimes it goes even further back and offers images of my mom yelling that she’s going to drive off without me as I’m running for the car, sixteen years old with shoes unlaced and makeup bag in hand. The voice is relentless. It is really good at finding opportunities to suggest that I am not enough.

For me, noticing this voice and altering the dialogue to something of my choosing has become the first step in self care. To feel joy, I have to make space for it. I have to quiet the voice in my head. As a mother, it’s more pressing than ever before that I do this work. There is so much calling me now, from every corner of my life. But this one, this inner bully that causes emotional pain and physical tension and follows me around in a way that literally no one else does, this one I can silence. This is a place where I can make space.

It’s about time, isn’t it?

In the weeks since I noticed my morning thought patterns, I’ve deliberately changed them. After all, thoughts are mine to choose! I’m not hard on myself if the old pattern slips in. I actually smile when I notice it – noticing is a big win! Then I replace it. “I’m actually pretty close to on-time. I am good at my job. I’m not going to be fired. I can change this habit whenever I choose, so there’s no point being upset about it. It feels so much better not to get upset about the time. Good job letting this one go, Ashley!” I arrive to work feeling light.

Today, may we let kindness toward ourselves be our self-care. Start listening for that inner bully. Find one place where it’s been hurting you. In that inevitable moment when you catch it, celebrate. Thank yourself for listening. Thank yourself for noticing. Thank your loving heart for wanting to choose differently. Now choose.

****What new thought about yourself did you put in your life today? Post a comment and reply to someone else’s comment to cheer them on. May our loving energy inspire and lift each other up. go mama!

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