No, these reporters have concocted a variable cornucopia of fictional work against us, from the silly and mundane to the serious stuff we don’t tell anyone we hear as we lay our head on our pillow each night.
Some of these stories stem from things our parents told us. My mother was quite overweight, I struggled with my weight too, but my mom told me three things that still stick with me to this day, even though I know they are not factual or even thought by others to be true. She said “Fat girls don’t wear white. Fat girls don’t wear Red. Fat girls don’t wear belts.” You won’t find anything in my closet white or red and I’ve probably worn a belt less than 20 times in my life. I know what my sweet mom said isn’t ACTUALLY true, just like I know she never meant any lifelong psychological damage by it. But these are the early stories we are told and continue to tell ourselves. Maybe it wasn’t just your upbringing, maybe it was your ex-spouse too. When your house is not clean enough, do you still hear his words in your own voice in your head? Or when the bank account is slim, you still hear her words in your voice complaining about your career or legitimate spending choices?
These stories also permeate our post-divorce and dating life too. How many times have my single gal pals sent me a text on a lonely night and said “I’m a loser!” I’ll admit that I’ve let that thought cross my mind myself. But here’s the truth: I can attest that my friends are most certainly not losers, instead they are smart, beautiful, confident women who would be great catches for the right men…it’s just the MATCHING of the men that is the challenge, not my amazing friends or men they meet on the search. Well, mostly.
Maybe this will ring a bell…we don’t get a second date with someone we actually liked. Instead of looking at the true facts of the matter, those reporters start firing up story after story and almost always, we are the exposed celebrity. For women, it goes something like this “I’m not pretty enough, I’m too fat, My boobs are too small, My butt is too big, I’m too needy, I’m too nice”…well, you get the picture. Men have this similar stories under the same circumstances and it goes like this, “I don’t make enough money, My car is too old, my arms are not muscular enough, I’m not a good conversationalist, My *package* is not big enough, I’m too nice.” In reality, it’s probably not any of those things…it’s just that one of you felt that thing we are all looking for was not there…spark! We all know that you can’t manufacture spark or cause it to not be there. I have really liked some dates in the time we talked before we met and then nothing…and it’s painful for me when the spark isn’t there, but it’s not personal.
So let’s try something…when those reporters start talking in your ear, let’s talk back louder!
When they say you aren’t good enough at your job, or as a provider, take time to remind yourself of the truth…what work you contribute to your workplace is important and your income is providing a whole list of things for you and possibly, others.
When those reporters try to convince you that you aren’t being a good parent because you didn’t buy your child the latest and greatest new thing, or you let them stay up late on a school night or eat an extra cookie, take time to remind you of your truth…they have all their NEEDS met, you’re a good parent because you love your child like no one else can.
When you put your foot in your mouth while talking to a friend and those reporters start telling you all the reasons you don’t deserve that friend or their forgiveness…tell yourself the truth of what a great friend you can be and that your heart was not to hurt them and forgive yourself.
And finally, when your phone is far too quiet and loneliness sneaks in, send those damn reporters packing and remind yourself of what IS in your life. I bet if you were on the outside looking in, you wouldn’t even hear those reporters because everyone else knows what a great person you are and how much people adore you.
Singleness can be tough when you’re lonely. Midlife can be such a time of self-discovery and change. Put the two together and sometimes it takes constant awareness to remind yourself that you matter, that you’re amazing, that you will find love again, that the days ahead can be filled with treasured gifts you haven’t even thought of or discovered yet. Just don’t give one minute of your mindspace to those noisy tabloid reporters!