so many of us live in a silent war with self. we berate ourselves with hurtful unspoken words and treat ourselves with continuous disregard. few would treat another the way they treat themselves. learning to stop the fight and practicing self acceptance seems to be key (for me).

i am so very quick to be displeased with how i be. it feels so very easy to start self attacking when things aren’t going as i wish they would. in the moment it makes so much sense to me, after all i am the common denominator in my life, so if things aren’t “working” it must be me. and it is without much thought that i start the punishing. emily, how could you? what is wrong with you? get a hold of yourself. you must do better, you must be better, you idiot (i have no respect for you), how come you keep doing what you know not to do?

and so it goes… the self loathing seems to be just waiting there (right under the surface of happy) for a reason to scream. and if i am most honest, it feels like a war (it is a war). a war on the inside (that no one sees, but most can feel).

a fighter now, after years of checking out, dissociating (playing dead), i am grateful for the part of me that believes things matter enough to fight for them (that i would be disappointed in how i am being). but i am learning (again and again) that battling myself doesn’t help much of anything. sure sometimes the memory of how horrible i felt about myself pauses me before i repeat myself, but at a cost. it is weary-making, tiring truly… depleting in such a profoundly exhausting way, it most definitely leaves me less likely to remember anything – let alone change.

going to war with self is guaranteed to leave destruction in its wake, because that is what war does. it destroys (even the winners). so when hurling hostilities at self, just know there can be no winner here. and any lesson you are attempting to drill home is going to be hidden amongst the debris of a battered psyche and likely less likely to be associated with anything but terror and hate (which might have you change, but not in the way i would want for you and me).

pain is inevitable here, that i can promise you. i have been a professional at warring against self in very tangible ways, and it has only made me sicker and lonelier (and even knowing this, it is hard for me to remember) so reflexive it is, this urge to beat the ugly out of me. but it isn’t working, hasn’t been for a long while. and so now, as the impulse arises, i notice a smaller voice, a pleading really, a please emily, be gentle with me.

gentle. i pause and tears come. this isn’t about pretending i am okay or doing things in a way i am proud of (always). this is about me being a little more tender, going slower, taking space to be with me and all the ways i know i mean well and good and better. for us warriors this is a hard one to remember. we have built worlds on wars. but if you are anything like me, you know the cost, and the cost is finally too great for me. gentle i will go. maybe you too? maybe you try gentle too… ❤️emily joy rosen

get emily's poetry collection (for free)

a beautiful, downloadable, keepsake e-book featuring a selection of emily's best-loved poems

your poetry book is on its way!