On Monday, I’m sure you remember my very not proud post about how I was really just mean to one of the little girls I tutor and how I felt like I was acting like Ed to her; so demanding of perfection.
Since that day, I was thinking about how I would make it up to her today when I saw her; what I would say and how I would apologize.
So, I know how to win this girl’s heart, because after working with her for two years now, there is one thing that never ceases to make her smile and that’s a vanilla frappuccino from Starbucks. Yup, that’s it, a drink, so simple and pure.
When I showed up at her door with her drink in my hand, her entire face lit up.
“No way! No way! Really, Shira? Really? Wow, I’m in heaven.”
All the sudden it was as if that day on Monday didn’t happen and for a moment I was feeling relieved.
But about ten minutes into our session, she looked at me and said, “Shira, am I doing better than I was on Monday? Am I better now?”
Her question broke my heart.
Is she better now? Was she ever bad to begin with? Did I really make her feel like she wasn’t being a good person because of a few mistakes on a math problem?
That’s how Ed used to make me feel anytime I ate even one calorie over his approved limit.
And maybe her comment hurt me so much because lately Ed has been making me feel so unworthy because I have been giving into my sweet tooth, and because I’ve been snacking more that I not as busy with school and a list of other things I’m sure I’ve said a hundred times this week already.
I honestly didn’t know what to say because I almost wanted to cry.
How could I answer an 8 year old girl who just asked me if she’s better than she was three days ago,when the truth is, it wasn’t her who was ever bad to begin with, it was me who was the one demanding perfection of her? It was me who was wrong.
I just looked at her and hugged her and said “Lola, you were never bad on Monday. I was just tired and I was too hard on you. You’re amazing and I love you.”
I tried to show her as much love and compassion as I could.
“You’re the best,Shira.”
That was it. One simple sentence and she forgave me just like that. And we went on to have a really good lesson together.
If she could forgive me after I was so hard on her on Monday, why can’t I forgive myself?
I’m the one who needs to forgive myself for acting too harshly that day.
I’m the one who needs to forgive myself for giving into my sweet tooth.
But on the other hand, does giving into my sweet tooth even need forgiveness?
Does it even have to be considered a bad thing? Ed would like me to think it does, like I am doing something wrong by eating what I want and therefore I need to ask for forgiveness.
But really, now that I write and walk myself through this, I don’t need to forgive myself for enjoying my sweet tooth and maybe I already have permission to move on from Monday since that little girl already forgave me.
Maybe what I need to do is treat myself the way I treated my 8 year old girl, and just how I realized I was too hard on her, maybe I am too hard on myself too.
Ed is hard enough on me as it is, and I don’t need to add myself to that equation on top of that.
We are our own harshest critics.
When will it be OK with our standards of perfection to treat ourselves how we would treat an 8 year old child who we love?
If we’re talking about the eating disorder world of perfection, that time is never.
But if we’re talking about the hello life recovery world, the world of 40 days left to reach a year without a scale and the world of learning how to be OK with being imperfect-that time is now.
If I can treat that little girl with so much love and compassion, there must be enough of that love left for myself too.
Yes to my sweet tooth.
Yes to that girl being in heaven for a simple drink.
Yes to treating ourselves how we would an 8 year old.
Yes yes and yes.