Lessons From a Life Lost Too Soon: Don’t Let Your Inner Critic Destroy You

“What you tell yourself every day will lift you up or tear you down. Choose wisely.” ~Unknown

It was a story I just couldn’t get out of my head. A young teen had died in a town not far from where I live, a town where I used to live. I knew people who had kids who knew this girl.

I heard she was a swimmer, bright and popular. At first the talk was about how she’d died. I heard someone surmise that she was killed. Someone else said it was a horrible accident, and of course, there were murmurings that maybe she had done it herself. And then, I heard nothing.

Months passed and I eventually put the whole incident out of my mind, until I came across an article in our major metro newspaper. The girl’s parents had come forward to share the terrible truth about their beautiful teenage daughter who threw herself off an overpass.

What could make a girl who seemingly had it all make that terrible choice? Her grades were good, she had friends, she was an athlete, and she had mad robotics skills. No one knew the depth of her suffering, and that’s just how she wanted it.

At one point, the girl vaguely confessed to a teacher that she was stressed, and the teacher immediately shared this information with her parents. They in turn brought her to therapy, but the therapist never learned the truth or depth of this girl’s suffering. No one did, until it was too late. Not surprisingly, the girl’s parents were completely blindsided when they learned what their daughter had done.

So how did her parents come to understand what led to this terrible tragedy? And what did they hope to achieve by sharing their daughter’s painful story with the reporter? The answer was in the girl’s journal, excerpts of which were featured in the article.

The parents had not even been aware that their daughter had kept a journal until after her passing. What they learned upon finding her journal was that for one year prior to her suicide she had written a daily diatribe of the worst, most hateful insults directed at herself. This is something she allowed no one to see—not her closest friends, not her parents, not her therapist, no one.

As I read through the excerpts, one word kept coming to my mind over and over again. The word was “indoctrination.”

This girl had utterly been indoctrinating herself as if she had joined a cult, hell bent on getting her to feel nothing but utter contempt for herself.

The reporter even pointed out that one of the many cruel,…

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