It never leaves me alone.
Wherever I go, no matter what I do or what time of the year it is, it is always by my side, ordering, nagging, criticizing, scolding, disapproving and ultimately making my life miserable.
If I work, I am not working hard enough. If I relax, I am told I shouldn’t. If I travel ,I am bound to take my computer along and always perform some kind of daily tasks. If I sleep, I ought to wake up early so I can get more done.
I am talking about my most inner, most critical voice, that nasty gremlin that showed up in my early teens and took up permanent residence inside of me. It is as extolling as a slave owner, as haughty as a prima donna, as incessant in its screaming as a broken record.
After years and years of living with it, I decided to do anything to get rid of my uninvited guest. I sought help and looked for solutions.
What I found is that most of us, humans, have it. Whether it is because our families told us we were not enough, or treated us as if we weren’t, or, as is in my case, out of ignorance beat me into a pulp and told me how dumb I was, the fact is that most individuals carry an internal self-critic who won’t leave them alone. If the culture in which we live is also one of demanding people to perform all the time, as the industrialized cultures tend to be, then we are in for some real challenges.
I’d like to share a few key principles and tips about this roommate of ours and how to tame it:
– No matter how we feel about yourself and were it comes from, realize that it is only through mistakes that you are going to learn anything. Kudos to you for erring and correcting your path. – Be compassionate towards yourself (yes, more than you are to others!): who else is going to accept, respect and love you if you don’t first and foremost? – Realize that this part entrenched in your subconscious and is now part of who you are after the many years of conditioning; it is going to take time, patience and persistence to get rid of it. – Talk to this part as if it were another person in front of you; tell it to leave you alone and that you are a good person. Unmask its claims by reminding “it” of every effort you have made to be the individual you aim at being. – If you can, even with the help of a therapist or a coach, ascertain the origin of the voice. Where does it come from? What happened in your past that caused you to doubting and criticizing yourself? – Most importantly, remember that, as spiritual Beings living in earthly bodies we are here to learn lessons and to grow. The more mistakes we make the more we learn, the more courageous we are. – Meditate often and clear your mind and your spirit. It will enable you to feel the true Essence of your Being, made of light, love and compassion, which is who you truly are, and nothing else.
After many years of battling my enslaving force within, I am now able to prevail over it. When the guilty feeling or the impulse to throw myself at frenzied activities arise, I shush the accompanying comments by way of reminding myself that mistakes are good and that I can’t possibly do more if I don’t rest and enjoy myself first.
You should try it. It works!