Rule your mind or it will rule you…. Buddha
‘Wherever you go, there you are…’ Jon Kabat-Zin.
In life, we can spend an awful lot of time and energy seeking out new relationships, experiences, material objects, jobs and qualifications, to name but a few. We may feel that ‘once I have that job’ or ‘once I find that partner’, everything will somehow be right. For some, that will be the case and for some, it will feel like that for a while, before the feeling dissipates.
However, whatever we achieve, buy, earn, collect, create or invite into our lives, all of it is coloured by us. By ourselves. We will see those things and those people through our eyes, no one else’s. We may hear others thoughts and feelings on what we are doing or achieving, however, we experience these things in our own unique way.
Well, what if you are someone who often doubts yourself? You see yourself in a negative way, physically and/or psychologically? What if every time you achieve or enter a new relationship, you have that voice of doubt creeping into your mind.
It can squeeze the joy and appreciation out of the good and positive things coming your way. It can also exaggerate the negative aspects of life, making it almost impossible to see your way out of situations.
Whatever happens to us, the one sure thing is, we are always there. So whether you are stuck in an office, lying on a beach, in bed with your partner or sitting on a hilltop alone – you are always there… colouring that particular situation in your own unique way.
So, now we come to the inner critic, sometimes it can sound like a whisper and at other times (usually when you are feeling your most vulnerable and you need support) it screams and shouts. Some of us have learnt how to converse with that critic, so it does not overpower us and for others, the critic is all powerful.
…”You make so many mistakes, why do you bother?” “You get it wrong time and time again; you are so stupid!” “You simply don’t belong, you don’t fit in”. “You are ugly”. Yes, you know that inner critical voice. It may remind you of a voice from the past or even the present. It may sound like your voice or it is almost unrecognisable. Yet, the words will hit home and too often, we accept those cruel words as truth, withdrawing into ourselves with the pain they cause.
If we imagine our inner critic as a ‘person’, someone external who is always in our life, we can get some idea of the amount of energy it would take, to carry that person around with us everywhere we go. This person would drain us of our happiness and our joy; we would miss the beautiful little things around us and it would tarnish our amazing achievements, both big and small. Why would we choose to allow that person into our lives?
Now imagine that person is supportive, loving and caring. Yes, sometimes gets irritated and tired but at the root of this person, there is a kind heart, a good soul. They would radiate you with energy and help you to see what you are achieving in life. They would support you when you stumble and you are feeling vulnerable; not kick you while you are down.
We have to be realistic here, the inner critic will always be there. However, to gain balance, we have to develop a healthy ‘self’. To have a positive voice ready, to answer the critic, to silence the unhealthy messages.
‘Wherever you go, there you are…..you’. Which ‘you’ do you want to carry around in life? You do have a choice. Sometimes we are afraid of having choice, having to make decisions and to make changes. It can feel uncomfortable, challenging, even risky to try and change the way things have been for such a long time.
Look within and be honest about who you see there. If you can’t feel love, support, warmth and care for yourself, perhaps it is time to do something about it.
We are all travelling through life, on a journey but only you can decide who you have as a travel companion.