You have been there before, many a times in your life, when there is that niggling, teeny tiny, irksome feeling coming from somewhere deep within, telling you that you are being just too hard on yourself. Yet, you soldier on. Telling yourself that you must be brave, chastizing yourself for challenging the status quo. The voice in your head wins over what the heart says.
In our life, we spend the maximum amount of time with our self. There’s no person we spend more time talking to than our self. It’s not loud, it’s not literally vocal, but it is, at times, all consuming. The way we speak to our self has a huge impact on our happiness, our sense of our own worth, our success. Considering that, it goes without saying, that we must speak nicely to our-self about our-self.
Sometimes, you can’t escape the sources of negativity that constantly spew hateful, hurtful thoughts onto you. Shining a light constantly on our flaws are other people, their thoughts, ideas of you, their prejudices, expectations, harsh standards…. All media driven acceptable norms of perfection. And we take all of this in steroidal doses to manifest the asshole that lives inside our head.
This asshole tells us we are not good enough, we can never do better, reminds us of our failures and weaknesses constantly. This asshole loves to kick us when we are down and at our weakest. And we let it bully us into believing we are incapable of being any better. Often times, it’s our own imperfect tendency to talk down to our self that becomes our biggest hurdle in life.
It’s not that we were born with this asshole living inside our heads. But with time, we did allow it to move in, take up more and more space. We created it. And we let it take over the reigns. It tells us everything we don’t need to hear. We run around, begging people to see us differently, perfectly, desperate to be recognized for our goodness. Desperate for any little morsel, from anyone, who would see past our glaring imperfections and give us the time of the day. And all this time we have the voice inside our heads telling us we don’t deserve it in the first place.
See, the thing is, that this inner voice can be a massive liar. It only learns what we teach it, only knows what we allow. Every time we let someone point out a mistake and bring us down, it hears that and believes they are right. All that this bully wants is to validate itself, by manifesting this warped sense of ‘truth’ it in our life.
If we compare ourselves to insane social media standards, then this bully tells us we are inadequate. If we are constantly criticised by our parents about how badly we did in school or that we never make good decisions or how we will always be irrisponsible, then this bully will tell us we are not good enough.
We train our inner voice daily based on our actions and what we allow ourselves to dwell on. Taking criticism very personally and believing every negative thought about ourselves just feeds negativity to our inner voice. Before we know it, we can’t see the good in ourselves.
The inner voice is always ready to convince us of our worthlessness through all the half-hearted, bull-headed, self-sabotaging actions that we take. It has it’s own reasoning, logic, definitions of what’s worthwhile and what’s worth sacrificing.
Mindfulness teaches us to choose positive ideas over negative. It teaches us to cut ourselves some slack and practice kindness and self-compassion. But that’s definitely easier said that done. Especially when our inner voice has blurred the lines between self-love and selfishness.
For example, your inner voice would say, “Remember that time you failed? And did that horrible thing? Everyone came to know. I bet they still remember every single detail and think about it ALL the time!” Now imagine if a small 4 year old child were to say this about themself. You would immediately hug them tight, gently place your hands on their shoulders, look them in the eye and tell them, “That is not AT ALL true. I know you are scared, but it’s okay. That was a lesson. People have moved on from it and so should you. Don’t be scared. I love you and that WILL make everything alright” You would then kiss them on the forehead and all order would be restored in their little universe. As simple as that! THAT should be our inner voice. That is kindness and self-compassion.
This switch can’t happen overnight. It is not the miracle cure that will fix everything overnight. It’s a gradual change that will take lot of work and self-awareness. And the daily homework of distinguishing between constant self-criticism and genuine humility that comes with unadulterated self-awareness.
We also need to take an honest look at the people around us. Who are the people who are happy for you when you accomplish something, and I mean genuinely happy? Who are the ones that still remain kind and by your side when you screw up? Who are the ones who instantly jump in to criticize you with an “I told you so”? Make note of the poeple who do not help you pick up the pieces when you blow up your life but instead just validate your inner voice that says “It’s too much work, and it never mattered anyway.” Who are the ones that encourage your apathy instead of challenging it?
There will always be outside influences that disguise themselves as friends. But really, if someone isn’t cheering for your sucess and celebrating the good in your life, they are not your friend. If you allow people into your life that are waiting for you to fail, your inner voice is going to take their uncertainty and turn it into more hateful self-doubt. Or worse, self-sabotage. You are absolutely not doing yourself any favours by keeping fake people close to you, so cut them loose.
We also have to be brutally realistic about the world around us. Stop trying to measure up to every influence that you see. When you see so-called perfection, so-called ideal pictures, dig deeper and you will realize not everything is as it seems. The perfect body is likely photoshopped. The perfect career came at the cost of relationships, tears and loneliness. The perfect couple may be great at taking pictures, but might not be so great at making eachother happy. You are smart enough and capable enough to see through the facade. You are smart enough to know that the instagram-worthy life you are aspiring for, projecting, flaunting, seeking validation for has not much substance. All this will not nourish you, will not contribute to your spiritual growth and spiritual maturity. If a picture is worth a thousand words, most likely at least one of those words is “bullshit”.
You have to take to life with the knowledge that you are enough. That your experiences matter, that your perspective is valid enough to make a change in the way life happens. Whether it is good or bad, also depends on how you allow your inner voice to guide you. Invest time in yourself. Nurture, nourish your soul. Find ways to ground yourself. Cultivate the people who help keep you grounded. You may think that you need more time, but you will not suddenly one day have more time. You have to make time. Despite all the negativity around us, our mind is the only safe haven we have, and we need to allow it to build us more than it tears us down.