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Mindful Monday – September 11, 2017

“Treat yourself, your mind, sympathetically, with loving kindness. If you are gentle with yourself, you will become gentle with others.” – Lama Thubten Yeshe

Each of us has an inner critic, a voice that tells us we aren’t good enough. Perhaps our parents or teachers were critical of us, and the inner critic echoed what they said. Or maybe we saw others judge themselves too harshly, and were made to believe that was the only way to live. As we come into adulthood, we can choose to ignore the critic, and create new narratives.

Many people believe that self-acceptance or self-love is narcissistic. But I agree with Lama Thubten Yeshe that “if you are gentle with yourself, you will become gentle with others.”

For, if our inner critic is too loud, it is hard to hear others.

If our inner critic is too harsh, it may dispel our motivation and hope.

If our inner critic becomes powerful enough, we may on occasion allow them to sit in the driver’s seat. In other words, the inner critic may criticize our friends and family. We may say things to loved ones that we later regret.

So what can we do about it? How do we go about ditching the critic and hiring a coach?

First, we must become aware of our inner critic. The critic will likely have some favorite phrases: I fail at everything I do. No one likes me. I’m stupid. Sometimes we are so used to thinking these things, because it’s so second nature, that even recognizing them is tough.

Once we become aware of the critic’s go-to phrases, we can begin to challenge them. Do I always fail at everything? Can I think of one thing I’ve done right? I know there are people who like me, and can list a few. Would I tell my best friend she’s stupid? Of course not, so why say it to myself?

Finally, we can create new go-to phrases from our inner coach. Or cheerleader. Or… some non-sports-related motivating person. I’m still workshopping it. Anyway, the new go-to phrases could go something like…

I am trying my best.

I’ve gotten through a lot of hard stuff, and I can get through this too.

I am a good friend.

At first, you may not really believe these new phrases. But tell them to yourself anyway, just the way you would tell them to a friend whether or not the friend believed you. Keep practicing. Like anything else, mindfulness gets easier with practice.

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I wish you a mindful Monday.

-Rebecca

 

 

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