You know that voice in your head, the one that rarely shuts up and usually has not-so-nice things to say about you? Call it your ego or doubt or inner critic, or if you're like me, give it a name. I call mine "Stuck in the Mud" Stanley. After I named him, I got pretty good at calling him out, ignoring him or just saying "shut up, Stan!" Before you laugh and think this sounds weird, you're right, it is! But naming it can be super effective. When you can distinguish that the voice is just there (and not truthful), then you can begin to acknowledge it and let it be. Seems easy, right?
I've gotten away from "calling it out" on a regular basis, and lately have really been allowing the inner critic (aka Stan) to sink deep into my thoughts so much so that I sometimes believe him. It's good to acknowledge those thoughts, but dwelling on them can become unhealthy and waste a lot of energy.
Last night I had a hard time falling asleep. I was thinking about my life, where I am, where I'm going and then the past crept in. A memory that I've been dwelling on more often lately resurfaced again and caused me to go into a downward spiral. And if you're like me, thoughts are more harsh and hard to shake when you're tired and it's late. I allowed myself to be with them and feel however they made me feel, documented them, and turned on a sleep meditation and drifted off to sleep. I woke up this morning thinking about it again, but with a clearer mind. I was still sad and could hear that inner critic picking it apart and reminding me of the pain I felt.
I did a quick 10 min meditation which helped to clear my mind (some). I made a cup of Yogi tea and started my day. One of my favorite things about Yogi tea are the little nuggets of encouragement and wisdom on the tea bag. It's like getting a fortune from a cookie. Hanging on the side of my mug was a little note that said "Grace is kindness, compassion, and caring."
I often think of these words towards other people but rarely about myself. This morning I took that little saying and turned it on me. Why do I let that inner critic tell me such harsh things or fill my head with doubt and grief? I read the saying again and chose to have grace, kindness, and compassion for myself. And from that little bit of wisdom, I was able to move on with my day with a better view and attitude. The thoughts are still there, but my perspective shifted.
Life will never be free from struggle, suffering or heartache - if yours is, then please share your secret with the world. And that inner critic will always be there. What's important is how you choose to deal with it. Allow yourself to feel and acknowledge the thoughts, and then give yourself some grace, compassion and kindness. And maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day, you'll reflect back on your struggles and be amazed at how far you've come.
Do you extend grace towards yourself? Have you ever given your inner critic a name? Try it on. See how it changes the volume of it.