Quiet Your Critic
As we start on Week 2 of the Best Day Ever Challenge, (see https://bestdayever.com/challenges), I have been thinking about how if we do not become mindful of our inner critic, she begins to rule us, and dominates our choices even when we have the greatest of intentions.
I have noticed in our group that quite of few of us wrestle with what sounds like guilt when we take a bite of that ice cream, or a sip of the wine offered to us during the time when we are abstaining. For some of us, when our week has not gone as planned, we become hard on ourselves and feel disappointment and even some shame. I have noticed this in myself this week, as I posted about earlier, that because I have had a chaotic and scattered week (aka panting from stress), I tend to tune out the droning voice in the background that is there when I am challenged. Today, I stopped, tuned in and listened more closely to what my inner narrator was saying, and it was not pretty! I heard the refrain of, “Oh, you know you can do better, you are disappointing everyone.”, or “Why did you ever think you would be good enough to do (fill in the blank)?.”
Here’s the thing- I think this is natural and I think we all do this- we have our own Greek chorus lurking inside, ready to comment and usually be terribly negative. (I have whole theory worked out about why this occurs, and it may surprise you! #itstryingtohelpyouthebestwayitknowshow) When we begin to use mindfulness as a tool- not just a peaceful state of calm- but an intervention, we eradicate the droning background noise of shame and begin to truly transform our lives. “But I like my quiet and peaceful relaxation time, Karen!” There really is nothing wrong with emptying our minds for a few moments, and sitting in a peaceful garden (some of you have AMAZING gardens!), but to really feel the powerful transformation of using mindfulness as a skill, we must choose to work with our thoughts vs just push them away through distraction or avoidance. Because if we do not, we will keep reaching for the donut, or too many of the “short chain carbs” in order to avoid the pain of hearing how we judge ourselves.
For those of you struggling with the mindfulness piece of the challenge, I hear you! It is hard to sit and listen to a painful inner voice, or feel disappointed in yourself. The video I offered today teaches a practice for you that addresses that very thing, and even for those of you who are sailing through mindfulness practice daily, this particular technique will help you deepen your empathy for yourself in moments of weakness. I welcome your thoughts and questions as you begin to truly work with your minds with kindness and empathy.
Written by Karen King, MS, LMHC
Karen is a practicing counselor in the Pacific Northwest
Read more about Karen at https://kinghealthassoc.com/karen-king-ms-lmhc