Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Redirecting the critic....

So normally when I teach yoga, I'll give a quick scroll through my phone and see what appropriate quote pops up and resonates with me in that moment to read to my class.  99.9% of those quotes are perfectly motivational.  (examples here, here, here & here)  But last week that .01% found me when I was scrolling and landed on this one:

Image result for criticize myself viciously
This one certainly resonated, but not in a perfectly motivational way.  Rather it hit me with a big thud of "UGH," remembering how I used to view my life several years ago.

You see, THIS particular quote used to be my calling card.  My signature stamp.  I used to believe this 1000% and believed it was not only THE way to make myself 'a better person,' but also my 'excuse' for judging others so harshly.  Because maybe I was horrifically judgmental of others, BUT I was ALWAYS a zillion and one percent more critical of myself....even though not many saw that side.  This was the reason.  This was my excuse.  But this is how we're suppose to be, right??

WHY do we think this is a way to better ourselves??

WHY do we think this is how we need to be??

WHY do we think this is the norm??

From someone who's lived & died a thousand deaths from this quote, I can tell you one thing I now know:  IT'S NOT.

It's what we're taught.  It's what we think we need to do in order to 'achieve greatness.'  We're supposed to NEVER be satisfied with 'enough,' right?  We HAVE to be perfect.  We HAVE to want/have ALL THE THINGS to be happy...and until we HAVE 'all the things,' we have to criticize, judge and be unhappy until then.  
The perfect body.  That last 10/20/30 pounds.  That perfect house.  The perfect family.  

Sound familiar?

The irony was as soon as I began to let go of that incessant NEED to 'be better,' to desperately 'want BETTER' and, in turn, STOPPED criticizing myself so intensely, the part of me that judged others (a side I despised) slowly began to fade away.
I discovered the moment I stopped beating myself up, everything naturally became brighter.  Peace with yourself and gratitude in what you have can never be undervalued.  In a world where we're taught WE ALWAYS NEED TO TRY TO BE BETTER, finding peace in how we are TODAY can be the breath of fresh air we've been desperately looking for and/or didn't even realize we were missing.

And I know this all sounds like some sort of 'new age' fantasy, but from someone who's BEEN THERE, I can tell you change is possible.  "The way of the world" should NOT be criticizing.  It should be PEACE.  All of the magic of the world happens from peace.

Image result for you have no idea what I'm talking about I'm sure but don't worry you will someday

So the next time you find yourself becoming self-critical or criticizing others, here's some tips to get you from that critical moment to a more more peaceful one:
-try to figure out what is the source.  Are you just having a bad day?  Feeling insecure in the moment?  You got looked over for a promotion?  All valid reasons to have upset feelings, but....

-try to find a moment of stillness in your day (yes, that fancy 'new age' meditation😉) acknowledge those feelings, feel the emotions and then try your best to let them go  (easier said then done, I know.  But it DOES get easier the more you try it).  I also know the world tells us we need to be DOING THINGS at all times and yes, we're ALL insanely busy.  But if you can get a MINUTE out of your day, ONE MINUTE that is peaceful vs.'ll begin to see a shift.  And then work your way up to that 5-10 minutes on the days you can.  WE ALL have 10 minutes or less in a day.  I KNOW stillness is hard.  I KNOW.  But ya know what else is hard??  Being so hard on yourself all of the time.  
(and I'm not even gonna allow you an excuse for this one😉  Skip that scrolling of social media for ONE MINUTE and you'll have found that one moment of peace in your day😉)

-REDIRECT your thoughts.  This is CRITICAL when that self-critic arises.  The second you hear your mind chatter "maybe you're not good enough," immediately STOP it.  You don't have to turn it into rainbows and sunshine in that moment if you're not feelin that zippy (not many of us every are in that moment😉).  BUT, you still don't have to engage in those thoughts.  You don't have to BECOME those thoughts.  You can just change the direction of your thoughts onto something else and keep it movin.  The more you do this, the more that critic tends to disappear.  

Oh, it still rises occasionally.  It always does.  But the more we redirect our thoughts, the more we find stillness vs. that endless loop of self-critisim, the sooner we can find the place where we can hear that VERYYYY quiet voice that will ALWAYS tell you 'you ARE good enough.'  THAT, my friends, is your true self and it ALWAYS wants the best for you.  

The beating yourself up DOES NOT have to be you.  The key is CHOOSING for it not to be.  So many people believe it's just their nature, 'it's the way they are.'  I would have said the EXACT same thing 5+ years ago.  But believe me, follow those few tips with diligence and consistency and before you know it, you'll start to find that glimmer of calm peace.  Start with that ONE MINUTE today.  Just ONE.  That one minute can start the path that leads to great things❤

I'll end this post with a quote from one of my VERY favorite movies.  One that spoke to my soul the very first time I saw it almost 20 years ago (before I even really knew what the hell my soul even was😉).  It feels extremely appropriate...esp. that last line😉
American Beauty - the ending to this iconoclastic classic of American moviemaking is poetry - sheer beauty. see the movie and then try to EVER scrub these words out of your soul.:

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