TAMING THE SELF-CRITIC
First, I had to explore the source of my self-critic, then begin to create space around it so I didn’t believe the self-critical voices and finally move into creating deep self-compassion.
For most of us, the self-critic is rooted in our childhood fears passed on to us from family, school, peers and probably media. First, we need to know what our specific fears are how they impacted us.
The year my father died, when I was 10, a group of girls began to tease me and purposefully excluded me from games in the schoolyard. This impacted me deeply.
Over time, into my teenage years and beyond, I developed increasing self-criticism and doubt that affected my ability to do things well such as school or sports. This made it more difficult to make skillful choices and to develop and trust my natural intelligence and intuitive voice.
When I began practicing Mindfulness years ago and started to sit regularly in meditation, I found I could shift my conscious awareness around the voice of the self-critic.
This created an astonishing shift for me. I discovered that thoughts and feelings are not facts. They are often just old stories or habits of the mind.
I began to have an increased sense of a “witness” or a way of seeing and observing what was happening in my thoughts and feelings without always believing them. I felt this space open up inside of me that had been filled with self-criticism and doubt up to now.
As I built my capacity to be aware and mindful, and sit regularly in meditation, I began to see the amount of “thinking, thinking, thinking” I was doing that was based in old habits of thinking that were not longer helpful to me.
And this sense of space allowed the self-critical voices to lift. I could identify them as passing thoughts and feelings.
When I was a kid and felt so vulnerable I became stuck in a pattern of self-criticism. Today, when I find myself noticing self-critical thoughts, through mindfulness practice I am able to breathe into the truth of the person I am today and what I know to be true.
I’m facilitating two workshops on Taming the Self-Critic at Janati Yoga School this fall, Sat Oct 26 from 2-5 or Friday November 22, 6-9 pm.
Create space from your self-critic using mindfulness tools and develop your own inner “compassion coach”.
Susan Young is a mindfulness facilitator and professional certified coach guiding people toward their purpose and goals with confidence….firstname.lastname@example.org