Posted on

That *&^% Critic

I suppose we all have to deal with that snarky, obnoxious person that always sees what you do wrong. You know the one I mean – You can never be good enough to satisfy that person. They always say mean, cutting remarks about every project. And they know about every project you’re working on. It’s like they can read your mind! Of course they can. It’s you!

That voice in your head, when it’s given a polite name, is called the inner critic. Psychologists say that hurtful experiences allow us to create all these negative attitudes, then we roll them up into a nasty little hairball that causes us all kinds of suffering. Because we believe all the stuff our critic says to us and about us. But we are NOT that inner critic. It’s a wad of reactions to experiences, no more, no less. And just because I reacted a certain way as a child does NOT mean that I have the same reaction as an adult.

I’ve fought that “I’m not good enough” battle for most of my life. Always comparing, always judging. What a pain in the ass! Since I’ve had no success in fighting the critic, I’ve decided to change my approach.

There’s a story I heard somewhere that when Buddhist monks first came to Tibet, that the demons of the native Tibetan religion caused them all kinds of trouble. Tibetan mythology tells that the monks didn’t fight these demons. They enlisted them as guardians of forests and rivers and sacred places. They have become a part of the cosmology of Tibetan Buddhism (if they have a cosmology).

So I told that inner critic of mine that if he wanted me to listen, he is going to have to offer positive comments. AND it will help immensely if the advice came before an action, not some snarky comment after the fact. My role in this is to see transforming the critic’s role as a practice. When a negative comment comes up, I stop and say, “I know you want to help. I’ll listen when you frame that comment in a positive way.” Surprisingly enough, in just a day or two, the cutting nature of the critic’s comments has decreased. So that’s a positive step.

I’m not so naïve as to think 50-some years of “I’m not good enough” will go away quickly or easily. I had an episode of falling into old thought patterns last week. And I may have cost myself a client because of it. If so, it’s a lesson to learn. Today I let that go and start again. And this time I’ll be better at it. As they say,” That’s why they call it practice.”

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Posted on

A Heart Full of Grace

“You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
– Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As little children, we are open & loving to nearly everyone. As we are exposed to all the sound & fury of the world, we often forget that. Or we see others being afraid, so we are. But we don’t have to be. That’s just learned behavior, and we can unlearn it. And we can be the examples of that Grace & Love to others.

So how do we go about unlearning all of the old programming we’ve picked up in our lives? As the saying goes, realizing there’s a problem is the beginning of a solution. From there, many different approaches are available. I’ll share my approach, and maybe that will be of help.

I start with Intentions, the “I AM” statements of who I want to be or what I want to do. I frame my intentions as “I AM” statements to put them in a present tense format in my mind. The last thing I want is to put all of my Good out into the future, never to be had in the present. I tend to set my intentions in the form of how I want to feel, not a specific outcome. For instance, here’s an intention that I use. “I AM abundant and prosperous.” A good example for today’s post might be “I AM loving and compassionate”. These are states of mind that most people would like to have. Framing an intention in this way allows for many different avenues for fulfillment.

Then I write up the actions for meeting my intentions. Here’s where I’m “acting as if” I AM already the embodiment of my intention. For the “I AM loving and compassionate” intention, I start with this one; I AM more Loving to myself. That’s not selfish. If you don’t take care of yourself, how will you care for others? But more on that in a future post.

Other ways I can act as if I AM loving and compassionate are I AM forgiving of hurts done to me, I AM patient with everyone, I am Kind to others, I AM good to everyone. All of these are a basis of a Love and Compassion practice. A practice is, of course, anything you do regularly and intentionally

And as you follow your practice, here’s where that loving yourself thing comes in. You won’t always act loving or compassionate, especially at the start of your practice. So you forgive yourself, ask forgiveness of another if needed, and go back to your practice. Eventually, you’ll see a change in yourself. I know I have, and I wasn’t working on Love. I’m referring to my Gratitude practice.

How long will it take? I have no idea. I’ve heard that 21 days is enough to create a new thought form, or a habit, if you prefer. I’ve also heard lots of other times. But I think it’s different for everybody. I also think it will be different for different situations. It might take 2 or 3 days to change your thinking on Love and Compassion, and then take 2 or 3 years for Abundance thinking. We all have different issues we bring to our practice. But there’s one thing we all have in common. We won’t change anything until we start our practice. And the best time to start is now.

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailby feather