The inner critic
If you are living and breathing, you probably had times that you have been struggling with an inner critic that shows up and tells you that somehow, you are not good enough as you are right now. Everyone does, yes everyone, also that person that seems so incredibly confident and looks like he or she has his/her sh*t together.
For some people it pops up from time to time, but they have it reasonably ‘under control’, while for others it is a constant struggle. When everything in your life is going according to your grand plan we can manage that little inner voice that tells you you are not good enough quite well. But at times when you feel like life is not going according to plan, you feel like you failed or you feel rejected that inner voice starts to scream. Your inner critic sounds a bit like this: I’m not doing enough. My stomach is fat. I am not successful enough. I am lazy. I am a failure. I can’t do anything right. I’m not a good mother. My nose is too big. I don’t exercise enough. I am too ugly to ever find a partner. And the list continues. Basically it tells you you are not good enough as you are right now. That voice can make us feel pretty low about ourselves.
During our early stages of our live we start developing a picture in our mind how our ideal self should be and should look like. This picture is shape by parents, society and by constantly comparing ourselves to other. This is fuelled by the age of social media where everyone post photo’s on Instagram with a big smile and 3 filters over it. The message social media and media in general is giving is: we should be skinny, we should be healthy, we should be happy, we should be successful, we should have a life partner, we should travel, we should make a career, we should have the newest bag or car. As long as we come close or resemble our ideal picture of ourselves we feel like we have a healthy self-esteem. But as soon as the gap widens between the reality and our ideal picture widens our artificially created self-esteem drops. Our inner critic comes up again. We start beating ourselves up. It is very hard to stop this because we feel like we need to be hard on ourselves in order to improve. We fear that if we don’t beat ourselves up we won’t make any progress in life. But have you EVER felt better by beating yourself up? Big chance it never did. And you have been doing that your entire life so why don’t try something else for a change.
The real problem
Now I’m going to say something crazy. What if there is actually nothing wrong with you? What if you are actually already good enough as you are right now despite how you are looking or how well you are doing at life? What if the problem is how you relate to the thoughts you are having?
During the Mindfulness course we work with recognising the inner critic. That evil voice that has been ruling your life and how you should be has been able to do whatever it wants since you are not very aware of it. When you actually start to see what that voice is doing and what it is saying you can start to relate to it differently. Instead of buying into those thoughts, you can start looking at them from a different perspective. It is just a tape in your head, a story about who you are or who you should be. But it is many times very far from the reality.
Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to increase confidence and resilience. (1) When recognising and acknowledging the inner critic it is time to start accepting yourself, just like you are now. During the meditation we practise looking at yourself, with flaws and all. With inner critic and all. And practice looking at that without judgement. Without being hard on yourself. Actually even embracing it. And slowly but surely, when you make Mindfulness a regular practice in your life, you will notice you develop a different kind if self-esteem. One that is not dependent on outer circumstances, one that is not conditional. You wil develop a deep knowledge that you are worthy no matter what.