It’s easy to be your own worst critic. There are a couple major issues with this: 1) If you are critical of yourself, it’s merely impossible for you not to be critical about others. 2) You end up being your own road block toward your goals because of your negative voice 3) You are in a constant state of focusing on “what’s wrong” with you vs. “what is right” with you. This all equals, not a very fun existence. I can come up with more number points about how being critical of yourself is no good, although the ones I listed are some foundational reasons that really spoke to me.
The more and more I’m learning, reading and living my own experience, I’m seeing how fear seems to constantly be at the root of so many “problems.” So many emotions root from fear, especially the “meaty” ones, meaning the ones with a lot of fire: Jealously, rage, maliciousness, the list goes on. When your operating from a place rooted in fear, you will always be looking for the threat. If you’re in an intimate relationship, the fear whispers “What if that other person leaves you or finds someone “better”? If you’re happy in your job, fear will ask: “What if you get fired?” If you’re going on a vacation, your fear will harp in your ear about losing the luggage, having bad weather, being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Fear will and can get really creative and hard to separate from facts and reality. My point is that we can all play the “what if” game about our lives all day and all night. I make a point to not allow myself to say “what if.” It’s a phrase that leaves us trapped in a fearful reality where we are paranoid about everything that can go wrong.
So, what do we do with all this: the critical voice, the fear, the what if? Well, instead of focusing on what is wrong or what you think went wrong in the past or is going to go wrong in the future, focus on the NOW. I’m saying nothing new right? It’s a common mantra to focus on the present moment in this 2015 world. Here is my question for you: It might be common to be encouraged to be in the present moment these days, but are you really listening to that message and applying it to your life?
What I will say is that when your living in any other moment but the NOW, fear will get you. In order to BE in the NOW moment and eliminate fear, I encourage you, (and myself!) to stay present. I know that this can be really challenging. I hear you, it is for me. In order to experience less noise in your mind, you will have to control and practice focusing your mind. Think of this like a workout for your emotional self. It will require you to be mindful about your awareness, which then will become a habit if you practice it consistently. Once it’s a habit, it will be apart of how you function, which will result in a more present you.
For now, just notice. Notice when you are not HERE, meaning your mind is in the past or future. When you notice that it's elsewhere, gently guide yourself back to reality. No judgement. No mean critical voice barking at you that you "did it again." Just awareness.
Ditch the critic. Focus on now. Release the noise of your mind.
* The above image was taken by Renata Amazonas, San Diego based photographer.