By Lisa Meade
If we spoke to our friends the way we thought and spoke to ourselves, we would have very few friends.
The things that we say to ourselves in our minds are often the harshest words. There is criticism, judgement, frustration, taunts, shame and more. And these thoughts never make us feel better or improve the situation that we are in. Yet, we find it so challenging to shut down these thoughts.
We find we expect them. We find we even agree with them. And for some of us, we are so bold, that we even say them out loud about ourselves, seeking affirmation from the world around us!
Many of us have very vocal inner critics. They comment and critique all of our efforts. They keep us small. They keep us surrounded by our mediocrity. They prevent us from living the amazing life that calls to us, keeping us in longing, doubt, fear and insecurity.
Unfortunately, self-love is challenging for many.
Old wounds, old stories, old labels seem to cling to them. To shake off these negative energies takes a good amount of conscious thinking and commitment to stop the negative thinking. For some, they are not sure how, or they try and find it difficult and then give in to the old patterns and behaviors.
Over time I have discovered one way to help support this change in negative self-talk. It rarely fails. It requires some effort, but it is a feel good effort. It requires some commitment, but those who try it find that the commitment comes naturally.
This one change can be the catalyst to transformation in your life.
It can be the first step in lowering the volume on the inner critic and eventually shutting it out all together.
What is the secret? Most of us enjoy doing or giving to others. We find great pleasure in helping someone in need, sharing with someone, supporting those who need some assistance and giving of our heart. When we are doing this, our positive energies flow. We feel better about ourselves and the world around us. We are engaged with the essence of love and beauty of the world.
Giving of ourselves keeps us in the moment. It reminds us of all that we have to be grateful for. It opens our heart to the care and needs of others. To do this we naturally open the door that allows love to flow.
Love does not discriminate.
It is more than willing to flow through and surround us and anyone else we share it with. With time we begin to view life differently. With time our perspective begins to shift and love has a way of doing this. We begin to see our faults and shortcomings through a lens of compassion and understanding—the same compassion and understanding that we are sharing with others.
The first step to shutting down the inner critic is to share acts of love and care with others. Follow your passion. Stay connected with the world and people around you. Share your gifts, your understanding and heart. Find ways to give. Choose a cause to support.
As you open the door to love wider and wider you will find that there is also love flowing to you. Embrace it.
Be with it and be aware that there is more than enough love to go around. Without much more effort than this, you will find that those nagging negative thoughts of shame and blame will become less and less. You will begin to hear a gentler and kinder voice calling to you, cheering you on and celebrating you.
It is the voice of self-love.
Editor: Dana Gornall