Do you judge yourself for being judgmental? Are you layering blame and nastiness onto more blame and nastiness? Are you practically in a competition with yourself, racing to see how much guilt, shame, criticism, judgment, blame, and insults you need to dole out before you’ll effectively be “motivated” to change?
Please, pull up a seat and join the club.
As intelligent, perceptive, and competent women, we “know better” than to judge ourselves. We’ve read about the ego, we understand the origins and consequences of fear-based thinking, and we certainly “know better” than to indulge our inner critic. We’re familiar with the concept of self-love, we accept the need to shift away from perfectionism and to embrace our imperfections… but then? Maybe we make a mistake and chastise ourselves for “knowing better” than that. Or perhaps we fall off the diet wagon (again) and then raise our hands to the heavens in frustration. I know better than this!, we rage. Why do I keep sabotaging myself, even though I know better?
Here’s the thing (and I suggest you print this next sentence out and possibly have it tattooed on your body… ideally somewhere highly visible):
Telling yourself you “know better” doesn’t actually make you FEEL better.
In fact, “knowing better” usually makes you feel even worse about yourself, because it adds an extra veneer of judgment onto something that is already pretty raw and tender with criticism. Ouch.
Thankfully, there’s a simple and effective way to put a stop to the endless layers of guilt, judgment, and criticism. As with most of the techniques I share on the blog these days (afformations, anyone?), this one seems totally counter-intuitive at first. However, once you start practicing (and playing with) it regularly, I’m sure you’ll find– as I have in my own life– that it works, period.
Ready? Okay. Picture the scene: You catch yourself being critical for some reason, and then you notice (with a familiar hint of judgment) that you’re criticizing yourself for being critical. You can go one of two ways now:
1. You can criticize yourself… for criticizing yourself… for being critical of yourself. (Um, not recommended.)
2. You can accept the parts of you that are feeling critical and judgmental. (Yes, you can.) This is as easy as saying*:
Even though I’m feeling really critical of myself right now, I’m choosing to accept myself and the way I feel.
Ahhhhh… Can you feel the difference that acceptance makes?
*You don’t have to say this out loud, but it totally helps. (For real.)
To illuminate this idea further, and to offer some additional ways to turn down the volume on the nasty voice of our Critical Mind, I thought it would be helpful to share one of the coaching sessions I recorded for a client of mine. This video was sent to her as a one-way stand-in for an actual Skype conversation (thank you, sketchy internet connections!), but I have edited out any identifying or otherwise confidential information about her in this version of the video.
Anyway. This recorded session covers the following topics:
- The defining qualities of our Mind’s Voice (aka the Inner Critic)
- A guided visualization exercise, to allow the Inner Critic time and space to scrutinize our bodies (yes, I realize how counter-intuitive and even sadistic this sounds!)
- The distinguishing characteristics of our Spirit Voice or Source Voice (aka our Inner Guide)
- 3 specific energy medicine techniques that can be used to calm the body’s stress response and to open the door for new perspectives
- An exercise to help you shift away from the Mind’s Voice and towards the Spirit/Source Voice, when it comes to your weight and your body
- What to do if/when you encounter our old friend, Resistance!
Be forewarned: this video is close to 40 minutes long and thus requires more than a fraction of your undivided attention. It’s worth it, though! It will definitely provide you with some practical, easy-to-implement tips that can help you lower stress and self-judgment on a daily basis. As well, it showcases my unique flavor of coaching, which apparently involves a blend of earnestness, silliness, and gigantic hands. (You’ll have to watch the video to understand that last part…)
I hope this article and this video were helpful! xx –Dana