“As we see ourselves, so we are…” The power we truly have to be happy, peaceful, loving, and so much more, begins with our own inner thoughts. Again, this is not a new concept or teaching, it goes back throughout time, shared in many different languages and cultures.
Here is Thoreau’s wisdom from over a hundred and seventy years ago (written in Walden) –
“It is hard to have a Southern overseer; it is worse to have a Northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself.”
“Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”
I simply ask you, “Do you say things to yourself that you would never say to a friend?” I must ask you, why? To learn from what we consider to be mistakes is one thing, to torment and criticize the self on a daily basis is another.
As Thoreau points out, we are the ones to choose how we step forth. If you hate your job and have been unhappy for years, why would you not look for something else? If your relationship has been bitter and struggling for years, why would you not take action to create change. Are you waiting for the fairy godmother, a twist of fate, or someone else to make it better???
When I purview my life, the common denominator that is in every scene is ME. Thus, my life is a reflection of my choices and way of being with the world around me. I cannot blame another for what is. It does me no good to sit in the pit of victim. Nor does it serve to wait for the stars to align in hopes that all will change.
Three words I often hear and have begun to investigate are – Hope, But, and Should. They are crippling, limiting words, mere excuses to not change. “Hope” is a hollow word, it paralyzes unless there is action taken. “I hope my boss notices my hard work…, I hope that I meet someone who will love me…, I hope that someday I can….” It screams of something that might become, a mere whisper that limits full expression. “But” is an excuse and word used to stay stuck. “I would love to do that, but…. I would quit my job, but…” What are you afraid of, why tell yourself one thing, only to immediately contradict. “Should”, king of all words that keep us on a treadmill of mediocrity. “I should clean the house…, I should go to the party…, I should stay at this job…” Really? I agree with Tony Robbins, “Shoulding all over yourself,” serves no one, especially you. Would a flower say, “I hope I bloom today.., I should bloom today, but…” The words you say to yourself and others have impact. Notice how often you say hope, but, and should. Then become aware of how you use them, what do they say to you and others.
There is also the perspective of how you choose to feel, maybe you do not enjoy your work colleague, what would happen if you decided to always treat them with kindness and take nothing they say personal? Traffic is backed up, you grow agitated – how does that chosen feeling serve you? In all moments, you are at choice with HOW YOU FEEL. You are the one who decides to REACT. No one is making you feel anything.
Thoreau’s words reverberate – “What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.” Self criticism and judgment only harm. You would never speak to a friend that way, say such things to your lover, child, or stranger on the street. Why do you use such verbose unkind words to the self? Looking in the mirror the dialogue rambles. Is it positive, loving comments? When something doesn’t work out the way you thought it should, what do you say to yourself?
In my life, I find that every day gives me opportunities to take things that happen negatively or I can look at how they might be happening to teach me something; gracing me with the awareness that I decide how I feel in any given moment. I look back to the day I was let go from my job two years ago, a mixture of emotions flooded my being. I knew I was at choice to let fear and self-criticism rule, or I could choose to see how it all might be helping me to step in the direction my heart and soul beckoned. In reflection it has been completely the latter. It helped me to break the cycle of working a dead end job, spurred me to find the courage to start my business and to take action daily towards doing what I love. In hindsight it has been one of the best things to happen to me. It spurred me to be here with you today, sharing my passion to write and connect with others.
Today I share with you an Invitation versus a pondering –
For the next week focus on sharing positive kind supportive things to yourself. If you are courageous enough, say positive things about yourself, to yourself in the mirror. Do it with sincerity and presence.
When you hear yourself saying negative “opinions” about yourself, STOP! Take a deep long slow breath and CHANGE the internal dialogue to something positive. Be patient, you have been berating yourself for years – you are working to build a new muscle.
If you are interested to learn more about how negative self-talk impacts your life check out some of these videos: