Thursday, September 29, 2016

Silencing the inner critic.

I've ran across these cool video's - from "The school of Life." There is everything you could possibly want to know from Philosophy greats to 'how to do drugs,' which I didn't watch but thought to myself - I probably could teach them a thing or two....

I chose this one because I believe that we all have inner voices that we contend with daily that wreak havoc on our lives.  I know that I do, and I battle with this daily.   For me, there are several different "types" of voices, some good, some brutal.  The most devastating ones, are self-hatred.  They tell me that I'm unworthy - unloveable- ugly - fat - disgusting - and a nobody.  I know who's voice this is.  I imagine if you have these kinds of voices, you too know who's voice it is.  It was whomever was your worst critic in your life.

I've pondered many an hour as to how to stop these voices.  I've put up mental barriers and imagined stop signs in my head.  I've even gone so far as to say STOP! out loud - in attempt to banish this barrage.  The banter is not something that is easily banished.  Most of us won't even admit that we have such an inner demon(s).

I can successfully say that as the video suggests, with wisdom (and age) some of the self-talk has gotten better.  However, some of the tougher critics remain.  I truly believe that these voices will be with me until the day that I die.  I think that the difficulty lies in not listening to them any longer.   I'm learning that what they say just isn't true.  It's never been true.  The whole basis of it's lies were spawn out of someone else's disturbed psyche.

I'm not talking about a neurosis type of "hearing voices"... but our own inner voice.  I like to call them "old tapes."  Things that were said to you from the past, opinions that you have of yourself, or ones that others have had of you.  Stuff that has stuck to you like super glue - and plays over and over in your head.  They're particularly nasty when you're down or having a rough time of it... and struggling to find good qualities about yourself.  It impedes your best intentions of attempting to think good or positive thought, and it often times can really make me angry.  Sometimes, the voices of the past will simply come from out of nowhere.  I can experience them even on a good day - when things are going well.

I've talked to people about overcoming this.  Some folks don't believe that they have any power over their thought life at all.  They tend to believe that it's just a stream of consciousness that has a life all of it's own.  I don't believe that this is true.  I say this because of the way that I used to think.  I was one Nancy negative.  What I mean by that is I had no belief in myself whatsoever.  Now I'm not going to tell you that I have the greatest thought life now - but it is a whole 180 degrees from what it used to be like.  I can remember when I first got into the half-way house in 1996 at Fellowship Club in St. Paul Minnesota - and it was my birthday.  When you first arrive and on your first dinner meal, you have to stand up and be introduced to the house.  I was absolutely terrified.  I just knew that when I stood up that the table would turn over.  Now that is some crazy thinking.  How could I, small as I was then - turn a huge table over?  But I was so afraid I was shaking.  My heart was pounding in my chest and I would have given anything to have been someone else, somewhere else.  Just a few weeks in detox, and going through withdrawal - I was one sick puppy - in a myriad of ways.  So,  I know it's possible to change your thinking.  I used to be afraid of everyone - and everything.

I would say if one thing has helped the most, it's prayer.  Of course I've had a great deal of therapy - and gained oodles of insight - but prayer and acceptance have helped the most.  I also did a great deal of meditation to change the perception that I had of myself.  However, I still struggle with things that I believe will be there for a long time.  Some stuff I think is just hard-wired.  For me anyway.  Just because my mind may think it - doesn't mean I have to believe it.  That's the beauty in this.  Don't own it.  Talk back to it!  A lot of the time I do... as crazy as that may sound, it's my way of defeating the negative and not letting it have power over me.  If I've ever known who I am, it's now - and I just don't have to believe that BS anymore.  It's my choice.

See - I love having options in life.  It's a beautiful thing.  I didn't used to understand that.  I was trapped in my family with no voice - and no options.  I didn't know how to serve a God that was really mean - and would get back at you -- that didn't make any sense to me.  When I made a mistake, He turned away from me....  How does that help me learn?  So what now I have to beg to be back in His good graces??  I cannot trust a God like that...  But at that time I did not understand what grace meant.  Now I do.  If you've read my blog - you know where I stand on this.  If not go back and read Grace 101.  It's all there -  God's not mad, He never was.  I'm not a Jew.  Grace is a free gift.

My hope for you is that you learn to conquer your inner critics.  What they say isn't true.  Don't believe what they tell you.  Find your way of proving them wrong.  Don't be afraid to tell someone about it.  There isn't anything to be ashamed of - we all have it, and if they tell you they don't - don't believe it.  We all have doubts about ourselves.  Even the highest of self-esteemed person has doubts.

For me, prayer and meditation has been the answer.  Quiet the mind, replace the negative with positive and pray for God to heal your mind.  Meditation is wonderful - it has SO many positive health benefits, especially dealing with brain stimulation.  It's also a fantastic way to listen to the holy spirit which is another voice in our mind and heart.  It will never lead you astray - and is the voice of all truth.  Guided meditations are wonderful, and so are Mindfulness meditations.  Here is one that I really like:

My hope is that you will try it, and like it too!
God Bless!!!

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