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Calming Your Inner Critic

I ask you to pause and think about this statement: The weight of responsibility that we place on ourselves and the forgiveness we don't give.

We all fumble at times in our lives. We've had words fly out of our mouths under duress because we're exhausted. We've experienced anger, impatience, and fear – all big emotions that can overwhelm our sanity. Those emotions can be directed toward others as well as ourselves.

Perhaps you find yourself scrambling to soothe the person affected – admirable, no doubt! But how often do you forgive yourself when that happens?

I recently heard about Dan Harris's experience. Dan is a former ABC news anchor who had a panic attack live on air in 2004. His experience led him to resign from his position and explore the benefits of meditation. Finding this helpful with anxiety and depression, his goal became sharing this experience with more people.

In his TED Talk, The Benefits of Not Being a Jerk to Yourself, many things stood out to me in his experience and exploration into his human-ness.

As caregivers, that inner self-critic can beat us up when something goes wrong with the one we are caring for. Changing the way you react to that is something Dan points out in this video, "radical disarmament," as he calls it. Throwing yourself OUT of the beat-up cycle is something that struck me.

Everything we do starts within. You cannot care for others at total capacity if you are drained, overwhelmed, and have forgotten yet again to do something for yourself.

In parallel, the language you use with yourself and your responses to those unbalancing situations is essential. Our programming and reactions are so powerful in our daily lives. They can come back like wildfire without warning and wreak havoc on our relationships with ourselves and others.

Instead of continuing the beat-up cycle, Dan speaks to the disarmament of our inner critic. The moment when something happens, and that critic flies up, "I can't believe you just did that!" – pause. Put your hand over your heart and say, "It's ok, sweetie; I'm here for you." Whether you use the term "sweetie," as Dan states, is up to you, but the power in disrupting that moment, the energy shift – is HUGE!!

You give so much to others. Start by giving to yourself emotionally, too. You will make mistakes. How you react to them layers itself on your inner psyche. So, why not take that energy and disrupt it for the good?


Cyndi Mariner

Breathing Spaces

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