If you’re anything like me, or any other American for that matter, in the back of your mind there is always the feeling that you are not doing enough, saying enough, or being enough for those around you. I constantly berate myself for any tendency to not “live up to my potential.” If beating yourself up is an old familiar pattern, here are five ways to change a dynamic that doesn’t serve.
1. Observe Your Thoughts. Easier said than done, but by observing one’s thoughts we may stop the “Inner Critic” in his/her tracks. When he/she starts to rear her ugly head, we may say, “No thank you, you are not needed anymore. I know how much you helped me when I was in dysfunctional scenarios in the past, but now you are no longer needed.”
2. Practice Loving-Kindness. “You hold in your hand an invitation: to remember the transforming power of forgiveness and loving kindness. To remember that no matter where you are and what you face, within your heart peace is possible.” – Jack Kornfield
3. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. “Living by principles is not living your own life. It is easier to try to be better than you are than to be who you are. If you are trying to live by ideals, you are constantly plagued by a sense of unreality. Somewhere you think there must be some joy; it can’t be all “must,” “ought to,” “have to.” And when the crunch comes, you have to recognize the truth: you weren’t there. Then the house of cards collapses.” – Marion Woodman
4. Give Up Perfectionism. Western civilization is addicted to perfection. We are taught from childhood to drive ourselves, to “make our best better,” to compete in ever-more-competitive arenas, never to be satisfied, but to keep raising the bar or level of standard that we set for ourselves. We operate in the belief that perfection is desirable, if not actually possible.
Accepting that which we cannot change is as necessary as breathing if we ever want to move on to bigger and brighter worlds.