Your inner critic

A few months ago I listened to a podcast that talked about your inner critic… and it surprised me, I never really put a name to the voice in my head, the doubter, the naysayer…I never realized that the voice was criticizing my thoughts and actions. Nearly all of us have this voice, this inner monologue that tells us “you are not enough, so why even try”.

What has your inner critic stopped you from doing? What risks has it saved you from… or what paths has it stopped you from pursuing? What clothes has that voice told you don’t fit you right? Or made you feel like you need to lose weight, gain weight or go to the gym? Now I am not saying an inner critic is a bad thing, it brings balance to your mind, in some ways it keeps you safe… but when your inner critic is ruling your mind 90% of the time, you aren’t living, you are hiding.

That’s the thing with your inner critic, they know you better than anyone, they can push those buttons that make you feel ashamed, scared, weak and worthless… and most of the time they don’t hold it back. It wares you don’t, it exhausts you and before you know it, you feel like that inner critic is talking the truth. But are they? Or are they just bullying you? If they were a separate person who talked to you like that, you wouldn’t answer the phone when they called or open the door when they knocked… the way things that your inner critic can treat you, it a way that you would never EVER treat someone else… so I ask you this, why do you talk to yourself that way?

The podcast said we should try talking to ourselves how we talk to our best friend, that person who we love no matter what they have been through… this through me off, I would never talk to my best friend how I talk to myself. But that’s the point isn’t it… kindness, support, love and friendship… that’s how we should talk to ourselves. If you can switch your mindset and lead with a voice that they called your “best friend” voice, you would take more chances, make more decisions to better yourself and support yourself. It’s tough, trust me… with everything going on in the world negative does feel like it rules, but you can control your inner critic, you can put them in check and let your “best friend” speak up.

I encourage you to try it, when you feel your inner critic is ruling your mind, stop and think how would my best friend voice respond. With love.

Don’t put yourself down. There are plenty of people out there who will judge you, who will put you down… and who will criticize you. Don’t do that to yourself.

Take risks, make choices to make you happy.

Life is always worth exploring.

Into the unknown…

So it’s quarantine day… who knows? is it Tuesday? Maybe?

That is the world we are currently living in, where we don’t know the date, we don’t know the day of the week… all we know is that we have to stay home… for how long we don’t know? The rest is unknown.

It’s a scary place to be… we are really living the same day in and out… it takes it toll on your mental health, physical health and your relationships. My dog for example is fed up of us being home… she’s ready for her 6 hour daily naps. But even human relationships can struggle at this time. To be honest my main issue has been more the mental struggle.

Recently I have found myself lacking the motivation to even get up out of bed and keep moving every day, I want to be productive but lack the energy… I found myself initially saying “I don’t have time”… but I have nothing but time right now. That was when I really had to sit down and think about what was going on… not COVID-19 related, not money related or work related but internally.

What I figured out is that the “unknown” makes me unsettled because I can’t control it… as for someone who is longing to travel everywhere and see everything the world has to offer, there will be so many unknowns in that… how can being told “stay at home” cause me to develop this new struggle. But really if you think back to your childhood, there was always someone who had the answer, a teacher, parent, friend… then as you grow up you still have those guiding lights, those people who will point you where you want to go… but right now, at this time we are all in the same boat…. facing the same direction… without a map, no control… drifting.

The unknown is scary and a in itself is a challenge to face. The nice thing is we are all facing this unknown together… yes with our own individual issues and concerns but over all… we all have this joint feeling of not knowing. There should be comfort in that right? We shouldn’t be spending this time putting others down, comparing whose life is worse off. We should be holding each other up and saying “we can steer this ship together” by focusing on what IS in our control, what really matters… and that has never changed… LOVE.

With more time on our hands, we seem to get bogged down with filling it with stress and worry and comparison… but we need to see the love in the world…

There are kids at home celebrating spending time with both their parents… they aren’t going to remember why, they will remember love. Significant others who have spent maybe a week on vacation together are now spending a month seeing each other every day… getting to love on each other. Our loyal pets that spend so much time alone, are experiencing true companionship and love because we are home… and exercising more.

For those that we can’t physically see, we are communicating through other measures, FaceTime, zoom, video calling. We need to keep those connections open when ever this pandemic is over. Sadly I don’t think we will ever return to normal… but we will find a new normal. We are already starting to… but let that new normal be based off of Love… maybe we let love lead us into the unknown… embrace is and control what we can control, what matters. Being a decent loving human being.

Who’s life are you living?

This may sound like a strange question… but when you really think about it, are you being true to yourself? Are you living your life or are you living a life to keep up with the social media influencers? Or the life that you were told you needed to live.

When you think about your goals and aspirations as a child you could be anything you wanted, there was no dream too big. But as you grew up you were given minor corrections on your path… putting you on the road that lead you in the direction that others felt was best for you. Now of course those little nudges were there to keep you safe but think of how that shaped your life as an adult.

I was always told by my wonderful parents to do what makes me happy and to live a life that makes me happy. Up until recently i believed that i was doing just that… i was living my life to make myself happy, but after some self examination i realized that deep down i was trying to live my life to not disappoint my parents, i didn’t want to let them down as they gave up so much for me.

I am not saying that i am unhappy, I am not saying that at all. I am saying that subconsciously I was making choices and decisions in the hope that I would make my parents proud. But the funny part, is any time I told my parents of a career change, life change or anything… the first thing they asked me was “are you happy?”, my response was always “yes of course” and they would reply “then we are so proud of you”. That validation means more to me than anything else. But i know my parents… and they truly mean that they want me to be happy.

For some reason my mind told me that I had to make the choice to live my life to make my parents proud and how would i do that? Well the stereotypical thing that we are lead to believe from the outside world to lead a good life is to have material wealth and financial wealth lead you to be happy. So if I have a huge house filled with lots of things, I will be happy and in my twisted mind then my parents would be proud. But that’s not right…. they want me to be happy no matter what… no matter how little money i have, as long as I am doing a job I enjoy….

So that is where the question comes in. Who’s life are you living? Are you living a life where you can be unapologetically yourself?

I have started to figure out that when you are being yourself and living life for yourself, the negative self talk in your head is blocked out by the supportive happy voices. Your stress level decreases and you find an inner level of calm. I am not saying run away from responsibilities like children, bills, pets. I am telling you to start small and make minor changes in your life to steer it in the direction you want to go.

Instead of saying “I don’t know what I want for dinner” say what you actually are craving… “I want bbq”,”I want Thai food”, making those small steps towards making your own choices will feel so insignificant but it’s a step… it’s the first step…. so take it! Because in 5 years time you won’t hesitate and you won’t hold back.

Live your life. For yourself.

Sitting with yourself

I haven’t sat down to write in what feels like an eternity. I have been so busy with working two jobs, trying to keep myself going and we are trying to figure out our living situation for the next year. I realize now that I haven’t stopped, I haven’t sat down and disconnected myself from everything going on externally to see how i am actually feeling. This is something we can all relate to… we are too busy all the time. Even if you don’t realize it… you are always watching TV, working, on social media, listening to music, playing video games, eating, talking to people and just being on our phones… there’s never a moment of silence as we fill our lives down to the second… even typing all of that out made me tired.

When was the last time you sat alone, in silence , with your own mind? Maybe you are someone who journals or can separate yourself from everything else and just exist for 5 minutes… but for most of us, that’s impossible. Our brains are filled with so much shit that we constantly feel over whelmed and stressed about everything. This is what I believe has pushed anxiety and depression levels through the roof.

For me, when I am writing… I am alone (maybe with my wonderful pup by my side), sitting in a quiet room and I have my phone turned to airplane mode so that I can have zero distractions. But over the past few months I feel like I have lost my voice, I have been too busy to hear it… too busy to sit with myself and ask “how am I doing today?”. Something that I am trying my best to do now on a daily basis.

Another challenge I have been struggling with is negative self talk, I have put weight on because of stress and working too much and just generally lacking self care. This has caused me to beat myself down when I look in the mirror… but this isn’t healthy.

When you talk down about yourself that’s what you hear, that’s what you feel… that you aren’t good enough… but you are good enough. You do matter. The only person who can validate you is you. Stop talking negatively about yourself and be proud of the person you are, what you feel is legitimate, if you need to cry… do it. If you need to laugh… so it. Holding in your feelings is bad for you… No husband, wife, significant other or friend needs to validate you… you are perfect. You are your own kind of normal and it’s beautiful.

I need you to sit down in silence away from all your distractions at the end of your day and tell yourself-“I am smart, I am enough, I am beautiful”

Forgiveness.

I try and choose to not regret things that have happened in my life. At least that’s what I tell myself. Of course there are many nights I have regretted drinking that drink, eating that terribly greasy and delicious burger, or even sending that text that shouldn’t have been sent. But the big things in life, those moments where you make a choice that changes the very direction you are heading… never regret those. You never know how beautiful things can turn out… and if you are just looking backwards you will never look up. You will never see the stars motioning for you to join them.

In a world if technology we spend so much time looking down, physically and metaphorically. We look down at our smart phones, rolling our eyes at a text message, liking those Instagram posts or judging a Facebook update. We look down on ourselves for not living our life to the “full potential”, or because we aren’t skinny enough, smart enough or rich enough. That’s the key right there… what is enough?? You ask someone who has nothing but is perfectly happy they will tell you that they have enough. It’s because we look down that we miss the beauty, we miss the wonders and we miss the moments that change our lives.

Forgiveness is something that is taught to us as a child, you aren’t allowed to hold a grudge, you are told to forgive and move on. Some people struggle with forgiving people who do them wrong. I am not here to tell you to forgive everyone and you will be happy. I am telling you to forgive yourself… forgive your mind for over thinking, forgive your metabolism for not burning off those extra cheese fries and most importantly… forgive yourself for loving even when it hurts. This is something i struggle with. I don’t regret much… but i don’t forgive myself for making mistakes. Whether big or small mistakes… I beat myself up internally and smile through the overthinking.

The point in forgiveness isn’t letting the other person get away with something, it’s about saying “i choose to not let this consume me”… that’s so important. But when it’s all internal… there’s no escape from the negative. You have to find your positives, those people who guide you away from the negative.

I have realized that I struggle when people say they are proud of me, proud of what I am doing, proud of how far I have come. I couldn’t place a finger on why I didn’t want to accept their praise… then it hit me. I haven’t forgiven myself for the times i have let myself down, I haven’t looked in the mirror and said “I forgive you.” Forgiving yourself is a step in a positive direction where you can move forward. But it’s the hardest step to take. It’s the first step to looking up.

Do it scared

When ever someone would ask me what I deepest fear was… They would ask if I was scared of spider? Snakes? Heights? Airplanes?

What filled me with fear was an easy, losing the ones I love… or disappointing them. That’s always been my answer. What I have recently discovered is that fear… ruled my life. More than a fear of spiders… more than a fear of heights. I found out that I am a people pleaser. Again… this wasn’t a surprise. I love helping others, supporting them and I am willing to work with anyone… I’ll never say no.

When I took an online assessment from a book called “Do it scared” I matched 89% with the “People Pleaser” archetype. Shocking… ha.

What this book has taught me though is that I hold myself back from following my dreams… from speaking up and from following through on what I really want in life… because my fear of disappointment… fear of the unknown… my fear of “what will others think”.

This surprised me because I have never really consciously cared about what others think… if people like me great, if they don’t… oh well. Part of being a people pleaser is letting what you think others think of you rule everything, when 90% of the time it’s just your brain over reacting, and that’s true with any fear. Your mind instantly fires off worst case scenarios, jumping to the darkest possible endings… when in reality… it won’t be like that. That’s fear… fear isn’t the spider, it isn’t the heights, it’s not the disappointment… fear is your brain over reacting.

As per of the book purchase you get access you your “premium” results where it breaks down the overall impact that fear has in your life. There are seven different categories… and all of mine fell in the medium range with people pleaser being the highest. Now of course with all fears there are positives and negatives attached and the book really dives deeply into them, it really makes you examine yourself… your past choices and your decision making processes.

The “final thought” from my results really sums my fear up-

“You struggle most with the fear of being judged, which also manifests itself as the fear of letting people down and the fear of what other people might say”

Growing up I always though that people who prioritize themselves over others were selfish. Really they aren’t. Are you giving the world the best you can give if you aren’t looking after yourself? If you aren’t making choices based on your own happiness?…. no…you are living your life scared.

“Do it scared” is the mantra I am trying to keep in my mind every day… I am trying to turn it into a positive affirmation that I can chant in my mind when ever I feel any kind of doubt… any kind of withdrawal… Life is about exploring…. exploring outside of your comfort zone and sometimes you have to “do it scared”.

Who are you living for?

I am now in my 30s and I have always put the world before myself, it has lead me to become the completely indecisive person I am today. But I am starting to realize, 20 years of sacrificing myself for others is catching up. I don’t have a clear direction in my life. I work hard because that is what I expect of myself, am I in the career that 10 year old me dreamt about-nope. Now I am not blaming the world for where I am, i am not complaining that I have a terrible life, because I don’t. My life is wonderful. Minus some health issues here and there.

If you are someone like me, you will always put others before yourself, whether it’s family, friends or even someone you don’t know. Being a kind and caring individual is a wonderful thing… but it gets to the point that you sacrifice yourself for others, you lose the person you are and become the person the world creates for you… or rather the person you let the world tell you that you are.

My point is, being happy with yourself, with your choices and with your life is what makes you a well rounded individual, being decisive about your career, what you do every day and the direction you want to go will lead to you being happy. Hopefully causing less stress, less high blood pressure and meaning that you can wake up every morning with a smile on your face.

The interesting part about all of this is that it starts with you. No one else. It starts with that voice inside your head… you have to turn down the noise, turn off the overthinking and make a choice. Who are you living for? The answer should be… wait scratch that the answer IS “I am living for me”.