What do I do with the voice that says, “You can’t do that”?
I might have answered this in the past with straight up encouragement, like a lot of self-helpers tend to do. We think we should just speak louder than the critical voice inside of us. You WILL rise to the occasion! You CAN figure it out! You HAVE got what it takes! While those declarations may be true, I think we’ve been missing a step toward inner strength-building.
This is a counterintuitive response because we live in a performance-based culture that thrives on judgement.
Shine compassion on that doubt-inducing inner taskmaster so you can see where it’s coming from. Hold the judgment and your impulse to fight with it. Give your inner critic love. Not hype or fight. Like so: You think I can’t do it? Wow, you must be feeling hurt. You must be telling me that I can’t do it because you’re scared. Ahhh. I understand.
When you approach self-generated criticism with compassion, instead of creating further separation from your heart, you’re building a bridge. And when you get up close you might say… Hmm. I’ve heard this voice before. You sound like my mother. You sound like my dad. And my mom had her wounds. And my dad was trying his best.
So: First, compassion. Then, witnessing. And then directives.
With compassion, you can parent your inner child. You can be your own authority and cheerleader. You can take everything into consideration—and remind your own self why you CAN do it: Because I am beloved. Because I’ve done it before. Because I know so much more now than I used to. Because I have the resources. Because the desire is strong. Because I am so devoted that all of my plans are vitalized with life force.
EXCERPT FROM EPS 8