I have been writing posts here and elsewhere for over three years now. You would think, by now, I should have gotten over my writer’s insecurities, but alas. I continue to stress over what and how to write. What if it is unoriginal, or boring, or irrelevant, or plain stupid? You know, there is no rest for the wicked inner critic.
My family and friends are already tired of my writing-induced hand-wringing. We have gone rounds and rounds on letting go of perfectionism, insecurity, and unrealistic expectations. I’ve tried a whole bag of tricks – from self pep-talk to meditation and nature walks. Last summer, finally, I thought I had it all down. I was a new person with many ideas waiting for expression. I would write them down and post them. My job was to put them out there and let them live on their own. But then, I lapsed again into self-criticism and name-calling.
There Is Nobody Out There
The other day, I was thinking of a celebrity author of spiritual books and caught myself throwing the same criticism towards her as I did to myself. Ridiculous, awkward, wrong, presumptuous, off the mark. The words and thoughts came out as a replica of what my inner critic hurtled my way. Coincidence? I didn’t think so. And there was my epiphany. The words were the same because it was never about her. Whether I criticized people out there or myself, it has always been about me and nobody else.
Our deep subconscious mind is ever listening to all our thoughts and words. It doesn’t sleep, and it doesn’t rest. It listens and listens. And whatever it hears, it takes personally. It doesn’t distinguish between you and me or someone else. I might be talking about others, but for the unconscious mind, there are no others. There is only It.
No surprise, then, that none of the pep-talk and self-help and other coaching tricks are not working. It is a matter of quantity. The time we spend in criticizing mode exceeds by far the time we spend on positive affirmations or meditation. And of course, we get what we think about. If we spend the majority of the day criticizing, then critique is what we get in return. On the other hand, if we feel gratitude throughout the day, then we receive gratitude and appreciation back.
Many of us appear to wish for love, and if so is the case, then we’d better fill our days with love – towards ourselves, others, animals, flowers, rocks, etc. The objects are only secondary in their significance. It’s the practice that matters. The mind hears the tone and the attitude, not the individual words.
On what have you been training your mind lately?
When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself.A Course in Miracles, T-8.III.4:1-2