Coming off the holidays, as you know, new year’s resolutions make headline news.
But who really follows them? And why do we make them in the first place?
For two reasons – one because we want to start the new year on the “right foot,” and two because somewhere inside, we’re punishing ourselves for the food we’ve eaten over the holidays (or the weight we’ve gained, or think we’ve gained), getting off the exercise or meditation wagon, or being really impatient with people we care about.
The voice in your head might be saying something like, “I can’t believe I ate so much. I shouldn’t have eaten like that.” The other voice in your head says in reply, “Yeah, but it was really good. You deserve eating it, you went out for some exercise yesterday.”
“So what, I still shouldn’t have eaten it. And how could I be so rude to my brother. Shame on me.”
“Well, he deserved it too.” Or worse yet, “You really don’t know how to get along with him. You really suck as a sister/brother.”
And on and on it goes. The internal war between the two parts of the ego: the one we call “I” and the other called “enemy,” or what is often called the “super-ego” in psychology (or you may have your own name for them).
I haven’t met one person that doesn’t have this internal war going on. If you’re human, you have it (knowing this can develop great compassion for others as no one has “it all figured out”).
Here’s the great news – the war doesn’t have to go on. It can change, thoughts can change. I’m proof of it, along with many others who set their mind to it.
How do you go from an internal war to inner peace and kindness?
Here’s exactly what I did to stop the internal struggle of the ego to have kind thoughts running through my mind (about myself):
Set the intention that 2016 is the year that you befriend yourself. The year that you stop the war and start the kindness.
- Begin by noticing judgments toward yourself and others. Notice this for at least 2 weeks. It can range from “I suck/you suck” to “I should have/you should have” to “I can’t do this/you can’t do this.”
Any wording that has a hint of judgment is a thought to notice. When you notice, be mindful of not judging yourself for judging yourself.Likewise when you notice judgments of others. Judging others is a symptom of judging ourselves – they go hand in hand.
- Once you’ve become more aware of the self-judgments and criticism, then take a deep breath. This puts a wedge of awareness between the thought and present moment mindfulness. It literally stops the habitual pathway and creates a new neural pathway in the brain (proven by science!). Do this for another 2 weeks.
- In the 5th week, notice what you feel in your body/chest when you notice you’re judging yourself. This feeling will act as a wake-up call or red flag that there are judgments in the mind happening that you may not be aware of. This also creates a new pathway in the brain.
- Once you are aware of the feeling in the body, when you hear the judging thought in your head, say to yourself, “STOP,” with a voice of compassion for the judging self.Remember that this is a pattern that has been going on since early childhood and will take time to change, so have great kindness with yourself each step of the way. Each time you notice is a shift in the old pattern. Over time, this adds up to a lot of shifts. It did for me over 2 years – yes, 2 years! And it is so worth it!
Say the word “STOP” every time you notice a judging thought – like there’s a stop sign in front of you. This can help the thoughts from “going down the toilet bowl,” as I like to call it of more and more and more judging thoughts, as one tends to lead to more.
- Distract yourself after you say, “STOP” with something off the subject, like what you were about to do, someone you want to call, cooking a meal, etc. It puts the brain down a different train of thinking outside of harping on the self.
- From here, add “positive thoughts” such as, “You can do it” “You ARE beautiful” “I am enough,” etc. Add these in when you feel ready. It’s important to not add them in too soon, or they will feel “fake” and unbelievable.
Remember that what you do each day makes a bigger impact than what you do every once in a while.
What if this were the year that you developed a loving relationship with yourself despite what unfolds in your life? What if being human were actually part of the perfection instead of the fault?
Open to this possibility. In it lies great peace and joy for living in this body!
Categories: Health & Happiness, Heart Centered Living, Relationships, Self-Organization