We are often our own worst critic and judge, yet frequently these self-criticisms are unnecessary and undeserved. Even if you failed, made a mistake, or treated someone harshly, the important thing is to recognize the mistake or learn from the failure, to acknowledge that you can be a better, and then move on putting your energy into something positive or productive that is happening at the moment.
The Voice of the Inner Critic
Repeatedly, when we mess up, we barrage ourselves with disapproving judgements. This constant critique is amplified when we set too-many expectations in our life, pretty much setting ourselves up for failure. If only I worked out every morning. If only I got a job that’s more important. At times these expectations are not just numerous but actually quite unrealistic. If I only stopped having negative thoughts. If only I never got impatient at my kids…
The reality is that self-criticisms are completely normal thoughts, as most humans cannot help by self-assess. Yet, often, if we allow this inner self-critic to take over too often, we start to feel exceedingly overwhelmed, downtrodden and stressed. The more we expect of ourselves, the more anxious we become. To compound our stress, we become too distracted with the negative mind chatter, we have difficultly focusing and accomplishing tasks.
Here’s when meditation can help. Meditation will teach you to show yourself more compassion because you become more mindful of your thoughts as they happen. It will help you recognize when you are embellishing a situation because you are insecure, angry or fearful. Moreover, it will help you stop feeding negative, disapproving thoughts and put more energy towards the moment in which you are living.
Manifestations that Make You Suffer
Think of all the times when your thoughts created scenarios in the mind, something that MIGHT happen in your future, where you fail or embarrass yourself. Where you don’t live up to someone’s expectations – perhaps your boss during an important meeting, or a person you’re taking out on a date.
The mind can put you in these situations and you actually start to feel foolish, unwanted or out of place, even though the situation hasn’t happened yet. No wonder so many people are mired with anxiety!
Now, how many times was your anxiety unnecessary? A situation you dreaded, though would be a completely train wreck, actually unfolded positively, or didn’t even happen. Your date laughed at your jokes and loved the restaurant you picked. Your boss cancelled the meeting. Yet you suffered unduly beforehand, just because of scenarios your mind created.
Once again, meditation can help. With mindful awareness of your thoughts, you recognize the suffering you create due to the manifestations of the mind. You start to first recognize these unnecessary manifestations during meditation. The more you practice, you start to distinguish when your mind is running off on a tangent even if you’re not sitting in meditation. Consequently, as you become more mindfully aware of unproductive and negative manifestations in the mind, you become less stressed and less anxious. This gives you space to be more content and more present in the moment.
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Moreover, views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Awareness Junkie or its staff.