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She’s rude—like zero boundaries kind of rude.
She’s evil and mean. She’s oh-so-judgmental and negative. And she might be wishing you dead for all you know.
If we were ever to meet a person like this, we wouldn’t think twice about avoiding crossing paths with her again. But unfortunately, we can’t part ways with her because she lives in our body, in our mind, and in parts of our soul.
She inhabits the crevices of our stretch marks, she laughs at the extra skin around our belly button, she grins at every new gray hair, and she chuckles at every failure life presents us.
Her favorite words: I told you so.
She personifies every mean remark we’ve ever heard, whether it was a comment about our weight by a relative at a family function, or a demeaning line uttered by the mean girls at school, or the constant apprehensions of our parents for whom we were never good enough.
She is our Self-Talk—and she does not like us.
I have found that it has taken just as many years for this Self-Talk to acquire her tone, her sense of entitlement, and her authority as it has for me to try to soften and tame this evil-spirited voice with the final goal of turning my worst enemy into my best friend. Years into this practice, and still I hear her loud and clear: judging me when I eat, say, or do the “wrong” things, when I disappoint myself and others, and basically anytime I am being human.
I tried to teach my Self-Talk compassion, but it was to no avail. Trying to rewire such set-in-stone harshness is pretty difficult.
At times, I am hopeful she might finally see my worth and value, but for the most part she remains a constant instigator in the back of my mind. As much as I have experienced great improvement over the years when it comes to acceptance and self-love, my critical Self-Talk just won’t quit.
This was until I realized that there was something fundamentally wrong in my trying to change her into something else. After taking a closer look, I found that she was someone I knew—she was my Inner Child, full of hurt and darkness, the carrier of all the suffering from many generations prior to mine. She was the voice of experience, carrying all my samskaras: my mental scars and imprints, my stories. She had lived many lives and had known great pain; she held deep in her the resentment, the hatred, and the burden of guilt.
She inhabits me for a reason—she is my darkness. We all have it within us, this darkness, and without it, we could not see or appreciate the light.
We cannot let her run wild, that’s for sure, but so much of the work resides in this awareness, in this acknowledgment, this bringing her to light. One by one, the scars can be healed, mended, cared for, and made beautiful all over again. It all starts with embracing and acknowledging our uncomfortable companion on this journey called life.
Once we know where she comes from, we can shift our mission. Instead of trying to change her mind, we can choose not to listen. My Self-Talk is no longer the one who holds the power, the one who needs to be persuaded that I am indeed lovable and worthy, despite all my downfalls and imperfections. It is my higher consciousness, my Higher Self, who holds the greatest power of all.
Do I decide to listen? To care? To be conditioned by this negative, daunting, suffocating, anxiety-provoking enemy? By cultivating my awareness, I build the capacity to observe, to detach, to discern. In each and every moment, I can choose to listen to what she has to say or to let her go, to shush her out and focus elsewhere. The power lies in what I choose to hear—not in what she decides to say.
Once I know why she says what she says, I can be understanding and treat her like that annoying friend who always has something negative to say. I can release the need to believe her words.
We can even talk to her tenderly, like when a child acts up and says mean things because they are suffering somewhere. Find the pain, heal the pain, and she’ll smooth her criticism. If we nurture the parts of us that hurt the most, we can slowly turn the darkness into light, but first we need to appreciate the worthiness of and necessity for the darkness.
The next time your Self-Talk sounds like a bitch, listen closely and ask yourself what is triggering her response? What sets of beliefs is she drawing her conclusions from? What needs to be healed? What stories about yourself are you holding on to? Isn’t it time to re-write the story? Isn’t it time to heal your present, thus cleansing the past and offering a brighter future for the next generations?
We are not on this earth to be perfect and die trying. We came here to be human and to thrive while growing, evolving, healing, and living.