Did you ever get that ‘work harder-harder-harder; you can do better than this’ voice in your head?
Yep, that one that makes you feel pressured, stressed, guilty? The one with the ughy messages?
I had a serious example of it just last week. I’d finally begun to feel human again, recovered from a horrible 3-week chest infection followed by a dental operation, helped by 10 days of industrial grade antibiotics. Last Tuesday was one of the first sunny, summery days we’d had for ages, I felt a lot better than I had the previous couple of weeks.
Rightee-ho, I thought, time to get back to work, catch up, stop being so wussy. Seriously, I did actually say that to myself! And immediately felt exhausted again.
This was that ‘do better/work harder’ voice I mentioned, ripping around my head on a gorgeous sunny day. I was just out of a long period of unwellness, feeling an internal pressure and silent expectation to catch up and be perfect. And it took John to say gently ‘why don’t you just go out in the garden for a while, Tru’? to help me give me myself permission to actually take things gently and enjoy our beautiful garden on one of our few sunny days.
And this, from the woman who’s passionate about helping myself and others to live fully with self-compassion! Ha!
I was stunned by the force of the ‘work harder’ voice, and how much I appreciated the permission to be gentle. And I have got caught up with what really needs to be caught up with (as you do…..) Since then, I’ve been revisiting that experience – hmm. And my biggest learning is how easily I slip back into listening to old messages, wherever they come from. So my challenge to you as you read this, if you’ve had similar experiences …. are you willing to take time, just a few moment in time, to become aware of those old, damaging and unhelpful messages – and just throw them out?
Here’s one way to do this. I recently shared this experience with my Self-Compassion programme group, and it received a powerfully.
Give Yourself Permission – and Time
Listen quietly. Whose voice do you hear telling you that old message? Is there somebody still putting you down, sabotaging your contentment, getting in the way of you living, growing in self-acceptance, joy and love?
Feel them loosen, disintegrating, leaving, disappearing. Exhale – release out painful memories, negative messages. Inhale – breathe in love, peace and joy. Stop. Breathe. Really feel your breath inside your body.
Feel your breath, heart, soul and mind become easier, clear. You do not have to let others take your power, rob your joy.
Don’t allow yourself to become so used to living with the shadow of old, negative messages that you no longer notice how much they hurt. Allow yourself to release and get rid of these old messages.
Pull them out of your soul just as you would pull out a thorn. Pull them out one by one, release them. Imagine yourself them physically tossing them away – perhaps into strong flowing water, so that they are swept away from you. Realise this: You no longer have to manage your life around the hurt and pain from these messages. You no longer need to hold their pain in your loving life.
How About You?
How does this resonate with you? Are you willing to free yourself from those old harmful voices?
Give yourself the private safe time to work on these messages, one at a time. You will feel lots better. And if you feel it would be helpful to have somebody close by in case you feel upset, ask a friend or family member to be there for you, in confidence.
To find out how you can join the new Autumn Self-Compassion Way programme, email firstname.lastname@example.org; you can also send your questions and feedback and thoughts which I’d love to receive. Visit www.trudyarthurs.com to subscribe for my regular free newsletter – you’ll receive a free Compassionate Confidence e-book when it’s published. Looking forward to connecting with you, really soon.