Your Relationship With Yourself


Many of us never really think about what having a relationship with yourself really means. However, it is the key to everything we truly want in life; the key to peace, joy, contentment, love, and connection. Often we are not aware that it is our automatic thoughts about ourselves and of life that robs us of the very things that we are striving to attain. We often think that the way we can attain love, peace, joy, contentment, happiness, is by perfecting the “content” of our lives. If we get the “right” job, the “right” amount of money, weigh the “right” amount, be in the “right” relationship, we will find what we are looking for. The longer we pursue these goals as a means of attaining happiness, the more we recognize that the feeling of happiness or peace when the goal is met never lasts long.


The minute we achieve a goal, we are onto the next, thinking that it is the next goal that will provide us with the feelings we are trying to achieve. It’s like we’re hamsters on a hamster wheel, always running towards something to make us feel the peace and satisfaction we crave, only to recognize that the feelings are still out of reach. The more we are stuck in this pattern of searching for perfection, the more anxiety, depression, overwhelm, dissatisfaction and disconnection we feel. We believe that we need to keep “fixing” ourselves to achieve what we desire. This fixing and perfecting creates a relationship with ourselves in which we feel like we’re not enough.


The way out of this vicious cycle is to recognize that you are trying to perfect yourself to feel like you are whole, and that is a race to nowhere. You are already whole. And, this automatic habit gives us no access to a change in our focus.  Having a satisfying relationship with yourself involves grounding yourself only in the moment right in front of you. It involves constantly recognizing the habit of trying to fix and perfect. When you are able to accept exactly what is, and exactly what isn’t, you develop a relationship with yourself that is peaceful and loving. And it is this peaceful and loving relationship with yourself that is the basis for everything that you want in life.  Moving from the unconscious, automatic habit of fixing, changing and perfecting, to a conscious choice to accept yourself and your life exactly as it is in this moment, is the key to a life of joy and gratitude.




Your Inner Critic



Your Inner Critic is the voice inside your head that is constantly talking to you and telling you what you need to improve, where you don’t measure up, what goals you need to accomplish in your life so that you can achieve the inner peace and satisfaction that you are truly looking for.  The Inner Critic says “If you just lose that weight, make more money, get married, get divorced, get a different job, find new friends, get a bigger house, then you’ll truly be happy.” Or, your Inner Critic might say, “you need to be more spiritual in order to be happy.  You need to pray more, meditate more, relax more, have more free time, have a hobby, find your passion.  Then you will truly be happy. ”


There’s a lot of discussion out there about “Silencing the Inner Critic”.  But, the idea of getting rid of our Inner Critic is not only an impossible and unrealistic goal, it is also a harmful goal.  It implies that if we work hard at getting rid of our Inner Critic, we can finally find the peace and contentment that we are looking for.  How can we find contentment while at the same time trying to fix and perfect ourselves?  The goal is not to silence the Inner Critic.  The goal is to get intimately familiar with your Inner Critic so you can distinguish the difference between YOU and your Inner Critic.  It is understanding that there is a big difference between YOU and your Inner Critic that is the key to finding the peace, joy, contentment and happiness that we all desire.  The bottom line is this:  That voice in your head IS NOT YOU!  You are just so used to listening to it like it’s you, that you can’t distinguish the difference between YOU and IT.


Your Inner Critic has literally been creating your sense of yourself and your identity for much of your life.  You are so overly identified with this voice, you may feel trapped.  Your Inner Critic has been compulsively labeling, analyzing and interpreting everything!  What if nothing your Inner Critic says is based in reality?  What if there is nothing to fix, change or perfect?  What if there are no goals or dreams to fulfill that will be the key to your happiness and inner peace?  What would it feel like if you could find the peace you are seeking, right here right now, with all things in life being exactly as they are and exactly as they aren’t?  What if all of your suffering, your shame, your depression, your anxiety, were nothing more than listening to your Inner Critic tell you a bunch of lies that you believe are true?


Practice seeing yourself as separate from this Inner Critic who lives inside you.  Give him or her a name that matches her personality.  Pay close attention when he or she is running you.  See yourself as a separate person.  Don’t try to make your Inner Critic disappear.  You can’t!  But if you take a step back and observe without judgment, you will find that you’ve been listening to a bunch of lies for a long time and believing that it’s real.