A recent victim of identify theft, I struggled to understand the spiritual lesson of the difficult situation I found myself navigating. The eventual insight revealed how easily I had slipped into the negative pattern without realizing it. The cause of the lesson learned – self-doubt, perpetuated by the negative voice in my head.
To flourish and find happiness, according to a lot of fancy schmancy research, we need to have a three to one ratio of positive to negative thoughts, experiences, encounters, etc. With relationships, the stakes are even higher. It’s a five to one ratio. (Yes, numbers very similar to the final score of the sox spanking the tigers last night! But, I digress.) Where five to one personally feels like a tall order is my relationship with myself. Oftentimes, I am my own worst enemy.
In more yoga classes than not, you’ll hear me talk about the ‘friend’ in our head. If we were to take the critical voice in our head and give that voice to a friend, we’d never speak to that _ _ _ _ _ again (please, insert favorite word). We’d never let someone speak to us the way we allow our inner critic to speak to us.
My pattern? When I’m staying inside the lines of the nice, safe and predictable, I am quite positive. The self-talk might not be five to one, but it’s at least 50/50. When I push myself out of my comfort zone, enter Ms. Self-doubt-motor-mouth. You won’t be successful at this! Who do you think you are? It becomes about a one to ten ratio, like a car with no brakes speeding down the highway.
In my case, rather than embracing opportunities to step into new parts of my identity, I let my self-doubt and fears stifle me, essentially giving my power away. The result of which manifested into my physical identity being stolen.
I won’t pretend that I was able to become aware of it and wave a magic wand to fix it overnight. Like the students in yoga class, I simply became aware of my inner critic. Becoming aware provides a safe rest stop for the racing car in your mind. It releases the emotional charge and allows us to identify if the voice is something serves that or harms us. From there, it’s possible to begin increasing the volume of positive thoughts, as I have.
Enough about me… what’s your pattern? When do you notice your inner critic taking the lead? Next time it’s happening simply stop and acknowledge it. Once that gets easier to do, make the choice to increase the ratio of positive to negative. Perhaps it’s on the spot, or maybe it’s a routine you follow until it becomes more natural. For example, each morning when you wake up, tell yourself one positive thing. Do it for 30 days. I guarantee it will be harder than you think, but the reward will be worth it. A week into it, I’ve accomplished more and feel better than I did all of last month.