I hear clients ask, “What if they don’t DESERVE my love?!”
Choosing to feel love benefits YOU. Choosing negative emotions harms YOU.
It has nothing to do with what they deserve. What do you deserve? Which emotions do you want to feel? Because YOU are the only one feeling your emotions.
Hate, anger, disappointment, irritation, fear. These emotions create catabolic energy (and lead to the dark side!). Catabolic energy breaks down or destroys. Catabolic emotions weaken us physically, mentally and spiritually. These emotions drain our energy, leave us depleted, and have zero affect on the person we create the emotions about!
Unless we are creating these emotions about ourselves.
Then they have exponential destructive power in our lives. Creating catabolic emotions about ourselves and directing that catabolic energy at ourselves through a magnifying glass is the most energy draining, soul-destroying thing we can do!
So why not simply choose to LOVE, like and encourage yourself? Why not give yourself a break? Count yourself as learning and experimenting instead of failing. Simply allow yourself to be YOU in all your flawsomeness without beating yourself up for being human. Love creates anabolic energy. Anabolic energy creates and heals.
How can you know that catabolic destroys and anabolic creates?
Try this energy experiment:
Sit quietly a minute and empty your thoughts for an instant. Then, think that thought that you always think about yourself when you are beating yourself up – yep, the really mean one. Notice how that feels physically. Where and how do you feel it in your body?
Sit quietly a minute and empty your thoughts for an instant. Just breathe in and out deeply three times, returning to neutral. Then, think about the person you adore most in this world. Your child or grandchild, your dog or your lover. Whoever you MOST love with ease and great abundance. How does THAT energy feel in your body? Where does it vibrate?
That should demonstrate pretty clearly that catabolic energy drains and depletes us, and anabolic energy heals, uplifts, and connects us to others.
So why not choose love?
It feels yummy! It’s good for the body, mind and spirit. It’s GREAT for healing relationships. It adds joy wherever it bubbles out. So why not choose love?
Still back at “What if they don’t deserve my love?”
I hear this OFTEN from clients! That is a totally normal reaction. (Side note: If someone is hurting you, they do not deserve your love. But YOU deserve your love, so if someone is harming you, you’ll need enough self-love to walk away.)
How possible is it to impose your emotions on another?
Our emotions have zero affect on the person we are creating these emotions about! Our emotions can only effect us! Don’t believe me? Ever known anyone who was madly in love and pouring all of their energy, love, affection, and attention on someone who barely notices them? Right? That’s the theme of pretty much every romantic comedy ever made. You can’t make someone else feel what you feel. We each create and experience our own emotions.
So why choose to be angry at someone when YOU are the only one being harmed by the catabolic emotion you create? If YOU are the only one receiving benefit or detriment due to the emotions you create, why not choose anabolic, good-feeling emotions that build you up and create more opportunities in your life?
We all have jobs to get to every day, and some of us have second jobs. Some of us commute and that can be like a second job. I feel fortunate to live ten minutes from my office, so that’s not one of the things that sucks time out of my day, but believe me, there are myriad more because I run a thriving massage practice, I sell my landscape photography, and now am transitioning to empowerment coaching and finishing my grad work at iPEC.
People need time to buy groceries, plan meals, prepare foods, get car repairs, stop for gas, see the doctor, see their therapist, get to the gym, fit in some cardio or yoga, buy clothes, celebrate people they love, spend time with friends and family, keep our homes tidy, wash the cars, mow the lawn, prune bushes, rake leaves, develop professionally, develop personally, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, the list is infinite! I can’t possibly name all the stuff we need to do.
Then there are people with kids! Children come with a whole other set of time sinks to drain their parents’ already busy schedules.
So if you keep hearing that meditation is a key foundation to living a better life, you will not be alone if your first thought is, “Who the fuck has time to meditate? I certainly don’t!” It seems like just one more thing that needs doing, right?
Abraham (Esther Hicks) says that saying you don’t have time to meditate is like saying you don’t have time to look for your car keys, so you’ll just walk from Phoenix to San Diego. That’s how essential meditation is! Sure, you can get where you’re going without it, but it’s going to take a WHOLE lot longer to get where you are wanting to go!
When you do a quick search online, it’s easy to find articles about people adopting a meditation practice to improve their lives. Here is a list of links you may find interesting if you’d like more information:
Rich, famous, successful people all over the world swear by meditation as a habit that has escalated their prosperity and well being in a meaningful way.
That may be fine for the rich and famous, after all they have more time on their hands than those of us working two jobs and raising kids without nannies, right? If we had the nanny, and the maid, and a personal shopper & chef, we would have time to meditate and improve our vibration, too! (Calibrating our own vibration to the vibration of our Source is the whole point of meditation.)
But what if making time to meditate every day gave us the power we needed to excel throughout the rest of our day? What if regular meditation allowed you to feel less stress? What if you could enjoy your life more by syncing up with Source energy on a daily basis? What would THAT be worth? More peace of mind. More financial security. Less stress and time-scarcity.
Would we make time to meditate if we received all these benefits?
That seems priceless! All it costs is minutes of our time each day, and a commitment to stick with it until we can see and feel the results for ourselves.
Now, I could go on and on, but I would rather have you take the next 3-10 minutes to sit and follow your breath.
It has come to my attention that marketing professional coaching is much, MUCH harder than marketing amazing massage therapy.
If I ask you for referrals to my massage practice, you can probably think of at least a dozen people who want one or who can benefit from it. If I ask you for referrals to my coaching practice, you probably know at least a half dozen, but how would you KNOW they need a coach?
In thirteen years of practicing massage, I never had to pay for advertising and I certainly never had to educate people about what it is that I do. People know what a massage is and many of us (me FIRST!) are addicted to the stress release, pleasure, comfort, relaxation and overall feeling of well-being that comes with massage. Many people are realizing that massage is an essential part of their health care budget, and include it as a regular part of their self-care.
If you have an amazing massage therapist and you hear someone say that their back hurts, or that they started running and have tight hamstrings, or that they suffer from tension headaches, you know from personal experience that massage is helpful, and you feel confident saying so and recommending your therapist. Massage therapy is pretty mainstream, so if you find yourself in need of massage, you feel comfortable asking friends for recommendations. But, who the fuck needs a life coach?
Maybe a better question to start with is,
What the fuck does a life coach do?
When my therapist first suggested that I would make a great life coach, my response to her was, “Is that a thing?” So I am never surprised when people haven’t a clue about what I do or who needs/wants professional coaching.
Coaches are NOT therapists, psychologists or counselors. If you are clinically depressed, please seek help from one of these professions. Coaches do not give advice or delve into the roots of your issues.
Coaches help you clearly see where you are, then help you map a path to where you want to go.
Humans sometimes struggle with getting to where we want to be. We might know what we want and just can’t quite figure out how to get there. Or maybe we KNOW the steps required to get us there, but we can’t quite motivate ourselves to take those steps. Sometimes we can’t even figure out WHAT the hell we want because we have so many thoughts cluttering our minds.
People may struggle with time scarcity and feel overwhelmed. We sometimes deal with financial scarcity that can create cycles of fear and worry. During transitions in our lives, we can sometimes feel unanchored, and unsure what course to chart next. If we have many paths before us, sometimes we can’t choose. And if we have any difficult emotions attached to the situations we are going through, that’s when things can get challenging.
It is immensely helpful in times like these to talk to someone who is not emotionally attached to your outcome, someone who can help clarify your thinking and help you find your way forward to where you want to be.
That’s what life coaches do. We help clients overcome obstacles to get from where they are to where they’d like to be.
How do we do that? By having conversations about values, goals, and habitual thoughts and behavior patterns. By looking at what influences their energy socially, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and environmentally. By discovering ways to increase energy in all those areas. By replacing fear with faith, which has a very different vibration and attracts very different energy into one’s life.
So, who the fuck needs a life coach?
People going through one of the struggles mentioned above. People who never have the energy to do what they love doing. People who want to reach their goals. People who want to manifest their dreams. People going through any kind of transition like changing careers or relationships, moving to a new city, or empty nesting. People struggling to reach their health goals. People who have lost their confidence or have low self-esteem. People who know they want MORE from their lives, but aren’t quite sure more of what.
Me. I need a life coach.
One of the BEST parts about my coaching school was that we constantly had peers coaching us for practice. I was practicing my coaching skills which was extremely valuable, but receiving coaching weekly had the added benefit of tremendous self-growth along with an increased understanding of what it feels like to receive the benefits of regular coaching. My mother looked at me like I was crazy when I told her I was still being coached regularly. “But you are a trained coach, why do you need one?”
GREAT question! There are a lot of ways in which I can and do coach myself all the time to change habitual thoughts from my past that do not serve my goals. But I also pay two professional coaches for regular sessions. I have an In the Flow coach who helps keep my energy and enthusiasm high, and I have a life coach to help me plan my goals, improve my relationships, and be the best version of me that I can be! I also follow a business coach on Facebook to pick up lots of hints and tips on how to grow my coaching practice.
So, who needs a life coach? Everyone NEEDS a life coach!
But, who can coaching help?
Coaching can ONLY help those who are willing to show up for themselves, and take the actions required to get out of their own way and get to where they want to go.
Here is the most important question:
Who the fuck is READY for a life coach?
If you know a truly amazing life coach, who do you refer to her for coaching?
Coaching is becoming more common, but when someone finds themselves needing a coach, they may not feel comfortable asking for recommendations. They may not think any of their friends know a life coach. It’s just not that main stream. I mean, really, is life coaching a thing?
PLEASE keep your ears open for key phrases like these:
I always feel so overwhelmed! I’m tired all the time. I have no energy. I want to change (something), but have no idea how! I have tried to change (something), but I always fail. My life doesn’t matter. I’ll never reach my goals. Is this all there is to life? I want more from my life, I just don’t know what. Why can’t I stick to my own healthy intentions? I have to do everything myself. I’m in a rut and I can’t get out. I want to complete (some large goal) but I have no idea where to start!
Anyone saying these things will benefit from coaching. If you regularly say these things, contact me for a chat!
When you hear phrases like these from friends, you will be helping us both by giving them my name and contact info.
I will be delighted to schedule a 30 minute session to see if coaching is a good fit for the challenges they’re facing. No obligation. No sales pitch. If it seems like coaching can help, I’ll tell them what I offer my clients. If I am not the right coach for them, I have an extensive network of other coaches with varying specialities that I am delighted to refer them to, and a LONG list of free resources that might be all they need to set them on the path to their dreams!
This is partially about building my practice, but it’s mostly about making sure people have the support they need to succeed in life!
That’s what I am passionate about! I want everyone to live the best possible version of themselves!
What will happen if you share this blog post? Who will you help? Who do you know who is currently facing life challenges? Who do you know who’s been struggling awhile to reach a goal? Who do you know who is in transition and could use some support? How many of the key phrases above have you used recently? What is your biggest goal? What steps are you currently taking to get there? What steps are you avoiding? Why? What’s holding you back?
All three are crucial when it comes to guiding our lives, so when I suggest that we ditch the new year’s resolutions, it’s not because goals aren’t important, it’s because BIG goals often feel overwhelming or unobtainable.
Daily intentions on the other hand are amazing tools, and weekly and monthly resolutions can also be super helpful because human beings have amazingly short attention spans.
Daily Intentions vs. New Year’s Resolutions
Let’s use one of the most popular new year’s resolutions as an example. A very large number of people will resolve to lose weight in 2020. I like to reframe that goal as health improvement through weight reduction, so let’s look at weight reduction as our goal.
Example Woman wants to reduce her body weight by 40 pounds. If she simply uses “I am going to lose 40 pounds” as the New Year’s resolution, statistics suggest that she has an 8% chance of success. Anyone who has tried to reduce their body weight knows how much effort it can take to drop just 5 pounds. The full goal can be too big and too non-specific to provide the motivation required over the long term. If losing 40 pounds is the goal, then seeing that first two or three pounds fall away seems insignificant, when really it’s a HUGE big deal that can be celebrated as the first milestone, and used as a foundation upon which the rest of the goal can be built!
If, on the other hand, Example Woman sets a goal to lose two pounds this week, and supports that goal with daily intentions that align to that goal, her chances of success grow exponentially. For example, her daily intention might be to avoid desserts and move her body for 20 minutes every day. Or maybe she chooses to focus her intention on walking 12,000 steps each day, and eating a healthy green salad with dinner instead of buttery potatoes or french fries. Maybe she’ll choose to simply stop snacking after dinner for 6 nights this week and give up sugary drinks. Each of these small goals aligns with the bigger, overall goal, and each of them is easier to focus on, and easier to achieve.
Example Woman has three possible outcomes: 1) She reached her goal and has a foundation of success and confidence to motivate her forward. 2) She achieved partial success and can make small adjustments to do more of what worked and resonated for her, while doing less of what she didn’t enjoy or didn’t seem as effective. 3) She made no movement toward her goal in which case it is obvious that what she did this week didn’t create the results she wants, so she can adjust the plan to try something different next week.
This process allows more space to review what is being achieved, which pieces of the process are creating the results we crave, which pieces of the process we enjoy (and therefore will be more likely to continue), and which pieces we do not enjoy (and therefore may want to find a different perspective from which to view it, or a different way to approach it entirely.)
Every time we reach that small daily or weekly goal, we’re building confidence in ourselves and our ability to create what we want to create. Every time we stick to our intentions, even when we don’t feel like it, we build confidence that we can depend on ourselves. We create the evidence that we always follow through, that we will do something when we say we will. Our self-esteem grows as we walk our talk and reach our goal.
You know that picture you have in your mind of you standing at whatever finish line you aspire to? The picture you imagine of you living the results you want to live – whether it’s a novel you are writing and want to publish, or the optimally-functioning, healthy body you are creating & maintaining, or that new language in which you wish to be fluent. You CRUSHING it. You thriving and prospering and happy. Yes, THAT picture. Take a minute and really SEE it in your mind. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that will flood you in that moment of triumph.
The difference between living that picture and having it remain an unfulfilled dream is in how we map our route to get there. For most of us, taking a million baby steps will get us to the BIG goal faster than trying to arrive in one or two giant leaps.
When Example Woman reaches her goal of eating a salad daily and increasing her activity level, she can count herself successful even if the number on the scale hasn’t changed yet! There are myriad factors that contribute to health improvements and weight reduction and they are NOT the same for everyone, so if the goal is to change that number on the scale, and that’s the only marker being used, it can be REALLY frustrating for Example Woman “A” if Example Woman “B” is doing the same things but getting different results just because of her genetics, or the part of her cycle she’s in, or the amount of water she is drinking.
Let the weekly goals be specific and achievable. We get bonus points if we can make them specific, achievable and FUN! Thinking that physical activity needs to be unenjoyable is a very limiting belief! Open your mind to the infinite possibilities available to us! Make a resolution to try one new activity this week that engages your body.
So ditch the year-long resolutions in favor of short-distance goals paired with daily intentions that support those. You’ve GOT this. I believe in you. If I can improve my life one step at a time, anyone can do it. I believe in us!
What is ONE healthy new habit that you could start doing each day? (twenty minute walk, more leafy greens, drink water every hour, floss twice, positive affirmations, meditation, the list is endless) What will change for you when this new activity is a habit? What is one habit you could quit today that would have the biggest impact on your health and well-being? (using tobacco, drinking soda, eating sugar, being sedentary, drinking alcohol, and nail biting are a few that yield quick benefits when released) What will change for you without this habit? How much money will you save?
Let’s use “horse” as an analogy for whatever new behavior you are trying to integrate into your life.
Every time we try a new “horse” our gremlins get their knickers in a twist. They HATE letting us outside our comfort zones. So when we try something new and we fall off the horse, our gremlins grasp the opportunity to kick us while we’re down. And sometime’s that’s just enough to keep us from climbing back on the horse. So I am here to reassure you.
Get back on the damn horse!
It builds confidence and it let’s the gremlins know you’re serious about eating healthy, or drinking less, or whatever your particular horse is right now. It’s OK to fall off the horse! If you’re a human being, then it’s positively NORMAL to fall off the horse this time of year. Most of us revert to practiced behaviors over new ones in times of stress, and there seems to be plenty of perceived stress around the holidays.
It’s OK. But don’t let one slip (or a series of them) keep you off the horse! Our gremlins tell us that we failed because this path was not meant for us, or that we are doomed to fail no matter what, so “why bother?”
But if it’s something you want, and maybe have been wanting for awhile, then get back on the horse!
Ask yourself why you fell. What triggered you to fall off the horse? What tools might help when that trigger arises in the future? It’s going to come up again, so what can you choose to do differently next time?
And maybe we stay on the horse a while, and then we get thrown again. What can we do then?
Get back on the damn horse.
Research horseback riding. Get a riding coach. Read books about how others succeeded in riding this particular horse. But don’t give up, and don’t listen to the gremlins when they tell you to stay down, never mind, and just forget about it. Because you deserve to have it and you are capable of creating it!
Christmas visits with family, and holiday celebrations are going to kick a lot of peoples’ well-laid plans in the dirt. It’s OK. You’ve GOT this!
There are exponentially MORE items on the to-do list this time of year.
Right? There are trees to be trimmed, packages to buy & presents to wrap, gatherings to attend, cookies and candies to make, holiday meals to plan and prepare, lights to string on the roof, yard decorations to inflate, carols to practice, choirs to sing in, and so much more! The list is infinite it seems. Some of these things are traditions that go back generations and some are the latest fad making the rounds.
Unfortunately, along with the holiday cheer arrives the holiday stress. If the cheer outweighs the stress, the holiday season can be fun! If your stress is beginning to outweigh the cheer, STOP shoulding on yourself! (I should do this. I should do that. I should be able to do it all and do it well!)
Take a deep breath.
Look at your list and start making some cuts. I know that a lot of you will say, “ALL of it has gotta get done come Hell or high water!” But WHY? Because others expect it of you? Because someone might be disappointed if you don’t make their own particular favorite pie? Can’t they eat a piece of one of the other 3 pies you made? If you are a people-pleaser this time of year, you might feel guilty taking even one thing off that list.
What would happen if you prioritized the list by fun? Put all of the things that really bring you joy at the top, and anything you really don’t enjoy, put toward the bottom. That way if the list doesn’t get done, (GASP!) you will have gotten to the fun parts! You deserve to enjoy your holiday.
And yes, doing things for others in the spirit of the season is fun and uplifting! So if it’s something you want to do for someone that genuinely lifts your spirits, by all means prioritize THAT! But if everything you are doing is for someone else, and feels like “have-to” instead of “want-to,” and none of the list is connecting you to your own spirit or the true meaning of the holy days you are celebrating, then give yourself permission to reduce your stress by reducing the list!
Let good enough be good enough.
Perfection is an illusion, and chasing it might just make it feel like a crappy holiday full of resentments instead of happy holiday full of presence. Do your loved ones need one more present to unwrap, or another 1,000 calories cooked on their behalf? Or will they prefer to have you sane and healthy and present with them for the holiday?
We can celebrate with faith & joy this winter or we can let the season go down to shopping chaos, overconsumption and overwhelm.
Thankfully we each get to choose.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? What part of the celebration brings you the most joy? What would change if you dropped just one thing from your list? What would happen if you did ONLY the things that lift your heart?
Awareness is a powerful weapon against the inner critic.
I hope that since my previous post you have had an opportunity to observe the critic, to become aware of when it’s speaking to you and what sorts of situations trigger it.
Did you observe how gremlin thoughts start to lose power the minute you shine your awareness on them? Awareness by itself is actually all you need to overcome some of the smallest gremlins. They scatter like cockroaches when the light of awareness touches them. However, for some gremlins that have been around a very long time with messages we have taken on as beliefs, we need awareness first along with some other tools to help free us from the stranglehold they place on our energy.
Get to know your personal gremlin.
Visualizing or creating a physical representation of the inner critic is a great tool to use to understand that the gremlin is separate from us, and that the messages of the gremlin are NOT our inner voice, but actually come from outside of ourselves.
I first visualized my gremlins as cockroaches because I enjoy thinking about them scattering when I shine my light of awareness on them. When I took a class aimed at overcoming the programming of the inner critic, we were assigned the task of creating a physical representation of the gremlin. My first idea was to photoshop the face of a person yelling at me onto a cockroach.
The idea made me smile, but I really wanted something I could punch if I wanted to, so I bought a puppet from Paisley’s Puppets in Oakland, and gave her a hat to wear.
This is my own personal gremlin, Kalista Kockroach Krabapple III.
I keep Kalista where I can see her daily to remind me that I am not the voices in my head.
Create your own gremlin if the idea resonates for you! I know for some clients, the idea of thinking about the inner critic as a “gremlin” does NOT resonate. If that’s the case for you, that’s cool. Try calling it inner critic or ego, or Ralph, or cluttered mind, or anything that helps you think of it as “not you” because those messages are NOT you, and we want to begin to set it apart from the self.
Once I realized that these messages were not my own, it dawned on me that the reason I felt so shitty when thinking inner critic thoughts is because they are NOT true. When things resonate, they feel good physically and lift our energy! Truth resonates.
Resonate means ‘to produce resonance.’ Resonance is defined as ‘the quality of being deep, full, and reverberating,’ or ‘the ability to evoke or suggest images, memories, and emotions.’ Truth does this. Capital T.
A thought that is not true, on the other hand, does the opposite of resonate. It makes us physically recoil. That little knot in the pit of your gut, or under your solar plexus is your physical being recoiling from something that your core essence KNOWS is not true. This physical recoil takes place for the same reason our hand would recoil from a flame: to avoid pain. That physical signal is a communication from the Highest Self to avoid that thought that feels so icky.
Let that soak in. The physical sensation you get when you think a thought that feels crappy is a signal to BACK THE FUCK AWAY from that thought. “That thought will cause you pain.” “Don’t go there.” That’s your gut instinct screaming to get your attention.
How does this resonate for you? Don’t take my word for this stuff, check in with your gut. When you read the information above, did it resonate? Make you recoil?
Tell your gremlin to fuck off!
Once I learned that the inner critic was NOT me, and I learned to identify that physical sensation that told me the gremlin was lying to me again, I wanted those cockroaches OUT of my head! When I would hear the nasty little bastards starting in, I visualized myself flicking them away like the tiny vermin they are.
Once when I turned to a friend with an issue I thought was a struggle, she gave me some really solid advice. Her email contained wisdom, reassurance, validation, and these beautiful seven words:
Flicking them away and telling them to fuck off allowed me to reclaim my own power. For me, as well as many other people, this is a vitally important step. When I was in coaching school, we talked a LOT about the inner critic because gremlin messages are one of the biggest issues people bring to coaching.
That’s where I learned that telling the inner critic to fuck off is a great first step, but is not usually enough to exterminate the cockroaches. For that, we need to understand the message and it’s original purpose, because their purpose was never to get us to live small and stay scared. That was the outcome of their message once it outlived it’s usefulness.
Understand it’s true purpose.
The true purpose of the cluttered thoughts, gremlin messages, inner critic voice is sometimes to protect us from perceived harm.
For instance: If your father backhanded you so hard you flew across the room when you voiced an opinion that didn’t agree with his, you may have developed a message that said, “Never speak your truth – it causes pain,” or, “Never disagree with those in authority,” or, “Your ideas are NOT valid,” or, “No one wants to hear your thoughts,” or any number of other ideas that may have kept you safe in that particular situation, but are now standing in the way of you experiencing your life to the fullest.
Some messages are meant to control us. For instance: Maybe an ex-spouse told you repeatedly that you are unloveable, and followed that up with actions that seemed to prove the point. That message actually says far more about the ex than about you, but if self-esteem is low enough, or if you have been practicing thoughts about being unworthy, you may buy this message wholesale. Then when the marriage ends, the gremlins tell us that no one will ever love us. And it’s possible, that the gremlins are trying to protect us again! They are trying to keep us out of situations that might hurt.
If any of this resonates for you, you are NOT alone!
Are you getting a slight knot in your solar plexus, or a slight feeling of nausea? Remember, that feeling of physical recoil means those thoughts are NOT true!
The important thing here is to understand that these messages came from outside of self. They were intended to keep you safe, or were the agenda of outside forces. WHERE they came from is NOT important! You may immediately recognize where some of your inner critic messages come from, but please don’t waste time trying to figure out where or when or why your messages came to you.
Simply recognize that where you are now, those messages no longer serve a purpose, so it’s safe to start leaving them behind and embrace Truth of your awesomeness. The faster you do, the better you feel!
Train the inner critic for a NEW job!
So, you have this really powerful voice inside your head that you’ve been listening to for a while now, and it seems like the voice is trying to help you on some level, even though it’s messages are constantly draining your energy. How do we stop the ebb of energy into negative thought patterns and redirect it into building new, more positive thought pathways?
You’re probably getting good at being aware of your personal inner critic messages by now. Maybe you’ve even visualized your gremlin and know it’s name. So now it’s time to begin retraining the gremlin. It wants to help, so let’s give it something helpful to do!
Retrain that inner critic to repeat messages that build your energy and give you motivation.
When I first went to coaching school, my gremlin ROARED that everyone in class was more educated than me, better coaches than me, and that I had nothing to offer. “Keep quiet so they won’t know how much you DON’T know!”
Like I said, we did a LOT of coaching on gremlins at iPEC, and I discovered that almost everyone in class had gremlins as loud and as mean as mine were! All of us had some version of the same message: “You are not enough.” It was a revelation to understand that I was not alone. We are all exactly the same in our own unique ways!
So I began to picture Kalista in a little cheerleading uniform. I mentally had her turn her dunce cap into a bull horn, and every time one of the old thoughts popped in to say, “you are not smart enough,” I pictured Kalista shouting it down with rallying cries of, “Cyndi is a ROCKSTAR coach and an awesome person with valuable insights to offer the other coaches in this class!” Complete with pompoms.
How would you like to reimagine your inner critic? What messages would you enjoy hearing? What messages are inspiring for you ? What messages will motivate you to move closer to your goal? What will change in your life once you change the voices in your head? What inner critic message seems LOUDEST in your head? How would you like to re-write that one?
What questions do you still have about taming that inner critic? Ask your questions in the comments below this post!
Read Rick Carson’s Book!
If you want to learn more about taming gremlins, follow this link to order Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson. It’s the preeminent work on gremlin taming and a very useful book full of inspired illustrations. He also has a Facebook page you can access here.
For over 400 positive affirmations and uplifting reminders on my landscape photography, follow this link.
In my last blog post, we discussed how to tell the difference between our Inner Voice and the inner critic. Today I want to discuss tools we have at our disposal when the inner critic shouts so loud we cannot hear our intuition, or doubt we can trust such a weak, distant voice.
The inner critic also goes by other names. Personal demons can keep us from reaching our goals. Gremlins undermine our best efforts at self improvement. The cluttered mind keeps us overwhelmed and unmotivated. Ego is a tremendous force with decades of momentum behind it. No wonder the inner critic is so vividly real and so pervasively persuasive!
It’s important to understand that the “voice” or the “gremlin messages” are thoughts. Your thoughts come from your mind, so it’s possible for you to change them! How cool is that?
“Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead!”
~ Pink, Fuckin’ Perfect
The power to choose our own thoughts is the greatest power we have, but most of us have no idea how to wield that power. Our beliefs shape our thoughts, so if we want to change our thoughts, let’s take a look at our beliefs.
Grow on! Are your beliefs ones that you chose for yourself? Were most of them chosen for you? Are they your culture’s beliefs or your parents? How willing are you to let go of the ones that no longer serve you? What new belief(s) would you like to begin practicing today?
Beliefs are something I explore with my clients all the time.
Around 90% of the clients I talk with eventually uncover an underlying belief that they are “not enough” in some way. Once we uncover that, it’s easy to see how a belief like that would spawn inner critic thoughts like: “Why even try?” “I’ll never get a better job.” “I’ll never find anyone who loves/understands me.” “Don’t get your hopes up!” “Forget what you WANT, get a practical job!” “Don’t let people get to know you, they won’t like you.” “I have no confidence.” “I don’t deserve this.”
With thoughts like these, who needs enemies, right? And EVERYONE has them! It’s important to know that if you are identifying with these thoughts, you are not alone. Some people have learned how to deal with them so they don’t cause stress and suffering, but the self doubts are a very human condition.
Our limiting thoughts construct an invisible prison that limit the options available to us.
In order to increase the options and opportunities available to us, and live our best lives, we must make an effort to change the thoughts. It’s not difficult, but it does take some effort and CONSTANT reminders. Constant reminders. Constantly constant reminders. The enemy is a tremendous force with decades of momentum, so it will take time to slow that locomotive down before it can change directions.
In the previous post, I talked about practicing affirmations as a way to strengthen the messages of the Inner Voice. Since writing that post, I have discovered an AMAZING app called Think Up. App info here.
The free version of Think Up allows you to record three affirmations in your own voice, then it plays them back to you over soothing music! I love it! It lifts me every time I hear my own voice reminding me I am worthy and abundant! It’s extremely powerful and uplifting. The app allows you to set reminders to practice throughout the day. This is a really cool reminder to realign your energy frequently. Practicing is KEY to shifting your thoughts.
Read something daily meant only to uplift and inspire!
Some GREAT ways to stay inspired are to read inspiring books, listen to inspiring speakers, and talk with people who are inspired! Subscribe to a podcast that is meant to uplift. Turn OFF the news and listen to a TED talk. We cannot immerse ourselves in the general, chaotic vibration of the world, and not counter it with inspiration, and then expect to feel inspired! How can we possibly feel inspired if we are digesting current events daily with no counterpoint?
Constant reminders are vital, but besides bolstering our Inner Voice, we want to begin quieting the screeching of any gremlin messages that are interfering with receiving intuitive messages from the Universe (inner voice).
How on earth do we slow the momentum of the inner critic?
When you become aware that your inner critic is active, just notice. That is the first step. Just let yourself be aware that the critic is vying for your attention. Don’t try to shift gears. Don’t get upset that “it’s happening” again. Don’t run away from the voice or the feelings it brings. Just shine awareness on it. Just be aware. Simply watch the actions of the gremlin with curiosity and non-judgement.
What were you engaged in when the inner critic spoke up? – Keeping a list of your triggers can be helpful. What is the inner critic trying to protect you from? If it’s an emotion that the critic is trying to avoid, sit with that emotion. Allow yourself to experience it. What does it feel like to allow the emotion?
Awareness is a powerful weapon against the inner critic. For now, let that be enough. Practice getting good at recognizing the inner critic’s voice, and simply observing it.
In the next post, we’ll explore ways to disarm our gremlins and begin redirecting the energy they drain from us into building new, more positive thought pathways!
Follow this link to order Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson. It’s the preeminent work on gremlin taming and a very useful book.
That’s how you know if it’s Inner Voice or inner critic talking. When your inner voice speaks, the message resonates and feels good. When the inner critic speaks, we feel icky, doubtful or anxious. Messages from the inner critic often manifest in the body as a knot in the solar plexus, or a twist in your tummy that can make you feel queasy or nauseous.
Messages from your inner voice never feel bad, and often leave us feeling buoyant or hopeful, because your inner voice comes from Source energy, your source, the source of ALL things (some people like the name God). Inner voice is connected to infinite wisdom and eternal Truth. Inner voice knows the longing in your heart and is always guiding you toward it. Inner voice is your authentic self, your true nature. Inner voice speaks in new ideas and intuitive insights.
By regularly practicing seeing things through the viewpoint of Source, we are better able to HEAR our authentic inner voice when the inner critic is trying to drown it out.
Inner voice says, “Take the risk! Get out there and live your dreams!” And inner critic is on the other shoulder saying, “Play it safe! Don’t get hurt! Remember that time we risked it all and how MUCH it hurt?”
Source knows you are capable and worthy in every situation.
When we think thoughts that oppose this viewpoint, it splits our energy and drains us.
On the other hand, reminding yourself on a daily basis that you are capable and worthy in every situation helps you hear the inner voice more clearly. When we practice thinking like Source thinks, we draw our own power around us like a cloak of invincibility. Practicing the point of view of Source helps us more clearly know our own true desires.
When chaos reigns around us, we will hear the messages that we have practiced most frequently. If we have practiced thinking like inner critic, then chaos means things have gone wrong, or the situation is bad, and we are probably powerless to change anything or help anyone.
If we practice thinking like Source, then when chaos reigns we keep our balance. We are not tossed about like a cork on a raging sea, because our inner voice reminds us that we are powerful beings who have weathered storms before, that we have resources at our disposal, and that we can find the answers even if we don’t have them right NOW. We understand that every situation has a purpose, and is an opportunity for self-growth.
If THAT is the voice you want to access under stress, that is the voice you must practice listening to every day!
HOW do I practice the vibration of my inner voice?
One of the best ways I know to practice thinking like the inner voice that comes from Source is to find affirmations that RESONATE for me. Now you can’t just swap a practiced thought like “I NEVER have enough money,” into “I am rich beyond my wildest dreams!” and have it resonate because the vibrations don’t match. Start where you are and build to where you want to be. Because you really WANT “I am rich beyond my wildest dreams,” to resonate for you, right? Of course! We all do. But start with small shifts, like this: I am open to receive floods of financial abundance with ease.
Or start simpler: The universe is abundant in nature. Find one that resonates (or two or three at most) and practice it every day. Allow that to become your vibrational set point. Then find new affirmations that resonate and shift your vibration further upward.
Sometimes affirmations need training wheels while we practice new thoughts!
If for the last few years your mantra has been, “I hate to go to the gym,” then switching to “I love going to the gym,” is going to be too big a leap for your mind to buy into all at once. In this case, apply some training wheels: Why is it so fun and easy to go to the gym? See what we did there? We didn’t say it was fun and easy, we asked, “why is it?”
The mind will accept the question, and if you practice that mantra – and you practice setting an intention to go work out and then follow through – eventually your vibration will shift and you will feel differently, and you can change the affirmation. Using the same example, the next step might be something like, “I enjoy feeling stronger and lighter when I go to the gym.”
Life is a process. So is changing your thought patterns. Shifting your vibration upwards is KEY to hearing your inner voice over your inner critic, because for MOST of us, the inner critic has had more practice!
What does your inner critic say? How does that make you feel? What thought resonates that helps you begin to tell a better story? What thoughts can you choose that allow you to feel better right now?
This type of thought work or vibrational shifting is vital for growing our awareness. In my next blog post, I’ll talk about what to do when the inner critic drowns out the inner voice.
You know all those messages that flash into your mind throughout the day? Where do those messages come from and what are they saying to you?
A lot of the “messages” we hear come from outside ourselves, even if it seems like they originated in our mind. If you were taught to never trust strangers when you were a child, then when you meet someone new, your ‘voices’ might tell you “be careful, be guarded, don’t let them know what you’re really thinking, they could use it against you.” If you’re only experiences meeting new people are positive and uplifting, the voices would say something different, right?
Most of the time the voices come from experience. If in our past we did or said something that got a negative response from someone, we might conclude that EVERYONE will give us the same response. In this case the voices in your head would advise you to AVOID doing this again to protect you from that negative response.
But this leaves us anxious and unsure because we try to base our behavior on what other people might do. Or they might not. It’s all very confusing.
Sometimes the voices repeat what others have told us. If your mother convinced you as a child that “ladies should be seen and not heard,” then you will probably keep your ideas and opinions to yourself. If you learned as a child that you should put others’ needs ahead of your own, then you are not likely to stand up for yourself even when your own health and well-being are at stake.
So if all these messages come from outside of us, even while we feel like they come from inside our brain, how do we decipher what is true? How do we find our own voice or identify our own desires?
When we get still, and quiet our minds, we shut out the other voices and can more clearly hear what our hearts are telling us. And our hearts always tell truth. When we follow our heart, we can’t go wrong!
Most of my clients tell me they have trouble hearing their heart’s desires for the voices in their heads, and want to know HOW to get still. GREAT question!
It takes PRACTICE. Daily practice is required for any skill that you really want to master, right? That includes changing thought patterns or behavior patterns.
Where do I start?
That’s usually the next question. There are myriad ways to “center” or to “meditate” and at least as many books, blogs, and recordings. The main idea is to get the mind chatter to slow down or stop. The easiest way I know is to focus on something repetitive like your breathing, ocean waves, the hum of an air conditioner, or the ticking of a clock. Guided meditations simply give your mind something else to focus on in a calming way. Try searching on YouTube and you’ll surely find something that appeals to you.
Click here for a recording of a basic guided meditation I made. Some of my clients find it useful at least as a starting point. Give yourself the gift of seven minutes to sit somewhere quiet – to just listen, and relax. Listen for your own voice in the spaces between breaths. Be still, and quiet, and listen.
How does your breathing change as your mind quiets? What messages came through for you if any? What does your inner voice sound like? What qualities do you hear in your inner voice? How do you FEEL when you hear your inner voice?
In my next blog post I’ll talk about hearing your inner voice more clearly!