What have I got to lose? A lot! I am just realizing now how much I have attributed my self worth to sooo many roles, identities, people and things.
Wow! What a relief to lose this illusion and place my worth where it really belongs — onto my divine soul. My true worth is my divine essence — any person, place or thing that I’ve tried to use to help me find worth in myself is an illusion and eventually crumbled. And when it crumbled, boy, did I scramble to find myself another illusion. Until that one crumbled. And onto the next.
Becoming Aware of the Inner Critic
I’ve been unravelling this pattern recently while reading Embracing Your Inner Critic by Hal and Sidra Stone. Getting distance from my own inner critic — you know the one: it’s the voice inside your head that lets you know that you can’t ever get it right. To the Inner Critic, either you’re too needy, or too sensitive, too heavy, or too thin or you’re not good enough, smart enough, tall enough, etc. The illusion of “if I were only…, then I would be this, have that, loved by….” (you can fill in the blanks).
The list is infinite and the messages are relentlessly cruel. Believe it or not, though, this Inner Critic is really just trying to protect your Inner Vulnerable child from the feelings of hurt, pain and shame that it may experience from not doing everything the “right way.” So it beats the bejeepers out of us.
Aah, but once I became aware of this inner criticism, the light switched on for me. I hear the “too this…“ and “not enough that…” for what it truly is — an alarm warning that there is danger ahead. My Inner Critic is petrified that I may experience rejection, pain or look foolish. My loved ones, boss or others who are important to me may abandon me.
Kindness & Compassion
So now, when I notice (and many times I still don’t) this inner attack, I blast the Inner Critic with compassion. “Oh, I understand. You’re scared and you have come up with all kind of negative scenarios of what others may think of me. I hear your fear, honey and I’m still going to go out into the world like this — faults, imperfections and all because Hashem perfectly created me like everyone else — imperfectly human.”
This doesn’t mean that I won’t try to dress decent, lose weight or learn more, but I’ll do it from the energy of kindness for myself and the allowance of my humanness, rather than the soul sapping energy of beating myself up.
With this light on, I began to see the other illusion I wanted to lose. The illusion that my self worth depended on something or someone outside of me. I began to really download that my self worth doesn’t depend on how many friends I have on Facebook, how much money I make, how my garden looks or whether I’m married or not.
I put the worth back onto who it really belongs. The one who created me in the first place — Hashem. If my self worth rests on my hair or my career, what happens when my hair starts thinning or my career falls apart? If my self worth rests on so and so liking me or my skirt looking just right, then what happens when the relationship with so and so stops or my skirt gets too tight? Then what? Move onto the next illusion?
Or can I choose to jump off this bandwagon and open my eyes to the truth — that my self worth comes from my divine essence — Hashem created me and breathes a life force into me every moment that I’m here on this earth as a soul in body. This is enough. And now, if my relationships change, my jobs change, my body changes or my roles change, then I’m left with ….me, divinely human.