Everyone has it, but some people's shouts louder and more persistently. That voice that's constantly judging you and criticising you. My inner voice demands perfection from me – anything less and I'm a failure. If I'm tired and I eat unhealthily then “I've failed”, “I'm fat”, “I'm stupid”, “Why have I got no will power”, “I'm never going to lose weight”, “what's the point in trying”, “no one will ever love me”. It goes from bad to worse and within a matter of minutes it's gone from I've eaten a cake to no one will ever love me – extreme! But in those seconds I believe it. And sometimes I believe it for longer than a few seconds or minutes. In fact my mind loves to tell me these stories, and if I'm not careful they can take over my life and it's exhausting!
“no one likes me”
“I'm worthless, a failure”
“I'll never get my own place”
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME”
I've found that the only thing that keeps this voice at bay is a consistent mindfulness practice. If this practice lapses I really notice – it's the difference between having some control and being run ragged by this voice that just shouts abuse at me and has me running round in circles believing all sorts of nonsense.
I'm now training to become a mindfulness teacher. I thought this would mean I would become 'better' at my practice. Though it turns out it's given the voice a new target “how can you teach others when you can't even keep it up yourself”. It seems that the inner critic now wants perfection in my mindfulness practice and I'm not good enough if that's not achieved.
Now I know that perfection is not an achievable goal. It's setting yourself up for failure. I am good at many things – but perfect? No one is perfect.
I also know that when I do practice regularly my mind seems different – I see everything from a different perspective. Things seem calmer and more in balance. And I know that even the most experienced practitioner has lapses in their practice. Life happens. We all get tired, or have things that get in the way. It's how we deal with the challenges and with the lapses that matters.
I am only human, I make mistakes – we all do. But when I realise all I can do is admit to it, understand it and move forward with my life. I can start again. I can schedule my meditation practice. I can go back to basics and re-teach myself. And I may need to do this many times. Ultimately this teaches me a valuable lesson every time – if only that this is essential to my being. That it's not a lifestyle choice or a fad, that it's part of me. That it frees me – and makes me able to live my life without the voice shouting quite so much. And that means so much!
Hi, I'm Sleepy Knights - the exhausted creative. Thanks for visiting my blog! I'll be sharing my creative output - poetry, photography and crafts projects - insights into mindfulness training, coping strategies to deal with life and my own struggles and successes - Read the about section for more info!