Like so many things, it sounds simple, and yet I’m willing to bet you almost never do this for yourself.
Do you have a constant, nagging voice in your head telling you what you should and should not be doing? That you’re behind? That you’re not good enough? Is it so ingrained that you can’t differentiate it from yourself anymore?
You see, that’s the thing – the voice isn’t you. Maybe you’ve never quite realized that or it’s been a part of your thought process for so long that you’ve forgotten, but it’s not who you are.
I thought my inner voice was me, too. I’ve criticized myself in my own thought process constantly for most of my life. Of course I no longer understood that the voice is, in fact, simply a combination of all the voices that judged, criticized and disrespected me when I was a child. When I finally got a new therapist and she pointed out how horribly cruel and relentless my thoughts about myself are, it took me a while to fully integrate what she meant.
“Should” and “I need to” are bullshit guilt trips that we place upon ourselves, and yet if you examine your own thoughts I bet that you think in terms of “should” and “I need to” quite a lot. What if you replaced them with “could” and “I want to”? Just consider it. Think about how that might shift your mental state. If you were not in a constant thought spiral of guilt, shame and denial about who you are, what could you do? What would you want to do?
I am very proud of the progress that I’ve made since the day I realized that my thoughts do not, in fact, own me. I let my own brain run me ragged, but that was an unconscious choice I made day in and day out because I knew no other way. You are in charge of your thoughts! They are not in charge of you, and they can be changed. The beauty is that no matter how ingrained the patterns you have currently, thoughts can always be changed, as long as you want that change badly enough.
That voice still tries to chime in and tell me that I should have gone to bed earlier, I should have gotten up earlier, I should have accomplished more today, I should have exercised more. It was my mind’s foremost influence for decades – it’s not entirely gone, and maybe it never will be. That’s okay, because now when it pipes up, I know that I can quiet it and accept exactly who I am, where I am.
Try it today – there’s no time like now. What if you start listening for that critical inner voice, and when it tries to interfere with your life, you give yourself a break instead of conceding? What if you allow yourself to be? What if you let go of what’s already done and decide regret and guilt are a useless waste of your energy?
You are worthy exactly as you are. There is nothing that you have to do or accomplish in order to deserve your spot in this world. You are enough. That’s it. End of story.
Give yourself a break today and allow yourself to actually believe it.