Self-criticism is a nasty little default habit that can creep into your world. It's a lot more common than you think. Do your own reconnaissance. Note your automatic inner put-downs, especially when it's something you really want. There's a litany of judgments the inner naysayer will scatter across your field of dreams. In the end, self-criticism undermines your ability to soar.
Self-criticism is just another mask the ego wears to keep you safe from stepping beyond the comfort zone. Often it results in hardening your heart against your hopes and dreams, instead of diving into them.
Life circumstances can lead you to create a hard exterior. Sometimes it's the only way you can feel safe to go about your day-to-day. I certainly followed this approach in my younger years. I remember a consultation I had with the amazing health and wellness author, Tom Monty.
He said: “Your heart is encased in ice.” He was spot on! It took me a lot of work to get to a place where I was willing to open my heart to others. This heart nature that many remark on took today decades of cultivation.
When you know better, you do better.
I have three observations on the heart-scape that helped me to soften up. Here are the tried and true practices that allowed me to go from fixed to flexible (and opened my heart big time):
Drop the persona. You know that person you crafted to deal with the world? That's not really you. That's a response you created at a time when it was very hard for you to navigate the world. You had to find a way, any way! And you did. This was a very young you. Today you know more. You can be more of who you really are.
Resist the urge to close. Sometimes this is downright automatic. You don't even discover you've done it until after the fact. Here's the thing, you'll never get to the choice point unless you slow down. It's hard to slow down when you're in the thrall of deep emotions. Practices that help you process both the thinking and the feeling will get you there. Choose your mindfulness practice. There are SO many. One of my faves is the Sam Harris app, Waking Up. There are a variety of methods and masters. You're sure to hit on something.
Connect with growth-oriented people. I can't say this enough. This is so much harder to do on your own. There is amplified energy and power when you connect with others on for growth. It's rocket fuel, darling.
Little by little, the things that used to trigger a hard shutdown will cease to exist. The key is to be in the practice and on the pathway to who YOU choose to be.
Do it, darling!