The judgemental voice in our heads surfaces a thousand times throughout the day… ‘Don’t be so stupid!’, ‘Why did you do that?!’, ‘What the hell are you doing?!’. Where this voice comes from and why it appears when it does was unknown to me for a very long time. I accepted it as part of my mental life, as part of who I am. I didn’t even stop to consider that there may be another way…
That was until a wise man appeared across my path and stopped and smiled at me inquisitively. I spoke some words and he listened without judgment, his attention was on me fully and I had a feeling of being comforted somehow. As I told my story of the events that had transpired and the feelings and emotions it brought up in me he reacted accordingly and I could feel him burdening some of my pain. I felt a physical relief in my body and a serene calmness washed over me. After I stopped speaking he looked to the ground in thought for a very long time and I felt no urge to interrupt him. After some time he looked at me. But really looked at me, his fierce blue eyes penetrating through to my core. He saw me and he told me ‘Be kind to yourself’.
‘Kind to yourself’? what on earth did that mean? He further explained to approach myself with softness and as he said this he gave a gentle sweeping motion with his arm softly padding the air. You must look after yourself, you must rest, you must be kind to yourself. We are so swept up in the energies of our day to day ‘doings’ in the physical world that we never take that time to rest. We never take that time to observe how we are towards ourselves.
A further explanation followed and he laid out two scenarios:
- How would you speak to a friend who had just received some really bad news or did something they thought was stupid?
- How would you react to yourself if you didn’t complete something positive that you wanted to complete? For example say you wanted to start running but on one particular day you decided to stay in bed instead of going for a run, how would you speak to yourself after?
Now with these two situations reverse it. Speak to your friend how you would speak to yourself. I tried this and I was shocked! I would never speak to a friend the way I speak to myself… and then it hit me like a tonne of bricks. All these years I had been speaking to myself this way. I had been my own worse enemy and why? Or some level I thought speaking to myself this way would somehow prevent me from doing these ‘stupid’, ‘silly’, ‘idiotic’ things in the future. But all the time I was battering myself. Inflicting injury upon injury because this is how I truly believed I would avoid these mistakes in future.
Be kind to yourself… Be kind to yourself… Be kind to yourself… And with that only kindness can follow. To those around you, to those you interact with, to those you cherish and to those you despise. Kindness will flow from you and of course you will get caught up in your daily drama but return to this mantra — ‘Be Kind To Yourself’ and kindness and light will enter your life.
I learnt this on a MSBR course — Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction. You can find out more on the Mindfulness-based stress reduction Wiki Page.