How much easier our lives would be if we followed the advice we lovingly give to others. For many of us, this period of “staying home” has significantly limited our face-to-face time with family members who do not live with us, colleagues, and others who comprise our various communities. Time together is facilitated by technology and flexible schedules, and we are all supporting people who are afraid, or who feel alone, or who long for – as I have heard so many people say – “all of this to be over.” We find words to encourage them, we try to make them laugh, we tell them how much we love them.
When those conversations are over, at the end of the day or the end of the night, how much of that encouraging advice do we take to heart ourselves?
We hear the two internal voices that speak directly to us throughout our waking hours – the critical voice (also known as our inner critic or judge) and a second voice, a loving voice to whom most of us listen so infrequently that we do not have a name for her/him/them.
In conversations with several people over the past few weeks, I have observed that the critical inner voice is now even more prominent and insistent than usual. I have heard a familiar theme that is being amplified, a theme of self-criticism and self-judgement. Our inner critic is alive and thriving, doing what it does best – criticizing us for what we are not doing or for what we are doing, while our loving inner voice is quieter than ever.
We can choose which voice we heed. We can listen to that loving voice that reminds us that we are enough, that we are doing enough. We can chose to be our harshest critic or our best and most loving friend. The choice seems so simple. Why, then, is that critical voice so persistent?
Will you join me in connecting with, nurturing, and believing in that quiet, loving, encouraging voice within?
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