Fasting from Self-Criticism
A lot of our silent self-talk centers on judging and criticizing ourselves:
I should do this. I should have done that. I don’t measure up to him or her.
The silent chatter becomes such standard fare in our heads that we often don’t realize how much negative talk we chew on up there.
The negative brain drain then soon spills over into quiet judgments and criticisms of others:
He’s such a jerk. She’s a poor excuse for a person. They look ridiculous.
Before you know it we have a whole judge and jury racing around our minds convicting others and ourselves of how bad we are.
There’s nothing wrong with giving ourselves a good honest kick in the rear once in a while to jumpstart our growth, but the constant onslaught of negativism isn’t healthy for others or us.
What if we made a commitment to fast from self-judgment? What if we trained ourselves to become aware of the voice of negative self-criticism and replaced it with positive reminders or mantras about who we really are?
Perhaps if we gave ourselves more room to love and accept ourselves without the barrage of negative self-talk our positive self-image would pour over into loving and accepting others as well.
Judge not, lest you be judged needs to start with ourselves. We need to remember we are the shadow of God’s love and in that shadow we are called to love ourselves first so we can then love and care for our neighbors, our colleagues, the people we meet each day.
It might take a gentle discipline to catch our self-criticism and replace it with loving kindness toward ourselves, but if we do adopt this commitment to fast from negative self-talk it could very well lead to freeing us from the prison we create with our own thoughts. This simple practice might lead us to freedom: to love others and ourselves with unconditional love.
Freedom to remember who we already are: the shadow of God’s love.
What would it be like to be free from the negative self-talk that sputters around my mind each day?
What would it take to free myself from my self-imposed negativism and replace it with the unconditional truth of who I am?
Can I commit this week to replacing my negative thoughts with words of self-compassion such as: I am the shadow of God’s love.