Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Patterns of the mind

If you know me, and happen to come by my house in the next week, don't read the post it notes scattered around.  I usually have inspiring quotes or talismans on post it notes scattered, however I am working on a new exercise from the book "The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself" by Kristin Neff.

There were a number of options for this exercise, and it was emphasized to take a couple of weeks to to allow a pattern to emerge.  The first part of the exercise was to listen to the self critical voice, this could be done externally, internally or written.  My idea is after a pattern begins to emerge, it is time to address that voice with compassion.  I have used similar exercises in the past, just being aware of the internal voice, without giving it attention.  I have argued with the voice internally and I have used that voice outloud.  For me those attempts usually ended up with arguments in my head, or with a downward spiral because this voice can be unrelenting and super creative.  

I write, it made sense for this attempt to write that voice down.  I chose post it notes, so that I could literally write out the response of the compassionate observer to each one of the lies.  Not to argue with the voice, it has a purpose and is wanting to communicate something to me, it just doesn't know a kind way to do it (that is the lie, the cruelty not the information).   I believe the compassionate observer has the potential to be just as unrelenting and creative, it needs time to grow.   I need to practice.   Writing is an excellent anchor for me, and so I am seeing what happens with this experiment.  

I write down what I hear that voice say, without censoring it, sometimes it is the same thing over and over again.   Sometimes when I notice I have been sitting writing for a while, I get up and break the state by moving my body.   This is about observing and not watering the voice, it is about listening and learning to understand what it is communicating to me, without putting a hurtful meaning to it.  

I have been crying a lot since I started this exercise, it is not easy for me to look at these words on paper.  It is also difficult because some part of me believes the lies, believes I deserve the cruelty, there are many identities that are fueled by this voice.  Words that I would never want to say to a loved one, however I know I have said some of them at some point.  They are words that come from fear, if those people can forgive me and still love me, why do I find it difficult to love me at times for just thoughts?   Maybe I will find out, or maybe I will just learn to accept and love myself.   

Question of the day: When do you find it difficult to love yourself?  What triggers that self critic voice and how do you want to replace that pattern?


  1. I find it difficult to love myself when I binge eat and/or gain weight. I find it difficult to love myself when I don't put up clear boundaries. I find it difficult to love myself when I promise things I'm not sure I can deliver. I find it difficult to love myself when I am a hypocrite:

    1. Boundaries are such an issue for me as well, mostly because I feel like I don't quite get it until that boundary is crossed and then I don't know how to go back. Everything you said I completely relate to, we spend all day with ourselves and it is a little like looking at a microscope, I fail to see the big picture, or have any idea what the tapestry will look like in the end.