I don’t know about you, but I struggle with an inner voice that isn’t always my BFF, you know what I mean?
She’s like the mean girl at the lunch table in high school that makes you feel uncool, unworthy or unwelcome.
She brings with her things like guilt, blame… shame and if you’re anything like me, sometimes that inner voice drags you to a dark place threatening your sense of awesomeness.
We’ve all heard the cliche “you are your own worst enemy” but why does that have to be true?
I’ve spent years working with my inner-b*tch to change the way I speak to myself and every once in awhile, I’m reminded that I’m a work in progress… and so are you!
When that inner voice starts to bully its way into making you feel like you’re less than, unworthy, unwelcome, or not enough in any way here’s a “recipe” for putting that b*tch back in her place!
Step One: Make a Recipe of the Thing You Don’t Want
I’ll admit, it’s a bit counterintuitive and the exact opposite of where most people tell you where to start but knowing what you don’t want is the first step in identifying what you DO!
Answer this question: What characteristics don’t you want in your relationship with yourself? How don’t you want to feel?
Using blame, shame & guilt as the example for what you don’t want in a relationship with yourself, let’s walk through the exercise!
How to Create a Blame-y, Shame-y, Guilt-filled Relationship With Yourself
First, you have to judge yourself through the eyes of others. You’ll actually be judging yourself. But you have to remain unaware that you’re doing this to yourself. That way you can continue to blame others for feeling how you feel.
Second, you have to be a terrible mind-reader. It’s like false empathy. You have to think you know EXACTLY what other people are thinking and feeling. But really, you’ll just be projecting your insecurities onto others.
Third, you can’t ever let yourself feel vulnerable. As long as you avoid being vulnerable, you’ll never get hurt.
And finally, don’t have a connection with yourself. Don’t even see it as a relationship that needs tending to. Just ignore yourself most of the time. Essentially, give yourself the silent treatment. Don’t give yourself any care or attention at all.
If you do those four things, you too can feel guilt, shame, and self-blame on a regular basis!
Step Two: Turning it Around
Now let’s be clear, we didn’t create the first recipe to actually use it. We created it to cultivate awareness.
Now that we know what we don’t want we can change it piece by piece using the recipe we just created!
Starting from the top!
How to Stop Judging Ourselves
When we feel judged, we create that experience for ourselves.
We might think “My boss doesn’t trust me.”
But 99% of the time, we don’t know this judgment to be true. We might just think we know. We might really really think we know.
But we don’t. Instead, it’s an assumption that we’re choosing to believe. And so we place the judgment on ourself.
So instead of knowing that “My boss doesn’t trust me” we can see that “I don’t trust myself.” (And, “I don’t trust my boss.”)
Turning judgments around can be a bitter pill to swallow. But it’s a powerful move to make. Because it gives you 100% responsibility as the creator of your experience.
From that place, you can let go of the self-judgment, and return to a place awesomeness.
How to Stop Projecting Insecurities Onto Others
We like to think we know what other people are thinking and feeling. But in reality, we never know exactly what’s going on in other peoples’ lives. (We can’t read minds!)
Instead, we take what we get from them and create a story in our head about what’s going on in their world.
Which oftentimes means taking our worst fears and painting them onto the experiences we have with others.
The antidote to this self-defeating habit is to notice false stories when they arise. And then replace them with a more empowering story.
- When someone gives you a less-than-warm welcome…Are they mad at you? Or might they be having a tough day for reasons unrelated to you?
- When someone doesn’t answer your email on the same day…Are they disappointed with what you sent? Or merely occupied by other things?
- When someone gives you a short reply…Is it a sign you’ve done something wrong? Or might they be feeling overwhelmed, and chose to be brief?
The events of life don’t create our experience. It’s our relationship to these events that do. It’s the power of perception.
How to Stop Holding Ourselves Back From Connection
Vulnerability can feel scary AF! Many of us have a false (subconscious) narrative that not being vulnerable is the only way to stay safe.
But really, the opposite is true. If we never allow ourselves to feel vulnerable, we never create opportunities to connect fully with others leaving us with feelings of isolation & loneliness.
When you start to feel vulnerable it’s easy to back away but that’s a false sense of safety and it’s only short term. For long term feelings of safety, sit in the experience of feeling vulnerable, lean in and do it anyway!
Sure, it’s possible that we can be rejected when we show up fully…But without daring to be vulnerable, we lose by default.
Instead of shying away from vulnerability, we can treat it like an IF/THEN game! IF I feel some fear about being vulnerable…THEN I have to do it.
Like anything, expressing yourself vulnerably is a skill you can practice.
How to Stop Ignoring Yourself
Without giving something adequate attention, it tends to shrivel up and die. Have you ever ignored a houseplant for any length of time? Lord knows I have and by the time I realize “hey, I need to water that” it’s hanging on by a thread. This is why foe-greenery is my friend and just like the house plant:
- Not giving attention to your health? You won’t feel energized.
- Not giving attention to your business? You won’t prosper.
- Not giving attention to a relationship? It won’t flourish.
The same is true for our relationship with ourselves.
For some, the idea of creating a good relationship with ourselves seems foreign. “What do you mean a relationship with myself?!”
Which results in blind-spots of self-awareness, where we ignore our needs and disconnect from our intuition.
And over time, these accumulate into a sad, halfhearted inner-relationship.
The Recipe for a Grounded, Accepting, and Loving Inner-Relationship
Taking all of this into account, we can create a new recipe that points us in a more enriching direction.
- Take 100% ownership for the experience of feeling judged. Recognize anytime you start judging yourself through the eyes of others and turn it around.
- Notice when you’re trying to be a mind-reader. Reconnect with the reality that you can never actually know what someone else’s inner-experience is or what’s going on in their life. Shift your focus on empowering thoughts about how YOU feel.
- Lean into vulnerability as a practice. Know that you can’t live life wholeheartedly without a willingness to be vulnerable. When you notice yourself starting to close up, pause, re-ground, and choose to open instead.
- Prioritize your relationship with yourself first. Without love and acceptance for yourself, you have much less to give to others. Create space to connect with yourself on a regular basis.
Now it’s your turn!
What’s the #1 thing you need to start doing to improve your inner-relationship?
And what’s the #1 thing you need to stop doing to improve that relationship?
That’s the practice. Identify what’d be most impactful for you. Then, make it happen.