Silence Your Inner Critic

I confess that I’m very hard on myself. Whether it’s because I’m the oldest child or a Capricorn or any myriad of other things, it’s just a fact of me. And because of this, when I fail to meet my own (often ridiculously) high expectations, I sometimes say unkind things to myself. I use mean, rude, awful words that I’d never dream of saying to anyone else. And I don’t just say these things once, let it all go and walk away. I often repeat them, berating and punishing myself.

During one berating spree, I happened to catch the television drama, Parenthood, and a character said something I needed to hear: “Life will knock you down more times than you can possibly imagine. Don’t knock yourself down.”

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Why is it that we are almost always harder on ourselves than we are on others? Why can’t we give ourselves the same compassion and understanding that we give others so freely? And why do we even listen to ourselves when we get like that? Author Natalie Goldberg said “We follow that voice inside us as if it were God. But it’s really just a thought.” It’s so true: those awful things we tell ourselves really are just thoughts. So how can we silence them? I don’t know all the answers, but here’s what I’ve been trying.

Realize you’re being critical. Sometimes these reactions are so automatic we don’t even know we’re doing it. Like breaking any bad habit, realizing you’re doing it is the first step.

Tell yourself it’s just a thought and tell yourself to stop it. Just because you’re saying it to yourself—and just because you’re buying it—doesn’t mean it’s true. When you realize it’s just a thought, it deflates the intensity and the power it has over you and it’s easier to tell yourself to stop. By the way, I recommend telling yourself these things aloud if doing it silently doesn’t work. You may feel a little crazy at first talking to yourself, but it brings a conscious awareness that’s sometimes more effective than saying it silently.

Imagine what you’d say to a friend and say it to yourself. When you change the words you say, you change the energy being directed at yourself. That inner critic cannot thrive in that more loving kind of energy. And I recommend doing this one out loud for effectiveness too if needed. The weird stares you may get are totally worth the effectiveness.

These are the steps I’ve been trying that are helping me silence my inner critic and grow on my spiritual and emotional journey. I hope these tips help you too.

loving-onesself

3 Ways Intuition Speaks to You

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“But I want the big, booming voice,” my client, Kristen, protested. She’d come to me for a psychic reading, and during it, I’d shared messages and advice from her spirit guides. And while Kristen had confirmed that the messages had resonated with her, she admitted to being puzzled. She had received many of the same messages before her reading, but she had questioned them because they didn’t come in the form she expected: a big, booming voice telling her plainly what she needed to know.

I explained that I don’t hear a big, booming voice, either, that messages come to me in a variety of bits and pieces of impressions, pictures, feelings and words, rather than fully formed ideas. I then get to interpret them, putting them together like a puzzle picture coming together.

Kristen was amazed, because that’s the kind of tidbits of info she receives as well. She thought the absence of a big, booming voice meant her antenna for messages was somehow weak or out of order, but she was right in tune. She just didn’t know it.

Understanding how intuition speaks to you is the first step towards following and trusting it. Here are three ways intuition communicates.

1. Intuition speaks to us through synchronicities.

Not just the title to an album from The Police in the 80s, synchronicities are “meaningful coincidences of outer and inner events that are not themselves causally connected. The emphasis lies on the word ‘meaningful’. (Marie Louise von Franz)

Whenever two or more independent incidences of a theme/topic repeat, it could be a synchronicity. They can come from a phrase or sentence jumping out when reading to a friend saying just what you need to hear… anything. Intuition speaks through these meaningful coincidences, so being mindful of synchonicities is key to getting an answer you’re looking for. As Carl Jung said, “Synchronicity reveals the meaningful connections between the subjective and objective world.”

Try it: Put synchronicities to the test through this exercise:

After getting quiet and asking the divine/your guides/your higher self/your intuition a question, pay close attention for the next 24-48 hours to the conversation you have with others, the entertainment you watch/listen to, and the things you read. If you notice repeats of the same theme or topic happening independently of one another, then it could be an answer for you.

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2. Intuition speaks to us through “clairs”.

A prefix meaning “clearly or clear”, “clair” is added onto other sensory words to describe the intuitive ways we receive information, guidance, or answers. Whether you clearly hear, see, feel, or know something without explanation, such as just knowing someone isn’t being honest or hearing a voice telling you to take a class to learn something new, this is another key way your intuition speaks to you.

clairvoyance = clearly seeing

clairaudience = clearly hearing

clairsentience = clearly feeling

claircognizence = clearly knowing

clairalience = clearly smelling

clairgustance = clearly tasting

Try it: Not sure which “clair” your intuition speaks through? Try this exercise to find out.

Get quiet. Take a few deep breaths. Ask the divine/your guides/your higher self/your intuition a question. Then pay attention to what you hear, see, feel, etc. to experience an answer. Which clair comes through for you?

3. Intuition speaks through symbols/dreams.

Dreams can hold the keys to our unconscious and are often the language of intuition. Look for recurring items and symbols in your dreams in terms of

1) what they actually do (for example, a car is a mode of transportation),

2) what they mean to you (a car may mean freedom, independence, mobility, etc.),

3) what they may represent in society or mythology (a car can mean status, industry, performance, etc), and

4) how they make you feel.

Then see what that item or symbol is doing in your dream to see what your intuition could be telling you.

Try it: Try this exercise to consciously call on your dreams to speak to you.

As you get ready for bed, take a few moments to get quiet. Take a few deep breaths. Ask the divine/your guides/your higher self/your intuition a question. Then pay attention to what dreams you have that night and write them down first thing the next morning. Did anything in your dream serve as an answer?

If you want more guidance about intuition, check out my classes page to sign up to learn more.

Make a Difference by Being You

unique-light

I don’t think it’s any secret that there are many problems in the world. It can seem very daunting at times, and other times it can feel doubtful that anything, let alone one person, can make a difference.

But you can help make a difference.

As Michael Meade said, “Changes in the world happen with changes in individuals.”  And for change to happen in the world, it needs the unique voice and life that is you. People who have awakened to who they truly are, embrace it, and live the life they are uniquely meant to live have impact and leave the world a better place.

Thanks to Amy Oscar for sharing these beautiful words:

You-Shaped Hole

Sometimes the world feels inhospitable.

You feel all the ways that you and it don’t fit.

You see what’s missing, how it all could be different.

You feel as if you weren’t meant for the world, or the world wasn’t meant for you.

As if the world is “the way it is” and your discomfort with it a problem.

So you get timid. You get quiet about what you see.

But what if this? What if you are meant

to feel the world is inhospitable, unfriendly, off-track

in just the particular ways that you do?

The world has a you-shaped hole in it.

It is missing what you see.

It lacks what you know.

And so you were called into being.

To see the gap, to feel the pain of it, and to fill it.

Filling it is speaking what is missing.

Filling it is stepping into the center of the crowd, into a clearing, and saying, here, my friends, is the future.

Filling it is being what is missing, becoming it.

You don’t have to do it all, but you do have to speak it.

You have to tell your slice of the truth.

You do have to walk toward it with your choices, with your own being.

Then allies and energies will come to you like fireflies swirling around a light.

The roughness of the world, the off-track-ness, the folly that you see,

these are the most precious gifts you will receive in this lifetime.

They are not here to distance you from the world, but to guide you

into your contribution to it.

The world was made with a you-shaped hole in it.

In that way you are important.

In that way you are here to make the world.

In that way you are called.

– Tara Sophia Mohr

One more thought from Michael Meade: “If you don’t live the unique life you came to live, no one else will ever live it.”

I invite you to live the unique life you were meant to live. Give voice to the unique way you see things. Share your unique talents. Spread your unique light and fill the you-shaped hole in the world. It will make a difference.