“Let go of the frustration and the judgment and work with your unruly mind as you would with a child or a puppy.” – Gates & Kenison
I’m grateful to have found my “yoga voice.” When I speak it to myself it is much kinder and gentler than my critical voice that internally spoke of inadequacy and disdain to myself. That voice said ugly things. Things I would never say to another human.
“You are too fat. You would look better if you only lost (5, 10, 20, fill in the number) pounds.”
“Look at those dark circles. You need to cover those. Is that a new wrinkle? *applies make-up* I can still see them.”
“My eyes look tired. They look sad. Why can’t I make them sparkle?”
“My hair is too thin. Especially in that spot right there. Is that a gray hair? Ugh!”
“What makes me think i can (fill in the blank)? Everyone knows I’m just a (fill in the blank).”
“*something goes wrong* See! I told you you couldn’t. I don’t know why you even try.”
And, there are more. If I analyze these statements, what I find is they come from a common root.
I. Am. Not. Good. Enough.
I’ve actually been working on this negative self talk for several years, pre-yoga journey. One time I was listening to Oprah and she said, “Do not speak words to yourself that you would not say to a friend.” These words resonated with me at that time. Wow! How true. Why do I say these things to myself?
But, changing the recording that plays in the mind is easier said than done. It takes time. It takes patience. These thoughts are habitual.
When I first tried, the “thought poison” came out as it always had, but I could bring awareness to it and reframe it.
“My body is amazing and carries me through life. I care for it inside and out. I can dress it well.”
“My face is a road map of my journey reflecting the genuine smiles that crinkled my eyes and the ponderings that furrowed the brow. All of the beautiful carefree days where the sun soaked into the skin left an impression. I am beautiful just as I am.”
“It’s okay to be tired and it’s okay to be sad. Find rest. Let the eyes leak. I can allow myself to heal. The sparkle is still there and will show itself in time.”
“My hair is long and the colors of chocolate and cinnamon. It is shiny, soft and strong. I love how it feels.”
“I can do whatever I set my mind to do. Everyone knows I am capable. And, if they don’t? It doesn’t matter. I know I’m capable.”
“Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Perhaps there is a silver lining. Maybe I did better than last time and I can continue to grow. I’ve done hard things before and I can do them again. Keep trying. Keep believing.”
I. Am. Enough.
But, in this process, you must be patient with your mind. I like to think of speaking to it with all the patience and encouragement that I would have for my two-year old self. Or thinking of it as “Monkey Mind,” a cute, impish being that needs to be patiently reigned in and refocused over and over.
The ongoing effort to find this patient, kind voice, the one I now call my yoga voice, has been worthwhile. Why? As Sherri, one of my yoga teachers, says, “Your voice is the loudest voice you will ever hear and believe.”
I. Deserve. Kindness.
So do you.
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