Sunday, September 16, 2012

Speak Yourself

As the Jewish New Year begins, I am making one very serious commitment – to make sure that my inner voice speaks kindly.   Throughout my life, a constant struggle has been to have a positive inner voice.  Like so many of us,  I am the most critical of myself and the internal conversation is sometimes more active and frustrating than an actual conversation with a loved one.

Recently, I saw a webisode of Amy Poehler’s, “Ask Amy.”    She read a question from a viewer about body image and inner beauty.  She answers the question by telling the audience how women and young girls should find parts of their body to love and when feeling down, they should speak to themselves as if they were speaking to their daughter or younger sister.   What struck me most is how she instructs women to speak to themselves as if they are talking to someone they care for deeply.  Do we really need to be told that?  YES!  When I look in the mirror or think about what steps I need to take, I am more critical than any other person.  My thoughts are mixed – “you can do this, you can’t do this, do it this way, that won’t work.”  
At the suggestion of someone I admire, I began reading “Mindset, The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.  Only 20% into the book, I already see a difference in how I perceive certain situations regarding my own growth and limitations.  I carry a very positive persona.  I am happy, I am pro-active and I like to solve problems.  However, like many women, I have a voice inside that can be more critical than necessary.  It can be overbrearing, mean, relentless and WRONG.  It took me a long time to recognize the mean voice and that I am the one being too critical of myself.

In the past year (before I read the book or saw the webisode) I began to change my mindset.  I want my inner voice to be stronger and kinder and to be able to I say, "Let's go, let's do this, or you will be okay if it doesn't work out."  I have found some freedom in releasing the negative chatter.   I don’t second guess myself and I don’t over analyze (at least not as much).  When I changed my thinking back in January, I started playing tennis again, I learned to meditate, and I began writing and reading more.  I now live and love more deeply.  I experience life with more curiosity and interest.

I’m not perfect, but I am so much more fulfilled.  There are plenty of people who will be the negative voice in my life.  I have worked hard to ignore them and at least, take the constructive criticism.  Now I want to be kinder, more forgiving, and easier on myself.  I want to own a can-do-am attitude and continue to grab and embrace new challenges – those I create and those that come to me.  This is what I want for the New Year.

Wishing a sweet, joyful, productive, and thoughtful New Year!

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