One thing I have observed by teaching women self-defense is that when women feel uncoordinated during the workout, or hit the focus pad “wrong” during the practice, they get frustrated with themselves and say things such as
“I am sorry!”
“I’m not good at my left side,”
“I suck at this,”
“I used to be good at this,”
“I have a bad left foot,”
“My hip never moved right”,
“I’m never going to get this!”
and so on.
I can see the disappointment, embarrassment, and feelings of shame all over their faces.
In those moments, I wish I could wave a magic wand and stop them from constantly comparing, judging, and criticizing themselves.
That inner critic that is telling us that we are not adequate, that we are not good enough, that we are not pretty, smart, thin and strong enough, that we are not good daughters, mothers, sisters, spouses, and friends. That voice that says if people really knew us, they would not like us. That voice is holding us imprisoned to our past mistakes, disappointments, and hurt.
But I don’t have a magic wand. I only have encouraging words of hope:
You are not a victim of your genes, your circumstances, nor your past!
You are enough, you are loved, you are blessed, you are worth fighting for, you are a beautiful soul, you are smart and capable of amazing things. You are kind and loving. You are a good daughter, mom, partner, and friend. You are born to shine and do great meaningful things. But, most importantly you are born to BE. To be your best self-your true self. The divine you that is innately compassionate, loving, kind, grateful, patient, hopeful, and content.
One practical way that helped me get rid of my inner critic is by personifying it. Imagine a roommate following you around constantly insulting, judging and undermining you. Always cynical and negative, planting doubts whenever you get a glimpse of hope. Now, would you want someone like that around you even for a few hours, let alone all day every day? No!
So, get rid of it!
Instead, bring on a positive and hopeful roommate who is truly your best friend and will cheer you on in hard times, who will speak love and hope, who will tell you that you don’t have to be perfect, that you just need to be YOU, and everyday choosing to feed the good wolf inside you.
And by all means stop saying you are sorry and excusing yourself for learning new things! Say sorry when you hurt someone and when you do something wrong. Instead praise yourself for being courageous to be vulnerable, so you can challenge yourself and learn something new. So you can grow and become more confident!