I have a close friend who is constantly putting me down, critiquing me, judging me, and telling me that I’m not good enough. In my darkest moments, he is the worst. I’m down; he’s kicking me. I need a break; he’s pushing me further.
Some articles give great advice: surround yourself with compassionate people, not assholes. Some articles say that I will become like the people I surround myself with. But there’s a problem with this advice. My worst critic is my closest friend. That critic is me.
Yes, I’m talking about you, too. In being human, we have a condition where we like to pick on ourselves. Whether it is society or parents or the news or the President of the United States—wherever it comes from—we develop a sense of self-hate. I wish we would all come out of the teenage years as loving ourselves and loving one another, but we don’t. We usually despise ourselves, and in turn, despise other people.
It’s time to stop
The trend of self-abuse, self-doubt, and self-hate needs to stop. Now. It’s time for the self-hater to shut the f*ck up. Suck it, hate. The time to love oneself is now. We NEED to love ourselves more than ever. The world contains 8 billion people, most of whom hate themselves. And those that don’t hate themselves are incredibly cruel judges to themselves. People punish themselves for rules that don’t even exist. Laws are created in our minds that are arbitrary and extreme. I’m talking about silly stuff, such as:
- I can’t wear mismatched socks
- I shouldn’t watch too much tv
- I can’t go out in public with sweatpants
- I ought not to eat ice cream as dinner
- I should be (fill in the blank)
The list goes on ad nauseam. It is all in our minds. It ain’t real. It’s fake. It’s imaginary. The rules do not exist. The reason this is so maddening is that there isn’t anything concrete about it, and then the judge (you) comes down harshly on laws that you (the defendant) didn’t know existed. Although that sounds like insanity, it’s not—it’s life. It’s your life.
Re-write the rules
I love creating. I love making things. I don’t love following made-up rules enforced by mean judges. I’m sure you don’t enjoy this, either. So, instead of following this maddening and infuriating cycle, let’s PLAY:
- Presence – Be in the now. Open your senses.
- Listen – Feel what the current moment is telling you.
- Aware – Process the trivial rules you’re telling yourself.
- Yield – Stop following the rules; see what happens.
In PLAYing, you are bringing yourself into the current moment, opening up all of your senses into what is happening in the now (the past and the future are just thoughts; only the now is real), and bringing into awareness the reality that your mind is trying to create for you. Let’s break this down a little bit more, because it is important. Your thoughts are not real. Your thoughts trigger reactions, but you have a choice to respond instead of reacting. By your response or your reaction, you create reality. Reality is created from either one. Again, thoughts aren’t real, but the response or reaction creates reality.
This is where creation happens. Yield to the flow of reaction and start responding with curiosity. Ask yourself, are you responding or reacting to your thoughts?
The more you begin to create by PLAYing, the more you contribute to reversing the flow of rules and judgments, you will begin to realize you have power. This power will shut up that inner critic. This power will shut up that inner judge. This power will give you the freedom to be the best you can be. This power is unlimited and infinite. It is yours. Start with PLAY.