How to Shut Up (while not suppressing) your inner Critic.

 

You cannot suppress this voice/person/belief system that lives in your head.

You will only make it stronger.  You must come up to it and say,

“Hello, what is your opinion about my (music/writing/clothing/weight…)” and let it/her/him reply.

Then kindly say, thank you for sharing that, now I need to get back to what I do best, writing/playing/being joyful…

This person will lose the desire to bug you when you stop taking the bait.  Just like an external person.  If you are polite but do not let them jerk your chain they will get bored and stop their negative chatter about everything and anything.

The magazine “Real Simple” suggests some tips for controlling your inner critic:

  1. Pluck the weeds – when you have a thought, decide, is this a weed that needs to be plucked so my lovely garden can continue to flourish?  Focus on the thoughts that are beautiful blooms.  You can only focus on and embrace one thing at a time- by the time you immerse your feelings into the astounding  beauty of what your eyes and your heart behold, the weed/critic will have forgotten the point it was trying to make
  2. Rewire your brain – every thought we have paves a neural pathway, making it easier to have the same response over and over again. When the path is taken millions of times, it gets on auto-pilot.  Be aware of this, for example, every time I work on a new jazz technique the critic assures me I am too stoopid to play jazz – so I will recognize this, and take note of things I have mastered that I originally thought I never could.  At first this counter-thought will seem like a lie, I am just fooling myself, but just go along with it, and the next time the critic on auto pilot returns, insert that same response:  “Look at what I have accomplished that proves your criticism is wrong”.  Each time you do this, the new and self-loving neural pathway will get bigger, to the point that you will replace the critic with the warm,  loving supportive inner you that treasures each effort you make to excel at your dream of being a jazz guitarist/author/dancer/painter…or ______ (insert whatever is your passion.

HOW WILL I GET THROUGH TODAY WITHOUT GIVING IN TO DEPRESSION?

Each day there is that pull, to just sit in the chair and stare at videos on you tube or tv, eat all day even though I am not hungry, and just quit my jazz guitar adventure….but this blog is helping me to commit to something greater.  Each day i have to be aware that the habit of just becoming a depressed blob is there, and I have to read, write  meditate (NOT medicate), take a walk…do anything I can to rally myself to be on my own side, to not pretend that I don’t exist…

To me, depression is a feeling like you don’t exist, and yet you are here…the pain that, yes, you ARE here and you must accept yourself.

How do you accept yourself, love yourself, show yourself the loving kindness you would to a friend or a child?  There, I have begun to turn it around…

I imagine a kid on Christmas, a child…the child in me…what right do I have to deny her the chance to live, to have fun, to hurl off the fetters of depression and low self esteem and just declare “I AM HERE, YOU BETTER NOT FUCK ME OVER TODAY YOU BITCH”

Maybe that is me talking to the bad person my mom sometimes was to me, the mom that wished i would just disappear –the “uncaring mom” that now lives in my head.. that thinks i am too much trouble to have around…

BUT THERE ALSO THE LOVING MOM..the one in my head, and the one my mom was before we become disconnected from each other.

That is the mom I will have with me today, the one that loves me and wants me to succeed, to love playing jazz guitar, to eat in a healthy and tasty way, and to get exercise in the outdoors–by the way, studies have shown that exercise is as effective as anti depressants at countering depression!!!!

YEP it is time to LIVE my life, play jazz music, and try to be part of the solution for me and others like me, that artists  the sensitive ones…here is to all of you my fellow bloggers!

Here is a fav jazz player, Herb Ellis, so free in his playing…now THAT is something that washes away your depression! learning to play jazz guitar…(or _____ – insert whatever works for you, something that demands you be in the PRESENT!)

Peace with my Past

All my life I have had this sad feeling whenever i think of anything past, people who’ve gone, jobs lost, a lost time in my life.  Today i will reframe this — I don’t like the sad feeling, like things were good then but now nothing matter,  That is an habitual response whenever something triggers a connection to a past person or time or place.  Currently i have a new response when those feelings are triggered. I have researched physics and other writings about time- that it is an illusion – this concept enables me to be free from pain about the past or wistful nostalgia – as if those times were better.  Since my mom died recently it is more clear than ever to me, that the present is all we have. And the “have my cake and eat it too” in all this is: Since there is only now, all those things that trigger in my memory are not really PAST.  They are all part of the here and now, not gone.  Feelings i had then, i have now, if i choose to.  Feelings of pain about the past, or regrets, become suddenly light weight and no longer have power to depress me, once i realize there is only now and that all that has happened, will happen and is happening is all RIGHT NOW. That all i AM is here and now – I am not the past, nor defined by it, nor a victim of it, anymore than if i were to see a movie in which a person was victimized and from then on i would be a victim.

When you think of the tiny dot of time that humans have been alive, it is easier to realize that my tiny amount of time on earth, my past, present and future is all one event, not some long drawn out linear thing… This is going somewhere…umm…it means that the pain, the draining of motivation, that accompanies thoughts and feelings about past things…can be obliterated… How can that be?  Here is how; When i think of a past thing, like my mom in the kitchen when i was 5, since i come from the vantage point that time is an illusion, i don’t need to feel some deep sadness that my mon died or that i am no longer this little child without the harsh experiences of an adult. because really when I was 5  i was also 50, and when i am 50 i am also 5.  I have access to all times, feelings, happiness, innocence, to the blazingly bright and perfect worldview of that little girl, only now with the wisdom of a zen guru added in, making live all the more amazing and opened to all the best infinite possibilites.

The past no longer has to be suppressed – i used to suppress thots or feelings about the past –that can be triggered in many ways, many times a day: a song, a photo, driving by a place i lived before.  I suppressed the feelings because i wanted to prove how the past didn’t matter, that i was smarter now and did not care about it.  The suppressing ate up my energy and enjoyment of the present.

But now i don’t have to suppress it. that means i can be in power in the present, allow the feelings to occur, and acknowledge they are part of the here and now, not some past tragic/happy thing that is gone forever..then if they help me do better in the here and now I enjoy the feelings/thoughts  of the past, if they don’t help, i say to myself – that is an illusion just as time is an illusion – that event from 1960 or whatever is not determining my here and now, except to the extent i can learn from it…