Greetings from the
Self-Critical or Self-Inquiry?
A friend recently sent me a questionnaire with personal
questions, like what color would you be if you were a crayon,
or do you like red or pink better? She had answered the
questionnaire with the offering to get to know each other
better. As I read her answers, one of the questions jumped off
the page at me: "what is your most negative thought about
yourself?" She answered, "Thinking I am too
fat." To be honest with myself, I had to admit to having
a similar answer (and then I watched myself criticize myself
for having such negative thoughts).
In the next moment, I felt deep sadness, not only for the two
of us, but for all of us that are overly self-critical and
fail to appreciate, daily, the beauty and perfection of our
physical bodies. I vow to get back on track and say my
favorite affirmation, "I love my body and my body loves
Being self-critical lowers our self-esteem and keeps us stuck
judging ourselves and feeling bad. Self-inquiry on the other
hand is a helpful, useful method of offering continuous
self-improvement. Using the above example, we ask ourselves
with self-inquiry, such things as, "I wonder what I can
do differently to be more pleased with my body weight?"
or "What am I willing to do, today, to take a small step
towards my goal of weighing less?" or "What might I
do to accept myself today exactly as I am?" or "Who
is it that is being critical of me?"
I invite you readers to catch yourself each time you start the
cycle or being self-critical and change your perspective to
that of practicing self-inquiry. Have a conscious day!
By Barbara Neff
Through honest assessment and a lot of hard
self work, I was able to discard most of the toxic tapes from
my childhood. I had to dig. I still do. I had to sometimes use
an emotional sledgehammer to rid myself of old messages. I
still do. Self work led me to one pure truth; a truth of which
I remind myself often; a truth that changed my life once I
grasped it and embraced it. The truth that changed my life is
this: Love is not supposed to hurt.
Can a person whose body has been scarred by
injury or illness be productive and happy? Of course. Can a
person with a mended soul thrive? Absolutely, with genuine
desire and tenacity.
Question: I am a fifth grade teacher
and will quit my job at the end of this coming year to attend
graduate school to become a counselor. Over the years I have
done a lot of personal growth work, yet I find my negative
thinking surfaces too often, especially in relationship to
this job. I do not like the administration at my school and
dread going to work. I still have to finish this coming year
and need a boost to do a good job. I owe it to the school
children to get myself on track. Please give me some
affirmations to help.