Letting go. So…I’m working on that.
This post is a follow-up to my last one about letting go of things that stand in our way…things like negative self-talk.
She crept onto my mat again last night in class…that little voice telling me that I am crazy for choosing this path of becoming a yoga instructor, that I can’t REALLY do yoga and that I should just go back to the way things were. It was prompted by my losing balance in a low-lunge twisting pose that consistently challenges me to be in the present.
In one brief second, I wavered from the present. I let my doubts get in the way. I became disconnected from my body and mind’s reality in that moment and it impacted not only the pose, but also how my mind was perceiving the situation.
Negative self-talk is a habit we form after minutes, days, months and years of doing the same thing in response to something else. Habits, and our ability to break them, are explained beautifully in the book “How Yoga Works” by Geshe Michael Roach and Christine McNally.
“And that’s because of the way they are passed down from one generation to the other. I mean, most of our viewpoints…are not something that we in any way came up with on our own. Almost everything we do, and almost everything we believe in, we do or believe in for one reason, and for one reason only: it is what our parents taught us; it is what we learned from an older brother or sister; it is what the teachers in the school said when we were very small; it is — it is what everyone else does. It is what everyone else believes. AND THEY ARE ONLY DOING OR BELIEVING IN IT BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE DID BEFORE THEM, and for no better reason.”
Now, I’m not saying that my parents, or sister, friends or teachers have ever led me to negative self-talk. What I am saying is that we are surrounded by images, sounds and messages that create a standard by which we believe we are supposed to live. I also think we are living in and developing cultures where negative self-talk is an acceptable (and almost encouraged) practice. This whole idea that others recognize – and seem to accept – that we are all harder on ourselves than anyone else ever could be – it just doesn’t seem to work for me.
So, I’m supposed to be hard on myself and feel like I’m not measuring up? Hm. I don’t know about that anymore.
I do believe in self-improvement. I do believe in self-assessment and self-critique. However, I do believe that these things can occur in gentle and constructive ways. Ways that allow us freedom to flex and fail and pick ourselves up again. Ways that allow us to breathe and give ourselves a break when we need it without apology. Ways that enable us to love ourselves so we can love others.
Here’s my new mantra: I am enough. Just the way I am. I deserve all good things that come to me.