When was the last time you tuned out the outer world and just listen to your inner voices? And when was the last time even your inner voice discourage yourself from being fantastic?
I know a friend who was trying to shut out outsiders’ discouraging opinions about her, either it was that her dream job was unreachable, that she will need a long time before succeeding in that career, or that she was simply not fit for the job, the list goes on. She excelled in doing so, but yet to reach her dream.
Staying away from the discouraging opinions from others may help us being more confident of ourselves and enable us to take a leap of faith. However, sometimes the biggest enemy is not on the outside. It is inside us. It is our own mind.
Have you ever heard yourself saying “I cannot do it”, “It is out of my league”, “I am not cool/brave/smart/etc. enough”?
It is a lot harder to break through boundaries made by ourselves than it is to eliminate outside voices. It is because our own opinions are by-products of our experiences, of what we did and what we learnt from others, since we’re little up till now. Count the years and you’ll see why it’s harder to beat the enemy inside than it is to beat the chatter of outsiders. Compare this: someone suddenly said that you are dumb (while you know that you’re smart) vs. you said you’re dumb (while others never said so). Which one do you think will stay in your mind longer? For me, it is the latter.
Two methods that might be able to help us to defeat our own mind are by being mindful and by asking our dear (and respected) ones what they see or think about us. Note: even if the second might be sugar-coated, it’s supposed to be honest and also better than the discouraging comment from others.
Being mindful, is when we attend to everything we do; being focused. An interesting approach to mindfulness is covered by Chade-Meng Tan in his Search Inside Yourself. To have our own mind supporting us, we need to know when the mind is not supporting us. By then, we will have the power to analyze the condition and “fix” it. Try to find some time when we could sit freely, from any worrying thought, and to be quiet inside. Let our mind wanders – if needed, ask our mind why we have negative thought about ourselves – and take notes if necessary. While doing so, always be aware of our mind. By practicing more, we will be able to recognize our mind’s pattern and let our negative minds go.
Listening to our dear (and respected) ones, needs us to be quiet, to be receptive of the good or not-that-good inputs. Although I believe they will try their best not to hurt us (if we have some areas that need to be improved), most of us will still feel slightly hurt when someone said something bad about us. The purpose of this activity is for us to know our blind spots by analyzing others’ input, as we cannot see ourselves 100% in an objective manner. There are always some spots seen by others that we have not realized yet, whether it is our weaknesses and even our strengths!
Combining both methods, we are building virtuous cycle for ourselves. We look positively at our own experiences while we seek good quality opinions, from ourselves and others, to enable ourselves of having great experience.
Have a nice day! ~ David
Photo credits: by Kevin Dooley – https://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/18471350266/