I know plenty of people who struggle with meditation. They’ll say something like it doesn’t interest them, they can’t sit still, or they gave it a go and it didn’t work.
It might even be true.
But for many people, they don’t like coming face-to-face with that voice inside your mind. You know the one I mean – the one that whispers horrible things to you about your looks, talents, successes, failures, prospects and worthiness to keep breathing.
The sorts of things you’d never say to another person, even your worst enemy.
It’s always there, anticipating your mistakes, just waiting for the chance to laugh at you.
So if this voice, or the deeper well of anxiety and insecurity it comes from, stops you from meditating then I won’t recommend that.
Meditation can quiet that voice. It can give you control over the volume… or maybe its air supply. If you’re patient, you can starve it out.
But you’re right to not want to settle for that.
After all, I bet it’s been hassling you for a long, long time. Driving it from its home – your head – is too good for it.
It’s about time it compensated you for it.
Why shouldn’t it? Should this, the worst tenant of all time, be allowed to live anywhere rent-free? Especially some real estate as valuable as your noggin?
Maybe it’s time you demand your inner critic starts paying its share. And not just paying rent from now on, either. It owes you plenty of backpay, not to mention all the damages it needs to cover.
There’s no need to evict it. Show it mercy, bring it into line and put it to work.
Because this voice sure is creative. It used to have fun concocting the worst-case scenarios for you.
So use that creativity. Make it devise best-case scenarios instead… with a plan to get there.
And you know it’s persistent, so use that too.
If it wants to keep scrutinising your life, let it find the ways you’re doing well. Allow it to offer constructive suggestions for improvement.
Heck, you can put a leash on the inner critic and walk it round the block if you want.
After all, it’s yours. No one else can tell you what to do with it, not even that voice.
Silencing it frees up a surprising amount of mental resources. That alone makes you feel smarter, faster, cleaner and happier. When you turn those resources to your own needs, you feel even better.
Talking with and taming this inner voice is easy enough. It might take some time, depending on how long it’s had to build crude fortresses in your skull.
It’ll definitely take patience, self-compassion and discipline from you.
More than that, it takes knowing self-hypnosis. If you’re ready to make your inner voice work for you, then you’d better start learning it:
Nathan Shively on Unsplash