Our inner voices can be very critical. As we struggle to meet whatever ideals we have set for ourselves, the inner voice draws attention to our shortcomings. We throw habitual meanings on these shortcomings like I'm not good enough (thin enough, smart enough, loved, etc). While self reflection can lead to positive change, why can that inner voice be so mean?
Last year I served as a mentor for two amazing yoga teacher trainees. I was able to hold space for them and help them reach their goals despite challenges. I work in health care and as a yoga teacher. I feel that I have refined holding space for others and helping them through difficult times. I would never have spoken to them the way I sometimes do to myself.
Recently I thought, what if I could hold space for myself with the same love that I hold for others? Could I hold my own space with the same compassion that I have for others? Could I get better results and be happier in the process if I had an internal mentor voice that could combat or replace any critical self talk?
For me, the process has started with a Metta (loving kindness) meditation practice. There are online videos, but I rather enjoy keeping this for myself. The verbiage goes something like this,
"May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be free from suffering ".
Send these well wishes to yourself, then to someone you love (may you be), to someone who has cared for you, to someone who you don't know quite as well, to someone you struggle with, and to a larger group of people (maybe all beings). Include yourself in this last group (may we be). At the end of your meditation, return the thoughts back to yourself. These well wishes can also be sent when you catch yourself thinking unkind things of yourself or others. It just may change the way you interact with others and yourself.
Hold just as much love for yourself as you do for others. Serve as your own mentor and watch yourself accomplish your goals with strength and ease. Come from a place of love and watch your whole world turn into a better place.