“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” -African Proverb
Sometimes we judge ourselves pretty harshly. We blame ourselves for things we have absolutely no control over. We criticize, berate, and even disparage ourselves, treating ourselves far worse than we’d ever treat other people.
It’s just all too easy to hold ourselves to high standards, and then get frustrated if we fail to meet them. I know I have done this before, and, at the risk of sounding defeatist, I know I will do it at some point again.
I believe that in much the same we will inevitably have conflicts with other people, we will also go through times when we’re not kind and loving to ourselves.
Perhaps the key to silencing the enemy within is accepting that it is there–that we all possess both darkness and light within us–and then learning to create a higher ratio of self-affirming to self-diminishing thoughts. Maybe the goal shouldn’t be to always be positive, but to recognize when we start being self-critical so that we can shift our thoughts more quickly and effectively with each internal struggle.
In a perfect world, we would always know the exact way to think and thing to do to nurture ourselves and honor our needs, and we’d instinctively always do those things. Maybe some people do. But I can’t speak for them, because I sometimes struggle.
What helps me is to focus on progress, not perfection–to forgive myself when I’ve gotten negative, and then start anew from right where I stand.
Today if you get down on yourself, remember: You’re doing the best you can, and you have the power to choose, right now, that your best is good enough.
Photo by Chi King