fear no art

Self-criticism: The Way You Break Your Own Heart.

Most of us would say that one of the most painful experiences in life is being criticized or judged by our loved ones.

Yes, it feels painful and yucky to feel rejection or not feeling enough in the eyes of those whom we deeply care for and desire to be loved and accepted by, but there’s something that is more painful than any rejection that we can receive from others. It’s the rejection and criticism of ourselves.

Self-criticism and judgment is the way you break your own heart.

Self-criticism and judgment stem from holding ourselves to an external measure of performance and/or being. It’s striving for an unattainable goal of perfection that can never be reached.

Perfection is a tricky issue. First of all, it doesn’t exist. There is no fixed place called perfection that we can hang out in if we work hard enough.

Life is an ongoing calibration process, and an ongoing learning game! But the concept of perfection serves us in subtle ways that we might not recognize at first. We often times use perfection both as a safety-zone as well as a way of punishing ourselves.

Perfection as an excuse and a safety zone… Where are you not showing up as you, not expressing your truth or not engaging because you’ll just wait until it feels a bit safer or your expression/product/communication is a little better or until you feel ready?

This is you keeping yourself safe inside your comfort zone by putting up a goal of perfection. Your ego tells you that this is the safe way, you won’t get laughed at or hurt if you wait just a bit longer, take another class, or abandon your truth altogether.

The concept of being ready does exist. But it is usually the Universe that decides when we’re ready and propels us out into new circumstances. It’s rarely the ego that ever feels ready! Life happens through us, whether we feel ready or not. And mostly it happens in that annoying place where we are definitely not completely ready because it’s called the learning zone.

Learning means venturing outside of that which you already master and know, and exploring new territory. There’s no way around it, so you might as well enjoy it.

Being at peace and content with ourselves and where we are gives a deep sense of coziness in our bodies and soul. It’s a place of an open heart and an easy connection to other people and beings. The surest way to disrupt this coziness is through self-criticism. Judgment closes the heart chakra, the most powerful center of your being.

In order to start examining how you put yourself in this painful place, look at your self-communication. How do you talk to yourself? Would you talk like that to anyone else?

Would you tell a baby who’s learning to walk that they’re not good enough to walk and should never try doing it because they keep falling down in the process of learning? Yet this is often times the way we talk to ourselves as we’re in our own process of learning to walk our dreams.

To take action means to regularly make mistakes. Mistakes are a recalibration and resetting of your course.

How do you want to look at your mistakes? Is it worth beating yourself up about them, or are you simply going to choose differently next time? Mistakes mean you’re on your way, you’re going somewhere, you’re exploring and you’re engaging with the light and the dark. You’re exploring what feels good and what doesn’t. Never doing that again! or That’s the way forward! we learn through this polarity.

You don’t look at a flower seed and say, “Oh, that’ll never grow into a flower,” because you know that the process of nature is for a flower seed to grow into a flower. It’s time to understand that you have the flower seed within you. It is your consciousness, your Divine Soul that calls you to expand and evolve. And your life is the soil.

So where do you criticize your you-ness? And where did you learn to do that?

Where are you guilt-tripping yourself about your being or actions? You know that guilt is present when you hear the word should echo inside you.

So, where’s the should in your life? It should be like this. I should wear that. I should perform in a certain way… this is the highway to hell and your guilt is the driver.

Guilt is constructive only when it serves as a pointer of where you went off track and how you’re going to handle the same issue in the future in a different way. Without a new solution present, guilt is useless.

So every time there’s a should, listen up and pay attention to it: are you feeling guilty about something – and is it constructive?

Where do you talk yourself out of going for your heart’s desire? Where do you tell yourself the lie that you don’t know, that you don’t deserve?

Holding ourselves to a standard of perfection is how we tear our budding dreams apart. It is how we break our own hearts.

Self-criticism and the creative process…

Criticism usually comes into the picture when we attempt to express ourselves in ways that are new to us. When we attempt to expand our expression of ourselves, be it cooking a new recipe or changing our job.

The critic sounds like this:

What’s the point?

…of writing poetry

…of learning to meditate

…of starting a community

…of creating a blog

…of learning a new language

…of changing your diet

…of dreaming of a vacation in the Bahamas

…of wanting to change your job

…of {insert your dream of choice}

It’s the voice that says: it won’t make any difference. I don’t see it. No one’s going to want it. It’s not possible for me. It’s not going to work!

This is your ego trying to keep itself in control. (Remember, your ego is here to protect you from everything it sees as scary!) When these road signs pop up, you know you’re on your way to expansion. Because these are the markers of your old limits and as you move beyond them, you grow beyond who you thought you were and begin to discover who you have the potential to be!

When, in reality, we know. We know what we desire.

And since the creative process is just that, creative, it will create a flow of its own as soon as you allow it. You don’t need a master plan. You don’t need to know the result. You don’t need to account for anything. You don’t need to have a result, because there will be new results as you allow yourself to create and play!

The only thing that is required is that you start. Your voice needs to be heard. Someone needs to hear your unique message through your voice through your words.

Take out a pen and paper, and start. Take out your crayons and start. Sit down with your instrument and start. Go into your kitchen, pull out the ingredients and start. Take out your camera and start.

Just. Start.

No expectations. No shoulds. No one looking over your shoulder, no one giving you marks on your performance. No one else needs to see it, like or know about it. It’s just you creating for the joy of it and for the love of yourself.

Dare to be the one who’s in charge. Dare to be the one who holds your dreams valuable. And as you do, others will recognize that value as well. When we dare to pursue our dreams, the Universe steps in big time to support our expansion.

But the first step has to come from us. And that’s when we need to love ourselves out of self-criticism and judgment, trading self-criticism and perfection for trust and forgiveness. It’s an ongoing process.

As we let go of our own self-judgment and need for perfection, we can be open to be generous about other people’s growth and mistakes too.

It doesn’t shatter us if someone makes a wrong turn, says something inappropriate or messes up. Because we know that everybody will keep learning on one level or another. (Whether we admit it or not is a different matter.)

It’s all part of the journey. Accept it! It’s not an excuse to not do the best we can or settle for not exerting some willpower in order to secure our growth, but if we accept that even if we do our best we might sometimes fall a bit short of the goal, we might be more easily motivated to try again.

And as we soften the self-criticism, we open up to the possibility of a genuine connection to ourselves and others. We soften the criticism of others as well. We are reachable and we reach out. And we find that we’re all the same, deep down. No judgments needed. And love is the only thing that remains.

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Saran Kaur
Saran Kaur is a creative being, working with healing in the form of energy, music, voice, movement and Yoga. On her life journey so far, she has successfully used these tools to transform and heal herself and her life. She now facilitates and supports the healing, transformation and creativity of others. She's a classically trained singer and musician, Internationally certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and Reconnective Healing practitioner. She also conducts readings of the Akashic Records to help people understand and transform their lives. She's currently studying to become a Shakti Dance teacher as well. She successfully healed her body from 13 years of Systemic Candidiasis and Rheumatoid Arthritis using natural healing methods. She considers the body the home of her spirit and the soil of all creativity of the mind, and so an integral part of the human experience, and absolutely vital to be in touch with as a woman and as a human. She strongly believes that self-love is the true soil that nurtures the love that we extend to others. For more Saran -- Yoga, healing, music and more -- please visit her here.
Saran Kaur

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