Our work is not to rid ourselves of the critic, the negative voice in our head. That voice is a valuable thread in the fabric of our being. Our work is to increase the volume of the voice of our best self. To listen and give our attention to THAT voice.
What can FEAR teach us? In her TED talk, Karen Thompson Walker identifies what she calls “The Beautiful Conflict” — the desire to contribute vs. the desire to be safe.
You know you have much to contribute, yet you can’t seem to get it done. Is fear stopping you? You may not directly experience fear as fear. Your inner critic may label it as procrastination, excuses, or laziness. Any kind of “resistance” may be a disguise for an underlying fear.
Remember, your body is your subconscious mind. Connect to your underlying fear, even befriend it, understand it, embrace it. Feeling it in your body helps connect you to the subconscious programs that are keeping you stuck. Recognizing and exploring your resistance diffuses its power. Like a beach ball, you can push it under water with avoidance or powering through, but it will continue to pop back to the surface until you acknowledge and reframe it.
How can you feel safe in your fear? What is the source of your underlying fear? What other emotions are tied to it? Where do you feel it in your body? Are the beliefs and perceptions that underlie your fear based in the truth of the present or an experience from the past? Use judgment free awareness to explore these questions.
When you connect to underlying fear and emotion, it can no longer run as a subconscious program. It becomes an object of your attention that allows you to respond instead of react. Now you are playing from choice instead of fear.
My 86-year old client complained that he was out of breath. While I offered him encouragement he lamented that “If only I could perpetually be 72 [years old]. I was stunned. Seventy-two?, I said incredulously, why not 55 or 40? Why 72? He went on to explain that 72 was a fabulous year for him. In fact, the entire decade of his 70’s were fantastic.
Age is simply a number. It is our beliefs and expectations about age that color our experience. Not age itself.
Life is supposed to be fun! No matter what your age, it is always NOW. Don’t wait to live your best life.