2013-11-08 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

By Marilyn Gelfand

How often do you beat yourself up? Do you end up clamming up or venting your self-anger at someone else? Our feelings about ourselves can create very large emotional reactions within. Sometimes when we don’t get something “right” we get discouraged and just quit or stop doing what we had planned. When we are not perfect, it can be depressing or embarrassing, and then we retreat. The level we hold ourselves to is often just an arbitrary creation that we ourselves have decided is what perfection actually is. Two months later that vision may change. Someone else may have a totally different idea of what the outcome should be.

When we give up instead of picking up where we left off, we are only hurting ourselves. My friend makes an analogy of a car and flat tires. When you make a mistake, it is like getting a flat tire. You can fix it and drive on. You can learn from this experience. If you beat yourself up, give up or punish yourself, then it is as if you have given your car four flat tires. And for what? It is so much better to say it is okay to mess up and now I can continue again.

As we grow spiritually, we can just be ourselves. It means we grow and change continuously. There is no end and no perfection. Our ideas change as we grow and our perception changes. So we are interested in going forward, making progress, having a good quality of life rather than equating success with a level of self-defined perfection at any given time.

Perfection is very confining. You can’t take risks or try out new things if you are worried that you can’t get it right. Giving ourselves freedom to just be ourselves is opening a door to new pathways. It is important to remember that how we react to our slip-ups is a choice. We can choose to just go forward recognizing that we have choices in each moment. The past is done, and this is a brand new moment filled with all new choices. It is up to us to determine which way we want to go.

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