How to Deal With Your Biggest Critic – That Inner Voice That Attacks You Regarding Self-Improvement

I have often had a yearning spirit. I’m ambitious, I tell myself. But if I’m honest, my “ambition” is often a vicious sniper, promising happiness while spraying me with self-attack: you should be further along, weigh less, have more self-worth, started a movement, married money. This kind of “ambition”—a regret-fest or siren song of someday success—takes me down.

Happiness comes from being in the moment, this moment. Every therapist or guru says the same thing.

‘You’re not doing it right, you have to learn how to go with the flow,’ squawks Zen Girl, my Self Improvement Alter Ego. And believe me, I want to tell her where she can go.

I am in this secret race to be somewhere else. Better yet, to be someone else, someone better than me. I’ve called this ambition. But, really, it’s self-abandonment.

My healing comes from loving myself where I am—and as I am. Everything else is a frenetic and impoverished way of being in my one and only sacred life.

Peace is here, not over there in some fantasy I have. If there wasn’t something here for me, I wouldn’t be here. Magic is here. I may not see it yet, but I know I’ll never see it until I start looking for it where I am. My life reflects an intelligent design, and my True Self always has my highest interests encoded into the program.

The media drums it into us: a better life is “over there” just around the corner or one purchase away. But, I am daring to welcome love into my life right now. I am calling my life holy, and arriving wholly in this moment, just as it is. It’s not always pretty—but it is always sacred.

I’m not giving up on my dreams. I’m giving up on my criticism. I’m taking in what I already have. This is empowerment.

This is where the journey begins: “I do not want to be anywhere else.”

I wrote these words for myself, sort of as an incantation, a recipe for freedom. My ego, the part of me that hurtles to the finish line, even if it means missing or dismissing my entire life, recoils when I say these words.

I do not want to be anywhere else. These are words of luxury. These are words of mystery. These are words of quantum healing. I sit down on the silk blue pillow of my own true life. If even for just this moment, I stop searching, demanding, aching, and casting about.

To a part of me this feels as awkward as running backward. But really all I am doing is not rejecting my own life.

I do not want to be anywhere else. This is what it means to stop and receive. I am like a hungry bird—and the only source of nutrition is my present life. It’s not over there or under that. It doesn’t come later, and it doesn’t get better. I get better. I get better by discovering the uncanny instruction of my own life.

I do not want to be anywhere else. I am letting go of fierce striving. It’s beautiful to reach for further expression out of joy or devotion. But I want to let go of any self-hatred that propels me forward.

“The cracks are where the light gets in,” says word magician Leonard Cohen. I will behold the cracks in my life. They, too, are part of my treasure. They, too, have soul nutrition. That’s why they’re here. Everything has something to give me. When I see my life with loving eyes, I understand what is here.

I do not want to be anywhere else. Everything has always awaited me like a white bowl of handpicked blueberries. Only I wanted to sit at someone else’s table. I wanted another fruit. I wanted another life. That desire cost me more than I know. I’m not going to pay that price anymore. I am going to seize the only existence I have. I am seizing my blueberries, my exhausting day or confusion, frustration, or elation.

These are the words that came to me in my journal:

This is your life. It’s not broken.
It’s unloved. And it’s unloved by you.

This does not mean I won’t walk out of the rain into a dry place. It means I will not belittle the rain. I will not condemn the rain. I will move forward. I will go where I am called and where I belong.

Yes, I will certainly dream of what I wish my life to be, and I will invest in and create those dreams. I will rise. But not with irritation or deprivation in my heart. I don’t want to shun my own day, my own breath, my own efforts or even lack of efforts. As of this moment, I refuse to sully and bully my own existence in the name of “realizing my potential.” I do not want to be anywhere else. This is my mantra. This is my saber. This is my ticket.

For me, this is a practice, the practice of a lifetime. I am learning that acceptance is something I want and it’s not a form of resignation. Acceptance is fierce. When I truly accept myself where I am, it’s a rush of compassion and a jolt of awakening.

Acceptance is the willingness to embrace your life, your one true, beautiful, challenging, disappointing, shocking, devastating and intriguing life.

It’s the decision to stay present and not slip into the destructive undertow of resistance and rejection. Acceptance is a form of self-blessing, the secret catalyst that galvanizes the whole darn ride right now.

Tama Kieves, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, left her law practice to write and help others create their most extraordinary lives. She is the bestselling author of 4 books including A Year Without Fear: 365 Days of Magnificence and her latest Thriving Through Uncertainty. A sought-after speaker and career/success coach, she has helped thousands to thrive in their life, calling, and businesses. Sign up for your FREE digital fortune cookies and a free copy of her popular webinar Dare to Decide at www.tamakieves.com/dare.