If you have regular thoughts of self-judgment, criticism, shame, or unworthiness, create a true antidote, a phrase (or two or three), that transforms the falsehood of these unhealthy thoughts, and affirm them regularly.
If this idea resonates with you, think about what your “antidote” affirmation might be.
Start by reflecting on negative talk and the many small and large ways that it often shapes our lives. “I’m not good enough!” “Why did I say that?” “Why am I always rushing and running late?” “Everyone is so far ahead of me; I don’t even have the energy to try!” All day long, we often have this dialogue of not being enough. Negative self-talk is one of the many ways we are unkind to ourselves.
In the absence of a firm antidote to your negative talk, float the possibility of “I am the light, and the light is me.” This phrase perfectly describes the truth about you and me! At our core; we are pure light, pure love, and pure consciousness. If you know this to be the truth, than 'not being good enough, smart enough, fast enough or kind enough' just isn’t possible, because "I am the light, and the light is perfect just as it is".
Many of us think of yoga as simply a physical practice, but yoga teaches eight separate “limbs.”
Yoga’s five moral restraints, the Yamas, are the first limb.
There are five main Yamas that you must practice to help you reduce suffering, and achieve peace in your life. They are: non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation and generosity.
The very first of these Yamas, non-violence (ahimsa) is often thought to be the most important Yama. Ahimsa really addresses kindness…and negative self-talk is being unkind to ourselves. Not only is negative self-talk unkind, it just simply is untrue. When you truly embrace “I am the light, and the light is me.” you understand your own truth, and the magnitude of just how special you are.
Another affirmation could be about your connection to nature and other people: “I am you and you are me, I am part of all I see.” This dispels another self-sabotaging habit, namely criticising others. If you know this to be true, and affirm it as such, then criticising another would be just as destructive as criticising yourself. This is addressed by the second Yama, truthfulness, or satya. To be truthful, you must recognise that all beings around you are the light, and therefore they are also perfect just as you are, and any criticism of them would be false.
Use your affirmations in everyday life. For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic, your initial reaction could be to judge them harshly. Stop and remind yourself that they are the light, and you will actually feel yourself soften to the situation. There are so many scenerios, so much going on in everybody's lives, that we cannot possibly imagine what causes such behaviour: Possibly this driver just got bad news about a loved one’s health, or got passed over for a much-deserved promotion. We don’t need to speculate as to why people are sometimes rude. It really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that they are the light, and your own sweet light recognises it.
Saying “Oh, she is the light” or “That is OK, because he is the light” is a very peaceful healing practice which allows us to take nothing personally, and not pass any judgement on others’ behaviour whether they affect us directly or not.
With this practice, you will no longer be a slave to the behaviour of others. People will always disappoint, neglect, cheat, etc.… C'est la vie. But you have a choice as to how you respond to other people’s behaviour. You can be a slave to it, or accept it, and constantly be reminded of the magic of life by seeing their light.
I invite you to notice your own negative self-talk and judgement of others, and adopt a new dialogue in your heart about your own innate goodness, and the goodness of others.
Change leads to a new beginning. You have nothing to fear.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.