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The Real “Catch 22” is Your Criticism of You - Grasshopper

Self criticism keeps alive any unwanted condition in you by giving it more energy with every blow you strike.



Reminds me of a story . . . When I was a young boy I went to see the Hercules' movies starring body builder turned actor, Steve Reeves. Every young boy in the theatre desired to be as muscular and strong as the hero he portrayed on the screen. Hercules would win every battle and defeat every opponent.


 

I remember one opponent he had extreme difficulty with. It was the mythical character, Antaeus.

Every time Hercules would throw Antaeus to the ground, Antaeus would gain more strength and get up and continue the fight even stronger. It took Hercules awhile to figure out that the source of Antaeus' strength was the ground. With that realization, Hercules lifted him above his head until he weakened and then he crushed him in a bear hug. There were whoops and hollers throughout the theatre.


 

Whenever you are criticizing yourself, you are battling Antaeus. Every time you knock your shortcoming to the ground, it gets stronger. It doesn't matter the size of the tirade you attack with – the outcome is always the same – you lose.

As author and spiritual teacher, Sandra Maitri writes in THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSION OF THE ENNEAGRAM:

" . . . this approach to ourselves is completely counterproductive. We need to see that the means here—criticizing and judging ourselves—determine the end: a perpetuation of the inner sense of deficiency."

 



The inner deficiency she refers to is our loss of touch with our essential self – our inborn divinity.

 

When we continually criticize and judge ourselves, we stay on the surface, ego level where no real change can happen. When you change within, you change without – never the other way around.

 

You've got to go inside to change otherwise you just add another layer to yourself that you'll eventually have to remove to go deeper to reach your authentic self.

 

This going inside involves feeling the pain of your judgements and criticisms, not perpetuating the verbal tongue lashings. There is pain with the criticisms we are levying against ourselves. We rarely acknowledge and deal with the pain. We just stay on the surface and continue the verbal fight.

 

The remedy for criticism is to explore the pain you feel in your body as a result of it. Once you allow the pain to be felt and experienced, there is peacefulness on the other side that has the criticism subside. Your solution and relief will come from this peaceful place.

 

Notice that solutions never come from an environment of mental noise. They surface when spaces show up between our thoughts. These spaces become available when we get in touch with our body and notice what it is feeling.

 

Criticism is a result of living in your head. Peacefulness is a result of living in your body. One perpetuates chaos and the other restores order. You decide which one you want.

 

This is not a suggestion to ignore your shortcomings. It's more of a blueprint to outgrow them. You won't do that by continually talking about them and berating yourself for being human. Your transformation begins the day you give up the mental fight and explore and transmute the pain you've self inflicted.

 

All wars end when we dedicate ourselves to the process of peace.

 

Jill Bolte Taylor in her book MY STROKE OF INSIGHT says it like this:

"Our desire for peace must be stronger than our attachment to our misery."



 

All the best,

John

 

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