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Stop Playing Against Yourself

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.: Thu, Oct 17th 2013

stop “I’m afraid sometimes you’ll play lonely games too, games you can’t win because you’ll play against you.” ~ Dr. Suess, Oh, The Places You’ll Go

The reality is we all have that inner critic inside of us that is there to protect us against doing anything that might put us in harms way. It would rather tell us that we’re not good enough for a certain person or we’ll never achieve a certain success to stave off experiences of rejection and failure. The net result is we become timid or try without belief in ourselves and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So what can we do? 

We can begin by developing the mindset that this inner critic is not at war with us. It is not out to make us miserable, it has good intentions, but it’s just misguided. 

Jack Kornfield has a wonderful practice that I’ve adopted for quite some time which is to acknowledge these voices when they arise with a simple bow. For me what this does is acknowledge the good intention of this voice, but also creates a space between my awareness and the inner critic itself where I can see that I am not this voice. I am someone who has a choice in what I want to believe and the actions that follow. 

Something feels better about bowing to the voice instead of putting up a stop sign or wishing it was lobotomized from my brain. It’s a more peaceful and compassionate stance and that is the energy I am encouraging within me instead of the aggressive hating energy. 

What we practice and repeat becomes automatic and so the simple question is what do I want to practice when relating to myself? What kind of energy to I want to encourage? 

We don’t need to play the game at all, we can step outside of it and choose the life we want, moment-to-moment. 

This moment of clarity, choice and possibility is what I call The Now Effect. 

Bring more of this into your day with the inner critical voices that continue to come and go, see what you notice. 

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Workô program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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