I have developed a habit over the years.

A habit that is firmly entrenched in the way I do life these days.

A habit developed in response to my inner critic.

This habit saves me, time and time again, from the fatal blows my critic could have on me.

Some days my inner critic is so combative I feel like I need specially designed armour to protect my fragile psyche.

My critic is quick to point out my flaws and my failures.

How I am not good enough.

Smart enough.

Skinny enough.

Successful enough.

How I should have done this or should be doing that.

How I should have made a different choice. Or should have said something differently than what I did.

How I have failed to live up to the expectations it has set for me.

Oh yes, my inner critic is such a harsh judge and juror, casting down its sentence of daily whippings, attempting to perpetually imprison me by its fears and insecurities.

It wants me to believe others are judging me in the same belligerent way.

It wants me to conform and contort myself into submission in order to keep me safe and under control.

It thinks it will motivate me to change. To be better. To grow.

Ha! Fat chance.

When I am swayed by its aspersions, that shaming, damming voice only leaves me feeling unlovable and guilty.

In the past I would seek relief to avoid these feelings – anything to numb, distract and distance myself from the overwhelming vulnerability of not being enough in the moment.

Then I desired to grow in consciousness; to allow my connection to the spirit of love and wisdom within to emerge as a stronger force in my life and guide my thoughts and actions.

I wanted to awaken my capacity to welcome all my experiences in the moment without avoiding them.

But what to do with this inner critic who continued to berate me with it’s negative self-talk?

What can I do in the moment when it seeks to condemn, isolate and shame me?

And so began my journey to meet it with love and compassion, with three simple and powerful words…

I love you. 

Haven’t lived up to expectations?

I love you Mandie. 

Haven’t done the ‘right’ thing?

I love you Mandie. 

Haven’t been, said or done what I think I should?

I love you Mandie. 

These words spill out of my mouth, out loud (yes, I talk out loud to myself, don’t you?) bathing me with acceptance and soothing my critical voice.

I love you Mandie, I love you Mandie, I love you Mandie. 

In all your imperfection, I love you Mandie.

Now obviously this is going to work much better if you insert your own name. I cannot imagine it having quite the same effect if you are espousing your love for me in those moments that you are in desperate need of tender love and care.

But try it.

Catch your thoughts when they are being swept away by the negative tidal wave of criticism and judgement and pause and meet yourself with compassion with the words ‘I love you’.

With these three simple words, reassuringly remind yourself of the great love that exists for you just as you are; you are enough, you are worthy, you are loved.

With great love, Mandie x