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Thoughts from Vintage Yoga...

Week 28 My Self-Love Journey

When you speak or think about yourself, what words or thoughts do you use? Are the words encouraging and uplifting or are they mean and self-deprecating? Have you ever considered how the words you use affect you and your overall well-being?

For much of my adult life I have been very unkind to myself. Internally I was my harshest judge and my biggest critic. I understand now that the judge and the critic was Annie, my inner roommate, behaving badly.

I also now understand why my inner roommate was so out of control. She wanted to be seen, to stand out or shine. But she was afraid that if people really knew me, they wouldn’t want to be around me. She was the source of my insecurity, and because Annie had so little faith in me, I had very little faith in myself. But I’m learning that I taught Annie to behave that way.

Together, we were masters of self-deprecation. We would say and think things like, “If I only had half a brain.” Or “I’m not the brightest star in the sky.” Another favorite was, “Knock on wood,” said simultaneously while wrapping my knuckles on my head. Often these things were said in jest. (I actually think I’m kinda funny) Little did I know that each time I said or thought something like this, I was telling Annie that I wasn’t very smart. And I guess she learned to believe that.

There are other areas of my life where Annie and I have cultivated feelings of insecurity and fear. So, even though I try to appear confident, inside I struggle to believe in my self-worth and ability to make a difference in the lives of others.

This past weekend, I started a new book. The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, two psychiatrists with more than 80 years of combined experience in psychiatry. In chapter four they introduce the reader to “The Shadow” which they describe like this: “Inside each of us is a second self, a living being we’re deeply ashamed of.” As I was reading, I was thinking, “This sounds like Annie, my inner roommate!” Although I considered myself more annoyed than ashamed of my “second self.” I was excited about this different perspective on a familiar idea. But then I read the next sentence, “No matter how hard you try, you can never get rid of this second self.” WHAT!?! That didn’t sound very encouraging.

How could this be? I’ve been working so hard to silence Annie. To stop her from hijacking my thoughts, my life. I continued to read. Stutz and Michels offer a different perspective about this “Shadow.” They explain that the Shadow is an archetype that determines how you see yourself. This is usually quite different than how others see you. Stutz and Michels suggest that I partner with Annie because when I work with her instead of against her, it helps connect me to my inner authority which helps me express my authenticity.

Since reading about the Shadow, I’ve experimented with this idea of working with the Shadow. With just a couple of simple experiments, I’ve been able to see how loving and accepting Annie can be so much better for me than trying to silence her. As a former educator, I know the importance of having tools you can use to make learning easier. So far, I like what I’m learning from these two doctors and their Tools. You can read more about this in their book The Tools and on their website

Today I am grateful for the new perspective of my inner roommate Annie. After all, my journey is about loving myself. Annie is a part of me that isn’t going away, so loving her and accepting her opens the possibility for my life to be easier. Your Shadow, inner roommate, whatever you call her, isn’t going away. So, it just may change you life to change your perspective.

With Love & Gratitude,


***Note: This is not a paid endorsement of the book or of the authors.

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