How to quiet the critic and practice compassion

 

The other day I was on the subway with some teens:

"Don't use that filter!"
"My leg looks huge! Can you crop it?" 

I couldn't help but puff out my chest, refrain from rolling my eyes, and breathe a heavy sigh of relief that I was out of my adolescence and resting comfortably in adulthood. 

Until the next subway stop, when I realized my friends and I do the same thing. 

A few moments later I heard, "Why are you freaking out? No one's going to be looking that hard." 
Another teen replied, "Why not? We always do." 

I would rather write about anything other than vanity, social media and the dreaded compare and despair that even the most enlightened of us humans fall into -  I mean there are SO many other things to be worrying about. 

And yet, how we view ourselves and others is at the heart of every matter. 

Here are 3 tips for cultivating compassion all around: 

 

1) Let Go

"Do I look okay in this photo?"

Me...just now...after being tagged on Facebook...writing this very blog. 

Here's hoping I don't have this reaction in my 80s. If all goes according to plan I'll embody the confidence of Blanche:

 

And yet, I'm not beating myself up. It's normal to adjust the photo and be our best selves in every way. Just don't criticize your life, body and relationships on the quest for "self-improvement." 

We're bombarded with images and content all day. Filter wisely and move on. 

 

2) Accept 

The energy we spend analyzing what "should" be is exhausting. I'm the former queen of spinning a lengthy narrative when simply breathing and allowing will do. 

I'm working on softening my lens while keeping my feistiness and maintaining my views while making space for everyone else's. 

It's hard, I often falter, but when choosing thoughts wisely and judgments sparingly, more energy is available for inner strength and showing up. 

 

3) Connect

I never knew what people meant when they said "We're all one." Isn't growth individual? 

I was given this lesson repeatedly, namely when people pissed me off. 

Someone would say something that rubbed me the wrong way and I'd spend a week venting, only to realize they were reflecting back my insecurities. I'd criticize someone for rushing, only to realize I was annoyed with my own running around. 

My shadow was reflected everywhere I turned and with no where to go, I went inward.

The result - I now recognize that when we criticize others, we're criticizing ourselves. Conversely, when we look for the good in everything our own hearts melt and we feel a higher vibration. We really do have the power to shift perspective and accept everything as it is. We don't have to be perfect, we just have to be - taking it one breath, one moment and one day at a time. 

 

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Does your inner critic make an appearance more days than others? What helps you stay connected? Write in the comments below and feel free to forward to a friend. 

Wishing you all a great rest of the summer. 

Devon 

 

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