self belief

I have declared 2011 the year of self-belief, of trusting myself to use what I know are my true talents and those things I’m fairly sure I’m here to contribute to this busy, needy world.

I’ve been thinking about the obstacles that get in the way. There’s my tendency to judge my own actions and decisions and not to trust myself–especially about the things that matter most to me.

As I’ve enjoyed a little lolling around in the extreme heat, I’ve been really surprised by how often I think to myself, ‘Hmm, Clare! You shouldn’t be eating that ice-cream or watching that cooking program, or wasting your time reading that magazine’. And the curious thing is that this self-judgement doesn’t make me feel inspired to do some worthy activity (whatever that may be) but actually encourages me to procrastinate even further.

I rebel and just continue with the time-wasting, even when I truly know it isn’t fruitful or nourishing, and I do know that there are projects or passions and even time-wasting that is healthy and fruitful and I’m not listening to those inspirations but letting the negativity drown them out.

I also find I am constantly thinking up ‘shoulds’: I should get up earlier, I should go for a walk when I get up early. I should write early in the morning after I’ve gone for my early morning walk. I need to do my stretching exercises. I must always dry up the dishes. I  should meditate better or longer, or with more attentiveness. I should eat more healthily. I should get on with this or that project. Again rather than creating enthusiasm–all these shoulds inevitably make me feel not good enough.

I’m amazed by the dominance of these thoughts–sometimes it can feel as though they are insistent background music. It’s playing along at low volume but  every so often the volume will suddenly crescendo and there’ll be a big chorus that replays itself over and over in my mind, as persuasive as any great pop song hook.

So, my new project is to  just observe these obstacles to self belief and not get caught up, Pema Chödrön is a great teacher about letting go of unwanted habits.

This video gives a taste of her teachings.

So, that’s my New Year’s resolution. I’m looking forward to growing my sense of self-belief and turning down the volume on all those shoulds and not good enoughs!