Fri, Oct 8, 2010
To test how kind you are toward yourself, listen to your thoughts when you’re learning something new or trying to improve an old, rusty skill. Are you encouraging and forgiving, or as mean as a playground bully? This will give you a snapshot of where you truly are on the self-criticism/compassion scale.
I got a clear picture of my place on that scale this week while playing golf for the first time in 14 years. Wow, what an interesting conversation my mind was having with me! I heard things like: I can’t believe you’re this bad. Why can’t you hit the ball as well as he does? You are hopeless!
As I got a little older though, those nasty, critical thoughts started racing through my mind, and by the time I was 12 or 13, I wanted to quit. It just wasn’t fun to hear that litany of abuse. I started golfing again two or three times as an adult, only to quit again when those familiar thoughts drowned out any fun I was having.
So now it’s time to test my progress. Will I quit again, or do I finally have the skills to deal with this tendency of my self-critical mind? I’m betting on the latter, and here’s how I plan to do it:
- Be loving with myself when having negative thoughts (and avoid adding another layer of criticism by not getting down on myself for having them!).
- Gently redirect my attention to different thoughts-appreciating my progress, remembering that it’s a game, and one I haven’t played for a long time.
- Rely on a good golf teacher/coach (fortunately, I have one) who will properly guide me and be a voice for the encouraging, compassionate thoughts.
- Use the power of visualization to see and feel myself as the golfer I know I can be.
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