Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Do you talk shit to yourself?

“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far. ” 
Swami Vivekananda

Monday morning I found myself thinking, man...I'll be really happy when this week is over. Seriously, Amanda? Immediately after thinking it I took a moment to correct myself. No, you will be happy NOW. You might be a little less busy or have a few events off your plate, but there is no reason why you can't be happy now AND when this week is over. Don't curse yourself. Not in action, word or even in thought. 

As yogis, we are taught that self-study or "svadhyaya" is of prime importance in our personal development. We are constantly analyzing and refining ourselves in minute ways. We use the asana practice as a litmus test for our "tendencies" or personality issues.  Do you zone out during held postures or rush from pose to pose ahead of the teacher's instruction? Do you feel the need to show off and go into the most challenging variations even at the beginning of class? Do you hear the words "handstand practice" and just shut down, telling yourself that you'll never ever be able to stand on your hands and that you look like an asshole when you try? Well, what you do on the mat, you probably do in other areas of your life. We are creatures of habit. Lazy yogis are lazy employees. Showoff-y yogis are ego and status driven. Impatient yogis are type A, stress balls. Self shit-talkers are telling themselves their week is gonna suck on the way to work on Monday morning.

Eventually this habit self-study extends beyond your yoga practice and becomes a constant filter on your life. Not a single thought, word or action passes through your being without at least a brief moment of contemplation. Am I eating foods that are conducive to furthering my health (not too heavy! not too spicy! enough veggies!)? Am I watching television shows that are either enriching or at least neutral, so as to not rot my precious brain? Am I thinking a jealous thought about someone else's success? If yes, how can I flip that and feel happiness for them without bringing my ego into it? Am I supporting myself with my inner monologue or am I tearing myself down? 

If you can actually make a concerted effort to do this at least some of them time, you can save yourself an IMMENSE amount of future heartache. We destroy ourselves with negative, aggressive, and draining thought patterns or self-imposed "facts" that we've ascribed to ourselves over the course of our lives. "I'm just not a math person" (I say that, whoops). "I'm SO not flexible, I could never do yoga". "I've been heavy since 5th grade. It's just how I am." We curse the future before it ever gets there: "this day is gonna suck." "I'm never gonna pay off this student loan debt." ""I'll never meet anyone who wants to marry me". It goes on and on and on. 

I catch myself resorting back to apprehensive or even self-deprecating thoughts when I am stressed or gloomy. The good thing is that at least now I am able to recognize these thought seeds and cut them off before they can grow into weeds of self-doubt and negativity. I really love having this tool of self-study because I truly believe that the worst enemy we all have is that mean little bitch that lives in all our heads. I've seen her totally destroy people's days, weeks, college years, life...If we can find that bitch and slap some sense into her, we can solve all of our problems and live calm, content and balanced lives. 

“It isn’t what happens to us that causes us to suffer; it’s what we say to ourselves about what happens.” ~Pema Chodron