One of the most valued lessons I’ve learned in my early to mid twenties, I have learned through yoga. This lesson was presented as a gift, and it is one of my most prized possessions:
You are what you think you are.
You have an inner voice. No one hears this voice but you; it tells you when you’ve done something right or when you’ve messed up. This voice is your Ego. It’s judgmental, it can be superficial, it can be “egotistical” or it can truly feel pain: “a blow to the ego,” is a great catch phrase that explains exactly that. Despite your fight to tell me you have “free will,” your ego resides within as your own personal dictator, from whom you often unknowingly unquestionably obey.
Someone might say to you: “Try a handstand”
Your response: “I can’t do that, no way.”
Do you listen to that voice? How often?
During the fall of 2011 yoga became my saving grace. It was my only reprieve from 21 units I exhausted myself with that semester in college. Each time I came to my mat, I always set the same intention for my practice, every time: “To show compassion toward myself.”
Compassion for that girl was necessary because my downfall (and strength) has always been that I am a perfectionist. This encompassed my yoga practice as well, up until that fall: I stopped being a perfectionist on my mat. It was gradual, but I let go of wanting to be perfect in all the poses, all the time. Where was that critical voice? It grew silent, and I began to love yoga even more for that. It was a gift.
That voice you hear can either help or hurt you, but it is your choice to listen. Don’t believe everything it tells you. If it’s not talking to you like a friend would, then it has no right to be speaking. Compassion means understanding, forgiveness and support. If you can’t show this to yourself, you are also limiting the amount you are capable of giving to anyone else.
You are what you think you are. If you think you can’t, you can’t. If you think you’ll fail, you will. You decide the way you approach life. A shift in your thinking, a shift in that voice, might just be the adjustment you need to be on a more proactive and productive path, bettering yourself because you have decided your self-worth means the self-preservation of the voice that will help and won’t hurt.