“Where is that written contract you signed before birth promising that you’d be perfect, that you’d never fail, and that your life would go absolutely the way you want it to?” -Kristin Neff
Some people call it the devil, negativity, a Gremlin, or the little guy with the pitchfork. I’ve even heard someone refer to it as Norman, Gollum, or the negative committee that meets in your head. I’ve referred to it as Gazoo in my essay The Shrink Who Killed Gazoo. What am I talking about? It’s that part of ourselves that we all have (if you say you don’t have it, I’m sorry, you’re lying) that blocks our self compassion. It’s that part of ourselves that knows every bad thing we’ve ever done; knows every place where we have fallen short, knows every imperfection, and doesn’t hesitate to bring those things to our attention…usually at the most inopportune times. It’s that part of ourselves that tells us we can’t when we try to believe that we can. It’s that part of ourselves that tells us told you so when we fall or fail. And it’s that part of ourselves that tells us that we are not deserving of compassion…and especially not self compassion, when we are at our worst and especially when we are the only ones to blame for our situation.
It’s sneaky too. It knows how and when to attack us and the points of attack as well. Sometimes it uses others to do its dirty work. But most of the time, it’s an inner critical voice that we’ve probably had with us since we were little. It’s not going anywhere. It’s not leaving us without a fight. It has been around too long. And even when we think it’s gone, it resurrects itself, creeps back up and devises a new strategy of attack.
Some people can ignore it. Some people speak positive words to crumble it. But I think mine is so sneaky and manipulative, the only thing I can do is pay attention, listen, acknowledge, and then tell it to its face that its a liar.
I know the truth.
Do you ever get an uneasy feeling in your spirit? As if you are not in line with the Universe…not in balance? I’ve come to realize that it is usually during these times when I need to step up the self compassion. This is because the imbalance is caused by the judgmental, shameful, guilt-filled messages that Gazoo (or whatever you want to call it) is giving me. It is important to recognize what is going on within your mind, body, and spirit during these times. In my experience, this is the only way to stop the negativity in its tracks and knock it out with compassion.
The great thing about self-compassion is that we don’t have to wait for anyone or anything external to give it to us. Besides, sometimes Gazoo acts so quickly, I don’t have time to call anyone for help!
If I am able to recognize when Gazoo is rearing his silly little head, then I can quickly (sometimes quickly) battle it out. The interesting thing is that in the past that negativity, Gazoo, or whatever you want to call it would always win out because there was nothing within me to counter it. Now, there is beauty, love, understanding, friendship, truth, and self compassion.
Gazoo doesn’t stand a chance against the depth of compassion I have for myself.