I know I’ve mentioned it before, but at any given time, I probably have at least half-a-dozen blank journals sitting on a shelf somewhere, the empty pages longing to be filled with thoughts and ideas, important words, a story. Yet I always struggle to get things started, to write those first words and mark that first fresh page. Any old words just won’t do.

I want my words to have weight. I want them to matter.

And that desire will often stop me dead in my tracks and make me question whether I really have anything to say worth saying at all.

Yeah, I know. I gotta work on that. I gotta get out of my own damn way.

But that’s just how it is, isn’t it? We are always our own worst enemies, our own harshest critics. So much of the fear and anxiety we feel on a daily basis really just lives in our heads. The situations we find ourselves in, the moments we experience–they’re just moments. The simply exist. They’re here and then they’re gone and they’re benign.

It is what it is.

But it’s the emotion that we tie to those moments that start things spiraling out of control. We get ourselves all worked up and frantic fretting over what if’s and worst case scenarios and building this picture in our minds of how it should be, instead of allowing life to simply unfold as it’s meant to based on the choices we make.

And if all that what-ifing and scenario-building wasn’t enough, what really trips us up is the aftermath, when we carry those moments with us long after they’re gone. We beat ourselves up over the could have beens and should have beens instead of just experiencing the moment.

Letting it in, and letting it go.

And suddenly, something as simple as writing a journal entry can have me wondering if I’m good enough, if I’m just a joke, if I actually have anything to say after all.

I’ve gotten a lot better at keeping myself in check, at not allowing that negative train of thought to keep running out of control. It’s something I have to actively work on and be mindful of every day. It took a lot of hard work and therapy to learn how to temper that negative thinking, but damn has it been worth it!

And I think one of the greatest benefits to learning how to recognize and manage my own self-critic is that it has made me so much more patient and compassionate. We’re all just here trying to do our best while we’re wrestling with our own inner demons, aren’t we? The least we can do is to be kind and support one another. I mean, that’s what we’re here for isn’t it–to love each other and learn how to love ourselves?

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