I enjoy watching the Winter Olympics. Something about the white backdrop, I guess, and the sports that this season’s competition highlights. Maintaining strength, composure, power and grace against the slippery nature of snow and ice is compelling to me.
Mostly, though, I like to watch the Skating.
Over the past few years, as my regular Corner readers know, I’ve come to enjoy skating and spending time on the ice. So this year, as I watch the athletes perform on that glassy surface, I truly, truly appreciate their strength and ability. I mean, I’m just content to skate around in a circle at a steady speed and not fall down. The idea of the speed they move and how they maintain composure and balance as they leap and spin once, let along three or four times, is mind-blowing. The thought of skating alongside a partner, jumping into their arms and trusting them to toss me about … all I can say is WOW and BRAVO! Ice skaters are brave and beautiful.
My issue about this event — and many sporting events to be honest — is the Commentary. I just want to watch them skate. I don’t need to hear the accompanying critique about their “incomplete rotation.” Obviously, I can see a fall when it happens so I don’t need to hear about that fall obliterating their medal chance. I don’t require some “expert” to tell me about deductions and jump height. Every time someone ventures out on the ice — or up a snowy hill — I hope for a clean, flawless performance — their best performance. When they fall doing a trick or spin they’ve probably done hundreds of times without error, my heart aches for them. But, falls and mistakes and under-rotations happen … on the slopes and on the ice. I could really do without the endless critique against the music and pretty scenery.
I could mute the sound, I suppose. But I like the music and the cut the skates or skis make when they meet ice and snow. That’s a strangely peaceful sound to me.
Anyway, Shut Up! Let me watch and enjoy. Stop criticizing, pointing out flaws and imperfections. Stop analyzing or commenting on every move these individuals make.
But wait. Don’t we do that to ourselves? Think about this for a moment, how many conversations do you have with your Inner Voice? And … how many of those conversations involve your Inner Voice telling you all about what you’ve done wrong? What you’ve said wrong? How many of these conversations involve your Inner Voice identifying and brow-beating you about some flaw or mistake or choice or decision? And how often do you allow these comments to get to you?
Imagine for a moment your Inner Voice — that chatty commentator — sitting across from you at your favorite Coffee Shop. Create an image, body and tone for your Inner Voice. Can you see it sitting there? Do you hear it talking to you? Is it a kind, supportive voice? Or, is it hassling you? Be honest. Would you really be friends with this person? Would you even permit her (or him) to come in the door? What conversations do you have? Is your Inner Voice a Cheerleader or an Olympic Commentator?
My Inner Voice has a lot to say. I hear about how I could stand to lose a few pounds. How I shouldn’t have eaten or drunk that. My Inner Voice tells me I lack talent when I don’t get a role at an audition. She tells me how an outfit makes me look fat. She is a conveyor belt delivering criticism and reminding me of my flaws, unwise decisions and weaknesses. Oh it’s all her opinion but she has no problem sharing it. When I make a mistake on stage or in dealing with a situation, my Inner Voice tells me over and over what I should have done. She’s kind of repetitive and corners me when I’m vulnerable. My Inner Voice is a know it all … she’s relentless and she insists she knows what is best.
And I listen to her!
Heck, during a yoga session when I’m focused, calm and peaceful, my Inner Voice breaches the quiet to criticize me when I fall out of a pose or can’t balance on one leg for 3 minutes … as if she could do any better. Well, she tells me she could … duh.
My Inner Voice has something to say when I pay bills or balance the checkbook. Shouldn’t have bought that, she says. Did you really need that sweater? I mean, instead of a manicure or an updated kitchen you could have saved that money or spent it more practically. Oh, how I could improve or simplify my life if I’d just listen to her.
My Inner Voice questions the way I deal with my kids and interact with my friends. Shouldn’t have said that. Shouldn’t have gone there. Shouldn’t have mentioned that. Shouldn’t have made that choice or decision. Why did you do that? Shouldn’t have worn that. You’re weak for allowing that. You’re a fool for believing that nonsense. She debates my choices and my decisions. She challenges me at every turn.
Okay … my Inner Voice is kind of a bitch.
She’s my own personal commentator pointing out my Falls and Under-rotations. She analyzes and analyzes my choices (be they good or poor ones) and questions me at every turn. She is My Own Worst Enemy.
I try to mute her. I just want the nice music as I skate along. I just want to Roll with It, Baby, Breathe and Let It Go. I want to find my inner Angel and celebrate all that I am. I really try not to let her or her opinionated, know-it-all, critical voice dominate me. I often send her to her room and work on finding ways to shut her away. But, she finds a key and a way back somehow and reminds me of my imperfections, challenging me when I’m vulnerable. At times I feel strong enough to ignore her. It’s something I’m working on. My journal helps … a daily dialogue to get those doubts and negative thoughts out of my head.
We all have our very own commentator inside us — our own worst enemy. And, if I’m honest, I wouldn’t be friends with someone who talks to me and criticizes me and debases me the way she does. I wouldn’t meet her for coffee. Heck, I’d unfriend her and block her.
So, each day, I seek to celebrate what I do well. I offer my best and try to silence the whisperings that want to undermine me. I may fall on the ice. But, I remember I’m human, that I’m offering up my best, and that every fall gives me a chance to learn something …
And to get back up and try again.