Ever hear that saying “You are your own worst critic” especially when referring to artists? Well, that saying really applies to everyone. We can be our own worst enemies at times and we tend to put the most judgment on ourselves – a lot of times without even realizing it.
Of course this can rear its ugly head when trying something new. You expect to be great at something right off the bat or have a certain level of assurance that you can do something, that maybe, you just aren’t as good at as you’d like to think. It’s natural for a lot of ego to sneak in. This is just as true when in our practice(It is an art after all). Beginners especially feel this when possibly asking their bodies to do more than they are ready for. “I can kick higher”, “I can squat lower” “I can do more reps” etc etc are all positive reinforcements – but if you’re asking yourself to do more than you are currently capable in your current state – you’re asking for an injury. Then you get hurt, and then you get frustrated at yourself that you got hurt that you beat yourself up over it and thus the vicious cycle continues. Of course we all want to look cool, and we give ourselves that boost of confidence to push further, but as time passes throughout the practice, we learn to be more aware of ourselves – listen to our bodies better. This sometimes tends to come after some minor injury, whether it’s a strained muscle or something actually hurt worse. These, along with with mindful training(and meditation!), help ease that enemy inside us. But this doesn’t just apply to beginners either. Sometimes the more we practice in something, the more we once again have that expectation that we can suddenly “do it all”. “I’ve been training for 10 years – I should be able to kick really high” Key word – Should. Maybe you do train really hard to kick high, but maybe there’s something you’re missing first in order to be able to do that. It’s always a good idea to take a step back, even if just for a bit and take it slow. Build up and try again. Life is all about this. We place such high expectations on ourselves and that leads to lots of stress and the body reacts to that whether you’re conscious of it or not. There is no shame in taking a step back and trying again. Tell yourself “It’s OK to fail, it’s OK to not be great at everything” and then try again. Once you get out of your own way, a new path opens up and you can just ‘be’. I know that may sound hokey, but once you get rid of all that negativity, you can just focus on trying your best and moving forward and then you will see over time the things you really can accomplish without that stress in the way.
Easier said than done, but being aware is the first step.