I realized that I have been ignoring a great free resource: podcasts. I have an iPhone: there’s no reason for me not to stock up on a variety of podcasts covering a wide range of all of the topics that always concern me. Since almost everything that bothers me winds up boiling down to my baggage, I focused on the meditation and self-help sections of the podcast store in iTunes.
I ran across one called Happiness Through Self Awareness that looked interesting. I gave one cast entitled “Stop Beating Yourself Up” a try, and learned quite a bit. He talked about how it was impossible for something to beat itself up: there have to be two parts, the beater and the the part being beaten. He called them the judge and the victim. I found the distinction to be very elucidating.
He went on to describe the judge as being something of a perfectionist: an all-knowing entity that never makes mistakes telling you how you’ve gone wrong and how you don’t measure up. The victim is the exact opposite: a part of you that knows nothing and can do nothing right. Our angst when we are “beating ourselves up” is because these are diametrically opposed viewpoints that can’t exist at the same time: you have to pick one.
In picking one, you free yourself from the struggle and remove the toxicity. When you pick the judge, you take on the mantle of confidence that goes with knowing everything (even though of course you don’t) and you can stop being so mean to yourself. When you pick the victim, you accept that you don’t have the knowledge and can view yourself with compassion. Either way, when you pick sides and stop trying to be both, you can stop being mean to yourself and view your mental processes with more compassion and understanding.
“Ah, here’s where I know what I’m doing, and here’s where I don’t.”
The two interplay off of each other. When the victim doesn’t know what to do, the judge is there to help. At this point, it’s helpful to find different labels for the judge and the victim, because once they’re operating in a more healthy dynamic, they’re not judgmental or victim-minded anymore. Perhaps the parent and the child, or the student and the teacher. The guru and the follower.
At least, that’s what I got out of that podcast. It was pertinent knowledge to get in light of having a week in which I seriously flogged myself for one thing or another. I look forward to the next one.
There’s a website that goes along with the podcasts: you can find it here.