In my previous post, I introduced the Destructive Self and the True Self. If you missed it, you can find it here.
One could say that developing and having a Destructive Self is part of living life. And, the more experiences we have, the more that we are exposed to, the more likely it is for us to develop the doubts, insecurities and fears that fuel this voice and prevent us from creating a life that we want to live and be proud of.
Today, I want to give you the fastest, most effective techniques and tools that I have found to silence the Destructive Self.
1. Ask yourself: What is my intention?
In any situation, this question is a dead giveaway as to who is making your choice, your Destructive Self or your True Self. Remember, your Destructive Self makes decisions based on fear, insecurities and anxieties. Your True Self makes decisions based on your values and love.
In an argument, are you looking to hurt the other person? If so, your intention could reveal your resentment and self-righteousness.
When solving a problem at work, are you looking to feed an insecurity or support something that is greater than yourself? If so, your intention could reveal your self-doubt and anxieties.
If you inquire enough, you will be able to witness the fears that make up the Destructive Self. And awareness is the first step in silencing it.
2. Compare: What do you want and are you behaving in a way that is compatible with your desires?
We may ultimately want a closer connection with someone and yet behave in ways that contradict this. That gap is a sure sign that destructive emotions such as pride and defensiveness are present.
We may want to create an impactful career and yet shy away from opportunities when they are presented. That breach is a good indication that toxic emotions like fear and insecurity are present.
When I see this gap I connect to my True Self by answering: What would I do if my actions were aligned with what I ultimately wanted?
3. Do: Things that elevate your spirit and life
Research shows that it is best to make decisions when we are satisfied and not hungry. Research also demonstrates that willpower depletes as the day goes on, and it is advised to make important choices earlier in the day.
In the same way that there are peak moments for our body to make decisions, we make better choices when our spirit,and, in turn, our life is elevated. When you feel the usual sentiments of your Destructive Self emerge (e.g., envy, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment), do an activity that elevates you. Go to a museum. Go on a hike. I purchase a new cookbook and get in my kitchen and cook up a storm. Just as it is difficult for you to function without the right amount of sleep, it is difficult for you to silence your Destructive Self without elevating your internal state.
4. Live: In Gratitude
There is now science and data behind the benefits of gratitude. Robert Emmons is a professor at UC Davis and the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. He is considered by many to be the scientific expert on gratitude, having spent years studying its effect on people. He has found some incredible physical benefits of gratitude, such as:
Strengthening the immune system
Lowering blood pressure
Helping us sleep better
Reducing pain in the body
One of Emmons’ key findings demonstrates gratitude’s ability to silence our Destructive Self. Through his research, Emmons has found that gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions such as envy, resentment and regret. His findings show that you cannot hold gratitude and any of the above negative sentiments at the same time, as they are incompatible.
5. Practice: Meditation
The science that is surfacing behind the benefits of meditation is widely available, so I won’t repeat it here. What I would like to do is urge you to meditate every day, even if just for five minutes in the morning. Meditation will help you to look inward and discover what your ultimate intention is, what gaps exist in your behavior, what truly elevates your spirit and all that you can be grateful for.
Do you remember Deepak Chopra’s take on the Destructive Self? His answer to move past it is “self-awareness of our thoughts, feelings, behaviors and speech…through this objective awareness there is a transformation of identity to our True Self.” Mindfulness and meditation are the best ways to achieve this level of awareness.
Whenever I do any of the five actions, above, I am able to silence my Destructive Self and empower my True Self. That is the Self I want to live from, because that is the Self that makes better choices.
Right now, your Destructive Self might have a strong voice, making all of the above incredibly scary. That’s OK. In the next post, I will discuss how to come to terms with fear.
All the best,
Judith Duval is an entrepreneur and TV personality. Her namesake company seeks to educate, teach and inspire others, especially Latinas, to make better choices, through TV, radio, web and speaking engagements. Judith kicked off her career in Finance (JPMorgan and Citigroup) and Strategy/Business Development (Bain & Co. and Sephora). She has combined this experience with a leadership background (CTI Co-Active Coaching & Leadership Training, Landmark, Gallup, among others). It is her passion for the advancement of all that has led her to her current endeavor as an entrepreneur within the wellness and media industries. Judith was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She received a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. You can learn more at www.JudithDuval.com.
SOULFUL Insights is brought to you by SOUL Food Salon founder Jeanne Rosner, MD. SOUL Food Salon’s mission is to educate and empower people to lead healthier lives.