Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded.
I wrote a post week two that was very similar to the idea of this lesson. In fact, I used this quote as an example to further my point in that post back in May. That week was about succumbing to your dislike of another and harboring feelings of ill-will, bringing you down to your "enemy's" level, that is, those that you feel strongly about or those that have shown some sort of discord towards you.
The point is that, even when there are people that seem like your enemy, nothing they can say or do can harm you as much as your own chaotic critical thoughts, essentially making you your own worst enemy. People in our lives come and go, but we are with ourselves forever. Even their treatment of us moves out of our lives just as they do, or so it should. But our minds tend to retain that treatment we received, those scenarios we were participants in, and our thoughts continue about it as if they'd never left. Our own minds will continue the painful memories and, since our bodies can't tell the difference between what is really happening or what's just happening in our minds, we feel and react as if it is all still presently happening, thanks to our incessant and unguarded thoughts.
We often tend to put ourselves down more than anyone else in our lives. Negative self-talk seems to be prevalent in our culture, especially for women. I think it might mostly be due to the fact that we want to put ourselves down first to save us the pain of living through someone else doing it. Rejection and insults hurt, no matter what positive things we read or are told we should do to ignore them, but we still often sabotage ourselves with self deprecation before we give anyone else the chance. And, when this becomes a habit, the pain we think we are saving ourselves is actually forming a scar, just the same as if anyone else were responsible.
We don't harm ourselves with just negative self-talk about our bodies, hair, wardrobe or our accomplishments, or lack thereof. When we leave our thoughts unguarded and stop paying attention to keeping ourselves grounded in reality, such as what's actually happening as opposed to a fantasy of what is taking place, we are creating patterns out of this way of thinking and letting this negativity interfere with other aspects of our lives. How many times have you re-played an argument with someone over and over in your mind, changing the outcome to something more rewarding for you? Or re-playing the scenario and feeling the hurt inside each time just as if it were happening to you again and again?
Being a negative thinker becomes a habit, creating this new you that doesn't even realize the damage you are doing to yourself, let alone affecting how we treat others and forgetting how to have kindness and compassion. What kind of people will we become if we continue to leave our thoughts unchecked? I know from experience it's easy to become hateful, depressed, angry, and lazy, even. The harm we can do to ourselves is much more than even our worst enemy can accomplish. Who needs enemies when we have ourselves?
We can make peace with ourselves and keep peace with others by simply taking the time to return to our center when we feel our minds wandering. The more effort you put into this practice of realizing you are off on a tangent of negative thought, the easier it becomes to return yourself to reality; to realize that the hurt you may be feeling is so unnecessary. You will eventually begin to quickly notice you are doing it and will be able to stop it before it raises your blood pressure. You will begin to notice that you are so much more than the "thinker". You will begin to notice the you that is observing the thoughts. The real you. And you'll notice how much you are worth.
Thanks for reading today. Have a blessed week.