It’s Okay to Give Your Shadow a Shove

Do you do this, too? Talk yourself out of trying something the second after the idea comes to you?

Do you convince yourself you can’t, you shouldn’t or you won’t, before you even get started?

The worst part about it is that we do it to ourselves. Right?

We dash our own creativity. We beat down our own dreams. We staunch the flow of our own ideas. Quite frankly, if we are feeling unfulfilled we might need to look in the mirror to figure out who to blame.

Have you seen the Bob Newhart Show clip (Yes, it goes way back!) where Bob’s client comes in and tells him she has erratic fears? He listens patiently (after telling her that the session won’t last five minutes). When she finishes her earnest declaration…he yells STOP IT!

This is about where my personal lessons of self-kindness begin, fellow keepers of kind. I just say Stop It! Then I soften my tone and get kind.

Here’s what I know – the biggest favor I can do for myself, the most generous thing I can offer my heart, the kindest self-care imaginable, is to stop telling myself what I’m not. Of course there’s more to do. And someday, when I grow up, I’ll get to the point of knowing I’m enough. But that’s a stretch right now.

When it comes to my work as a writer, blogger and coach, I have to get specific with my self-talk. I have to get just a little tougher than the voices that judge me from within.

My inner critics, the Bitchy Puppies, tell me: “You’ve lost so much time to distraction, other projects and feeling crappy.” I practice saying: Stop It. Stop counting the days! Put the calendar away.

Bitchy Puppies Round 2: “Everyone else is getting things done and you’re not.” Stop it! I say. Stop looking behind you or across from you! Creativity is not a competition. Let me jam in some Elizabeth Gilbert here: “If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.” and (this part is me) you won’t run out of ideas or the spirit to bring them to life.

Here’s my self-kindness survival tip for this month: Give your shadow a shove. It’s gorgeous and glorious but its perspective is a bit off. Hear the critic, because sometimes it has useful reminders (like the cliff edge is coming up and you might want to slow down your Corvette). But then give it a succinct, blunt one-liner, which is the greatest self-kindness defense I know.

Stop it! Shove off Shadow! I’ve got this. I choose this. I deserve this.

Try it. What’s your one-liner? Drop me a note at

  Patti M Hall is a writer, memoir coach and ghostwriter whose memoir writing inspiration brand lives at  Online Patti creates inspirational content for aspiring memoirists, wannabe writers and folks who love putting pen to paper.  Patti's real home is in Canada where she lives with her two giant sons and house full of golden retrievers.

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