Dear Ones –

Here's the thing about our heads: They are sometimes madhouses filled with crazy, wild, competing voices.

We each spend our lives dealing with the imaginary internal family of identities that constitute "The Self".

We each have brave parts of ourselves, and terrified parts, and ashamed parts, and stubborn parts, and hopeful parts, and cynical parts, and ambitious parts, and self-destructive parts…and all of them have a voice. (And all of them USE that voice.)

Sometimes those voices fight. They fight for dominance over each other, and they fight for definition of The Self. It becomes a screaming match. Sometimes it's like a riot in the monkey house at the zoo up in there.

There came a time in my life when I looked at the insane internal monkey house that was my mind, and I asked, "Who's in charge here, anyhow?"

It didn't seem like anyone was in charge.

To be sure, there was a louder, bossier, more self-hating and self-judging voice within me who seemed to THINK she was in charge…or that she should be. This was the voice of supreme self-judgment. This is the voice that said, "Goddamn it, Liz — you have to do better. This is unacceptable behavior. Why can't you get your shit together? Why are you such a loser? Can't you see how much you're screwing up your life? AND ALL OF YOU OTHER CRAZY MONKEYS NEED TO SHUT UP AND LET ME TAKE CONTROL!!!!"

That voice had so much authority, because in a way she was right. (I did, without a doubt, need to get my shit together…right? And the crazy monkeys did need to shut up…right?)

So for years I thought that voice was my highest self and I listened to her…when in fact she was nothing but my high-and-mightiest self — and she did more harm to me than any of the other voices combined.

Because the problem with that voice is that she's aggressive, demanding, unforgiving, uncompassionate, and often cruel. She didn't make me a better person. She didn't fill me with light. She just made me feel more horrible about myself. And in that sense of shame and self-horror, darker impulses within me could always take over.

She made my life WORSE — darker and worse.

But in the course of my healing — through travel, prayer, meditation, therapy, self-kindness — I found an even higher voice within me.

That voice never says anything but, "You are loved."

That's the voice that's in charge of me now — above all the chaos and doubt.

That voice is Grace. Only when I found that voice within me, life began to improve. Only then, could I make the changes I needed to make, without beating myself half to death — without all the self-punishment and shame. Because that voice makes all the crazy monkeys (even the most aggressive and domineering one) lay down and go to sleep.

Because here's the only thing the crazy monkeys in the madhouse want to know: AM I LOVED?

What I want to tell you today is this: YES.

You are loved. Entirely. Even the dumbest parts of you — totally loved.

Because Grace ONLY ever says, "You are loved."

Any other voice you ever hear inside your head (especially the voice that is telling you what a failure and loser you are, and how you REALLY NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER)… that is not Grace.

A judgmental attack of any manner (upon you, or upon anyone else, or from anyone else) will never be Grace.

I was so happy to get to speak about this last weekend on Super Soul Sunday…and if you like you can watch the full episode here, if you like:

And Part II of my Super Soul Sunday interview with Oprah will air tomorrow, 11am on OWN-TV (or LIVESTREAMED at, or on the Super Soul Sunday Facebook page.)

See you there!

Be kind to yourself in the meanwhile, OK?


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall