If you were to broadcast your inner thoughts out into the world, what would people think?
Recently, this question was brought up in a discussion I was having with a postpartum physical therapy client. Such a good question, right?! What would people think of your inner thoughts? Truth be told, my initial inner response to that question was “Eeek! I wouldn’t want anyone to know I’m that self-critical or that far off my rocker!”
But the more I thought of it and the more research I did, the more I realized that not only is it natural to have that inner critic, but it’s common. And it’s not always a bad thing (read this). The inner critic is often there to help us out, to keep us ‘safe’, and to push us to our limits so we can expand into a new comfort zone that may have previously been thought of as unreachable.
But when the inner critic gets nasty…and demanding…and over-bearing…that’s when it’s time to tell her (or it) to pipe down. You’re not good enough… You don’t know enough to do that…. You’re not this… You’re not that… Yes, you’ve heard her! In order to work with your inner critic vs being manhandled by her, first we have to recognize that we even have an inner critic to begin with. Spend some time personifying your inner critic. What does she/he/it look like? What does his/her/ its voice sound like? What does he/she most commonly say to you? Once you see that this voice is only in your mind and not “real” – what ideas do you have for disputing this voice, offering it thanks for trying to keep you safe and letting it know that you’re fine now, or thanking it for it’s service and letting it know that it’s no longer needed?
It seems like a silly exercise, but honestly, when I got to know my inner critic, it sure helped me realize how many falsehoods I was subscribing to on a daily basis. In a world where our attention is pulled in so many different directions and our thoughts are constantly being influenced by outside sources, it can be life-giving to sit down and have a chat with that inner critic that’s constantly tapping on your shoulder.
Get to know your inner critic – see how she can help you out – tell her to pipe down if she’s getting too loud. If you’re looking for a boost, check out this TED talk by Mel Robbins (she’ll make you feel like you can rule the world!).