You read that right. It isn’t a typo.
My inner critic is responsible for the flight, fight or freeze behavior we exhibit when we feel threatened. It serves a purpose.
But here’s the rub: It really has no compass and since we are no longer hurtling through the forest with some crazed beast chasing us it had to find other ways to protect us.
Ahhh, protection. It is the inner critics sole function. It’s only job. We don’t encounter to may savage beasts while we’re stuck in traffic but our mental and emotional beasts produce the same stress and anxiety and our inner critic doesn’t know the difference. It goes into action secreting all the Adrenalin and other things we need to keep us safe.
When we get all stressed out because we just dropped three grand on a self improvement course and we aren’t “improved,” there is something wrong. Our inner critic, ever so grateful for the opportunity begins searching for an answer. There are no lions, no tigers and no bears. (Oh my!) There’s a lotta stress, self judgment, and anxiety.
Bingo! It springs into action and in it’s own confused way it says “I got this. I’ll protect you.”
I’m thinking that’s where the saying “We’ve met the enemy and it is us!” came from It has to be something we did, or said, or simply who we are.
It’s our fault! We’re flawed and damaged. Why aren’t we like everyone else?
We integrate those small thoughts and over time they pile up until we are mumbling and muttering “I can’t do nuthin right.” Worse yet, we begin to believe we are flawed. Our inner critic is smiling because it believes it’s doing its job. It stops smiling when we start a campaign to silence it. It will push back harder and longer and with more intensity, the more we endeavor to remove whatever it’s focused on at the moment.
It doesn’t understand. It’s job is to protect us! Why the hell are we fighting it! Every indication tells it that we are in danger.
You know. Cortisol secretion and all that other stuff I don’t half way understand!
I’ve fought my inner critic my entire life. I believed there was something wrong with me, otherwise why would I keep hearing that nagging voice?
There’s no secret sauce here. The heavens didn’t open with a revelation.
It just popped into my head while I was walking around the track at my gym one day.
I needed to start treating my inner critic with compassion.
When things get all confused and I feel threatened and those defense mechanisms engage I stop and I thank it for protecting me, for keeping me safe from harm, no matter how much I thought I didn’t need protection. It is (was) doing its job. I realized that it was me and I was it and the one thing both of us were looking for was validation. It wants what we all want – peace, harmony and stability.
I’m speaking with my inner critic more and more and each time I do I become aware of a poignant compassion that passes between us. There are times I’ll tell it gently, “Thank you, but I got this, you can take five.”
Here is what I am noticing. Those moments of self judgement and self criticism are getting less and less each day. I’m not ready for sainthood, don’t get me wrong, but I am starting to see space open up in a place it hasn’t opened in a long time.
#selfcompassion #selfcare #selflove #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mindfulness #healing #loveyourself #selfacceptance #compassion #selfworth #therapy #selfkindness #motivation #intuitiveeating #edrecovery #anxiety #serenity #antidiet #recovery #selfawareness #wellness #counselling #meditation #compassion
PS. I finished my last revision and took a break. I learned awhile back to work in two hour blocks and take a break for 30 minutes or so. I threw a load in the washer and took the dog for a walk. I started reviewing what I had left to do before I went to a networking event later this afternoon.
My inner critic popped up and made a strong suggestion that I take the rest of the day off. I’d been working hard! Isn’t my health the most important thing? LOL
You see, I’ve been putting something off for a few days – procrastinating if you will. It’s something I really don’t WANT to fool with but something I NEED to fool with. One of those things that can move me forward.
I stopped in the middle of the street, took a deep breath, smiled and said,
Thank you. I appreciate your concern but this is important to me. If I don’t get it done today it wont get done and we both know what happens then. I have an idea! Why don’t you take a break today and I’ll get done a lot quicker.
That seemed to placate him, at least for now.
I sure hope no one called the police. I mean I’m standing in the middle of the street talking out loud to myself.