Talking with my Inner Critic

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.

That’s exciting.

Namaste.

#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.

How I am Learning to Live and Thrive with my Panic and Anxiety Disorder.


I’ve lived with panic and anxiety disorder my entire life. I didn’t identify what it was until I was in my late 30’s. I thought I was just a “Nervous Nelly.” It kicked in big time when I thought I was having a heart attack one night. Diagnosis: “The common cold of psychiatric disorders.” (No kidding. That’s what a doctor told me.)

I would like to share with you some of the ways I am learning to manage my anxiety and be able to live a successful and happy life.

I want to share with you how I am learning to cope with not wanting to leave the house or vegetating in my recliner and binge watching The Gilmore Girls.

I want to share hope with you. Because if I can learn to manage this disease – And it is a disease! Don’t ever let anyone tell you anything different – You can as well. It takes some trial and error and finding which emotional shoes fit the most comfortably, but if you stick with it and ride the roller coaster for awhile, you’ll see some benefit. (How do like that for a bunch of cliches strung together!)

Before I share I have to make the lawyers happy.

Please note: I am not a doctor or a therapist. The things I share with you came from my own moments of self discovery, my journey and trial and error. THEY WORK FOR ME. It doesn’t mean they will work for you. In other words, don’t stop taking your meds just because I shared some crazy ass ideas that work for me! ( I still take my meds!) Thank you

Sooooooooooooo Here we go!

  • It is what it is.

I read somewhere that if you want to save a drowning person you have to stop them from struggling before you can save them. When they stop fighting, you can rescue them.

I have panic and anxiety disorder. It can be debilitating. I denied that it affected me for a long time. I was stressed out. I was preoccupied. There was nothing wrong a good nights sleep wouldn’t take care of! It was an aberration. Stuff like that.

I struggled for a long time trying to deny what was going on in my head and my body. It was when I began to practice mindful meditation that I started to understand that before I could “learn” I had to accept things as they were and where they were – Right Now.

One of the Noble Truths in Buddhism is “There will be suffering.” We will face challenges in our life and some of those challenges will be painful. It’s the first Noble Truth – The presence of suffering. That goes against everything we’ve been taught in western culture. We’ve been taught to quickly identify the suffering and create an action plan to remove it. Easy peasey lemon squeezey, right?

“I’m suffering so there must be something wrong with me. I have to get rid of it quickly and get back in the race.” I’ve learned that every experience I have in my life leaves a remnant of itself behind long after it’s gone. Now, that’s really cool if I live in a bubble and I’m only exposed to positive experiences.

I live in a world that is mostly unpredictable. When something doesn’t go the way I want it to I asked the question: What’s WRONG with me?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

When I have the flu or a cold or strain a muscle I don’t start to analyze why it happened. I don’t blame myself. When my anxiety starts to rear it’s ugly head and I begin cascading down the mountain of self doubt and recrimination I focus on treating it like I would a strained muscle. I rest it, I evaluate it and I treat it.

In other words it’s no ones fault, even a klutz like me. 🙂

Somewhere along the line I accepted this disease was part of me and it always will be part of me. The harder I tried to push it away and deny it, the stronger it pushed back. As I learn to accept and began the process of managing my anxiety, rather than trying to eradicate it, life became easier for me. Accepting it creates clarity.

As The Beatles once sang Let it Be

  • Make sure your health care team is in alignment with each other and with your health goals!

I have two doctors and a therapist. All three were carefully chosen. Their beliefs on treatment and outcome align with mine. We all speak the same language. Don’t be afraid to check out more than one provider.

True story: When I finally admitted I needed therapy I got a recommendation from my primary care physician. It was someone in my network, a MD. In our first and only session, they stopped me after fifteen minutes and announced that I didn’t have panic and anxiety disease I was told I had but I was bipolar. Further, my mother, who had the same symptoms and behavior I experienced was misdiagnosed and was bipolar as well. The medical student that was in the room, nodded their head in agreement. I was bipolar!

I was given a prescription and told to return in a month.

Before I left I stopped at the door and said I’m curious. You’ve only known me for fifteen minutes and you were able to diagnose me. You never met my mother and BTW she’s been dead for 10 months and you diagnosed her as well. You must be clairvoyant.

When I shared this story with my primary care physician do you know what she said to me?

Good for you John! I’m glad you weren’t afraid to speak up. For what it’s worth, I don’t see and symptoms of bipolar disorder in you. I’m sorry you had that experience.

I kept looking and found the therapist I’m working with now. We share the same values. My treatment is grounded in science and results.

The other physician I work with is an endocrinologist. I have a hyperactive thyroid. It exacerbates my anxiety and panic. Between him and my primary care physician they keep close tabs on my medication and any additional symptoms I may be experiencing. My therapist will remind me to keep those two informed. They’re my team. (Maybe I should get them tee shirts.)

In the end, it’s all about balance – Body, Mind and Spirit

As far as I know, nothing in this world works the way it’s designed to work unless it’s in balance with itself. That includes you and I. Creating and sustaining that balance is a lifelong endeavor.

I could sit here all day and share all sorts of strategies on what’s needed to create that elusive homeostasis. It would drive me as crazy to write it as it would you to read it.

So, lemme share what works for me.

Listen to your body

Let me say that again.

Listen to your body

Rinse and repeat.

Okay, before I go on I have to make the lawyers happy…….. again!

I am not telling you to stop going to see a health care provider for medical treatment if you are sick or injured. I am suggesting that sometimes a bit of preventive action – the right diet, rest and relaxation and creating some time to decompress can help ward off an illness. If you are ill or injured and need to seek medical treatment please do so.

Our bodies are machines. They are finely tuned machines and each part was specifically designed to do a certain task. When we add stress, worry and fear to the mix, we are asking it do something it wasn’t designed to do. It will tell us if we’ll listen. Sometimes it shouts.

It’s called developing our intuition.

Lemme share another quick story, Okay?

For years I struggled with my weight, and I was the kid that would cry at night because I weighed 145 pounds in high school and wondered why he was so skinny! I tried everything and every diet known to man. I’d have success for a few months and then balloon bigger than float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It was maddening. Mix that in with panic and anxiety disorder and it was one wild ride. Trust me.

I was at a workshop a year or so ago and I met someone who had a unique approach to health. I shared my struggle and the effect it had on my self image and she suggested that when it came to eating – Listen to your body!

It took awhile to get used to not starving or denying myself but after awhile I noticed I was feeling so much better, not only about my appearance but about myself in general. If I wanted a cookie, I ate a cookie. It wasn’t every day. My body told me what it fuel it needed to prosper. No more diet.

My body found its healthy weight and has stayed there for a year. If I get a little to crazy, my body starts to let me know and I adjust.

There is only one you (and one me) I am becoming selfish in my self care and how I treat myself. I encourage you to put you first as well.

I’ll leave you with a mantra I use with myself daily.

You deserve success. You are worth all of the effort you put into yourself. You are who you hang around with.

Namaste.

5 Things That Can Help Deal With Perfection Syndrome.

My name is John and I am a recovering perfectionist.

When something didn’t work right the first time or I made a few mistakes, I’d compare my efforts to the rest of the galaxy and decided my efforts were damaged and flawed.

In other words I’d give up. It wasn’t meant to be, at least not for me. It had to be 100% sterling silver perfect or it was never good enough.

That’s where the self judgement began.

In case you’ve never been there lemme give you the short version:

Trying to be perfect leads to stress. Stress creates anxiety. Anxiety leads to depression which leads to a wild ride of self accusation, self judgement and the notion that nothing you do, will be right, much less worthy so you might as well give up and go sit on your personalized pile of dung.

You start to develop health issues because you are asking your mind and body to do what it was meant to do on top of coping with all this other s**t you decided to throw at it for good measure. Your doctor gives you pills which lead you to having no emotion at all. But hey, at least you ain’t depressed and anxious! Right?

You feel like a fake, a fraud and a phony. You can’t find a certain part of you anatomy with a flashlight.

You try everything.

It’s very real and it can be very paralyzing and debilitating. In other words It ain’t no fun.

It dawned on me that I was fighting a forest fire with a garden hose and trying to put it out with one squirt!

Most of our break through moments are not produced in Hollywood. There is no background music, no tears or fist pumping. It sorta sneaks in unannounced. (No one yelling Yo Adrian! I did it! I did it!)

One day I am sitting on the exercise bike at my gym and the voices, suggestions and good intentions in my head were all talking to me all at once. It was deafening and maddening. It was a cavalcade of everything I was doing and was falling about an inch short of being successful. It was fourth down and inches and I didn’t make it!

I got really angry – Mostly at myself.

So much noise. So much confusion. So much insanity. I actually stopped pedaling the bike and just sat there wondering if this is what it was like to go crazy. I sat back, closed my eyes and yelled to all those voices:

“Shut the f**& up! All of you! Right now! I am so f**#ing sick of listening to this sh**!

It got really quiet inside of me.

I got really scared.

Oh s**. What have I done now?

All I could hear was clanking of weights dropping on the gym floor and the rhythmic sounds coming from the cardio equipment.

This is it! I’ve finally gone over the edge and in a few minutes they are going to come and take me away.

One voice had the courage (?) to stick around. It was gentle and soft.

It didn’t ask me to do anything more than exist. No hoops to jump through, challenges to face or other people to be.

Just be.

Perfectionist me! Just being? Yeah right!

No books to read, exercises to perform, coaches to consult. (Blog posts to write!)

Just be and breathe.

For one nano second, one frozen moment in time there was no self incrimination, no reminders of everything I’d messed up in my life. No negative voices. Just me and my breath.

There was this moment of clarity.

Since that awakening I am learning these five things:

Please note: I am not a doctor or a therapist. The things I share with you came from my own moments of self discovery, my journey and trial and error. THEY WORK FOR ME. It doesn’t mean they will work for you. In other words, don’t stop taking your meds just because I shared some crazy ass ideas that work for me! ( I still take my meds!)

There, I’ve made the lawyers happy!

I came to realize what perfection meant in my life.

It is like wearing your sweater inside out. I was trying to be perfect because I felt inadequate and broken. I felt I had to go above and beyond, just to be equal to everyone else. Every time I’d hit a road block I’d leap into self judgement mode It meant I had to work harder to catch up with all the rest of you. Guess what? I never did because I was running a race that had no finish line.

Meditation is medication for the mind and soul.

Twice each day I sit down, relax, breathe and meditate. In the morning I follow a practice that helps me set my intentions for the day. They are wrapped around the mantra Progress, not perfection. It allows me to set some boundaries and some goals for my day. When I finish I can relax and enjoy my day.

A whole lotta little things lead up to one big thing.

Creating a simple to do list for that day is a big help. You won’t find saving the world on my to do list. Being self employed I have a hat rack with a dozen hats on it. I manage it be creating a list that deals with the most pressing issues of my day day. When I am setting my intentions in the morning the meditations help me create some clarity.

In the evening I use a variation of a Shinto practice called misogi. It’s a Japanese word that means to purify. I take some time to look at my day and to see where I may have clung to a behavior or a belief that doesn’t serve me in a positive manner. I take a mental and emotional shower and before I go to sleep. I shed those negative thoughts and behaviors so I can sleep and wake with a clean slate the next day.

Follow your intuition.

For a long time I played a game you might be familiar with. The game is Monkey See, Monkey Do. If I knew people who were happy, healthy and confident following a certain practice – I’d jump in as well. It didn’t matter if the class, or book or behavior didn’t suit me. Other people had success and BTW the guru who espoused it was world renowned, owned a yacht and a plane and was scheduled to help colonize Mars.

It had to work. The Holy Grail. The Golden Ticket. The Promised Land. Right? Except when it didn’t and then it was the same old rinse and repeat. There must be something wrong with me.

I’m not throwing shade. These programs and ideas do work. They just didn’t work for me. But instead of going with my intuition and taking a pause I was so desperate to be perfect that I went along with everyone else.

I am learning that when faced with a decision, I stop, take a deep breath and listen to my soul. Is it right for me? How will I benefit from the decision?

I’m not going to lie. Old habits die hard. I’ve spent most of my life trying to prove something I didn’t have to prove in the first place. Following my intuition takes practice and I gotta tell you that I’m about 75% successful. But ya know what? Nobody’s perfect!

Talk to someone.

I walked around with a lot of this all bottled up inside of me for a long time. You’see I was different. I had to be different in order to be perfect. I could do this all on my own, until I couldn’t.

There was no moment of enlightenment that led me to my therapist. It was 100% survival mode. I was out of options. The walls were closing in. Okay, you get it right? I didn’t go kicking and screaming but once again, even in 2019, I felt like there was something wrong with me.

By this point in my life I should have all this stuff behind me.

This I can tell you, along with my meditation and learning to trust my intuition, working with a therapist to improve my mental health has been a life saver in managing my perfectionism.

My therapist is someone who can be objective. There is no emotional skein to unwind.

She speaks gently but bluntly which suits me just fine.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Health, wellness, success, call it what you will, does not happen in thirty five seconds.

I have to laugh when I get one of those emails that says Follow this plan and you’ll be earning six figures in six months! You’d be surprised at the people who’ve invested in this hokum. They are people like me. People who think we have to rush to the front of the line and prove our value and worth. In reality it takes a lifetime of learning and hard work.

If someone suggests a magic short cut RUN!!!!

I’m going to offer you a sixth reason. A bonus of sorts.

Through my entire adult journey, my wife, partner, friend and advocate Joan has always been their to support me.

I’m not gonna sit here and tell you we walk around smiling and hugging and kissing and singing all day long.

We have a pretty typical marriage. We agree on most things but not everything. We argue about really important stuff like how my driving habits scare the snot out of her sometimes and how I’m always right even when I’m not . In the end though, being with her is my safe place and everyone, perfect or not needs a safe place. To me, this is the most important point of all. I can be me, warts and all, and I know I’n never judged.

So, that’s a wrap.

Please share this post with anyone you feel may need to read it and if you feel moved to do so I’d love to hear how you manage perfection in your life. You can email me at John@NewCareerCreations.com

Until next time.

Want to know more about John and New Career Creations? You can find him at http://www.newcareercreations.com or email him at John@NewCareerCreations.com

Sometimes An Egg is Just an Egg

Lemme share a story with you.

One morning my mom was cleaning out the refrigerator. She was moving stuff around to find the ingredients to make a cake. The recipe called for two eggs. She had two eggs left in the fridge – somewhere.

As she started to back out of the fridge she dropped the eggs

Splat and splatter. (A few expletives in Polish that I didn’t understand until much later in life.)

My mom set her jaw firmly and her eyes swelled a bit and she started looking around the room. She spotted my brother a few feet away with his back turned. She took a few steps forward and swatted my brother on the butt.

Why’d ya do that for mom?

That’s for making me drop the eggs.

What eggs?

Two more swats.

We get angry and frustrated because the universe isn’t cooperating the way it should on our schedule and in our clearly defined terms.

It can’t be that our expectations are vague or murky, can it?

It surely has nothing to do with them being unrealistic, at the moment, does it?

We checked all the boxes, did our due diligence and arrived at the logical conclusion.

It ain’t our fault!

But…………………

It has to be someones fault doesn’t it? Someone must be blamed because if we start looking at our own insights and behavior……….

Okay, let’s not go there.

I dropped some eggs a few days ago myself. The more I tried to clean them up, the more I dropped until I had a whole list of people who were responsible.

“What’s in your wallet?”

Do you have to be so damned perky all the time. That’s the problem with this world – Perky people with unrealistic expectations getting in my way. Imagine a snarl or two.

Splat and splatter.

Amazing things happen when you let them happen. Deep inside of each of us there is a voice. That voice is pure and it is always honest. We call it lottsa different things depending on our belief. Some folks call it a soul. Some call it a psyche, inner guidance, consciousness or perception. However we identify this phenomenon it appears when we allow it to appear. It’s the rudder of reason or the Oh yeah! I forgot about that.

Part of my daily routine is to set an intention for that day. I get comfortable, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths and allow everything to clear out of my mind. It’s a purification of sorts. I wash a way any negative feelings I may have about something or someone. The less clutter in my life, the easier it is for me to see things the way they are.

Sorta like cleaning a dirty window to get a better view.

I’m not sure why it happened the way it happened but on that day the story of the broken eggs popped into my head. Right there in the middle of a a major OHMMMMMMMMM moment. WAS it the major Ohm moment?

My enlightenment came when I realized I was fighting mythical beasts in mythical battles – Things I could not control in my life or in this world. (I have a pretty high opinion of myself at times.) The longer and harder I fought with them, the more difficult things became until I was bewildered!

This was not how I planned my day. I immediately began to assigning blame. Of course, all of that blame was directed outwards. None of it was my fault. Messed up world!!

Where the hell did all those other beasts come from? I didn’t summon them!!

This much wisdom I can share:

In twenty years of working in my own business and as my own boss, I’ve learned that time is precious and needn’t be wasted on chasing after things we never had control over to begin with. Sometimes stuff happens. Mindfulness and our ability to roll with the flow is what toughens us and prepares for the battles we can control.

I’m learning to identify the things I can control and I’ll devote my time and energy there.

Sigmund Frieud told us that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Sometimes a broken egg is just a broken egg.

Chew on that a bit.

Namaste.

Want to know more about John and New Career Creations? You can find him at http://www.newcareercreations.com or email him at John@NewCareerCreations.com