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Day 29. What if I calm my inner critic and I become complacent? (You won’t!)


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When your inner critic has been running the show for a long time, you can almost wonder who you will be without them playing their dominant role, to the point where there can be a concern that calming down your inner critic will make you complacent— that you won’t want to evolve, grow, or even change where necessary and that you won’t hold you to any level of standard.

The inner critic’s chatter has likely in some way contributed to you trying very hard or even excelling in certain areas so it’s very possible that your inner critic is associated with motivating you but what you have to recognise is that you’ve been ‘motivated’ from the wrong place and at quite a large cost - emotional, mental and physical health as well as the perception of your capabilities and opportunities because it pushes your stress levels through the roof.

It’s important in life to do things for the right reasons and to be honest about your motivations so that hidden agendas are removed and also that you’re in alignment with who you say that you are as well as your intentions and direction for life.

Just like saying what you don’t want to experience in a relationship is very different to talking about what you do want, being motivated to do something as a means of appeasing your critic (inner or outer) or to prove them wrong is very different to doing something because you want and need to and it’s ultimately who you are.

Many people who have used the inner critic for motivation instead of balancing that against their true self and inner voice, are in jobs, careers, marriages and even hobbies for the wrong reasons.

Why do you need to at best berate and critique you and at worst, torture you into putting out a good effort?

The very handy thing about the inner critic (when it’s in its place) and you are more connected to your inner voice is that its arrival in your head can be used as a trigger for introspection and growth. It does want to keep you on the straight and narrow, albeit from an irrational fears based place but what you can use its presence as is a prompt to compassionately dig deeper in to your decisions.

  • Am I considering everything that I need to?
  • What am I pretending not to already know?
  • What have I already done that I am not acknowledging yet?
  • Am I contemplating doing something that would have me treating me with less than love, care, trust and respect?
  • Am I avoiding something in the short-term or pursuing a short-term reward [because short-term thinking always leads to selling me short]?
  • What can I learn here?

Having more of an ongoing and honest dialogue with you makes for more of a conscious connection to you and helps you to build a more compassionate relationship with you and your inner voice. You become the dominant voice.

The great thing about your relationship with you is that you’re in control of it. You can make it a loving one or a not so loving one but unlike everyone else, you get to influence the thoughts, feelings and responses.

So ironically, what you may feel is ‘complacency’ is you making the switch from being enemy or quiet, near smothered passenger in your life, to being your own best friend and in command of you.

This whole, I won’t be motivated if my inner critic isn’t in the driving seat, thang is bullsh-t. You’re not truly motivated now to live and love with your self-esteem in tow. If your inner critic remains boss, sure, you might be on the hamster wheel constantly but you won’t like and accept you.

You do not need to be punished and mistreated in order to grow.

Not liking you, not accepting you aka rejecting you, is not going to inspire you to be a better person and in fact, you become complacent because you have no self-esteem left to grow with! If you’re waiting for that point where you hate yourself so much that you feel ‘inspired’, don’t bother – it won’t make you change; it’ll make you give up, curl into a ball or latch onto the nearest assclown!

Accept who you are NOW as in right now in the present. This doesn’t mean that you cannot evolve and address any areas of work, but get to know and accept you so that how you feel about you stops being conditional on external conditions or how the wind changes within.

Every single person on this planet is flawed so there is no point judging you for something that everyone is and has. You entered the world being good enough - your perception of you in relation to experiences as well as your beliefs, is what became a conscious choice to see you as less than. You entered the world good enough and you will still be good enough when you pass on so it’s how you want to interpret the messages of the world that makes a difference in between.

There is no longer any need to keep defining and even berating you by virtue of your background, appearance, mistakes or anything else that has gone by. You are enough.

While unhappiness has been a prompt for me to look within, deep, lasting, loving evolvement and change has come from me compassionately responding to whatever it is that I don’t like about something.

Complacency comes in more than one guise, i.e. it’s not always about being ‘smug’ about yourself and not opening you up to any self-evaluation or change.

If you hang onto this idea that you’re not good enough or lovable, that it’s ‘too late’, that your inner critic (or outer critic) is “right”etc., THAT is what complacency looks like. It’s the lazy option because the alternative is action. Sticking with the former way of thinking will limit you and keep you in an uncomfortable comfort zone. Yep, your inner critic.

You have far more room for growth and joy outside of the confines of the limitations of your inner critic’s imagination.

If you keep judging you, ruminating, running you down and not challenging it and essentially defaulting to a line of thinking and behaviour that dislikes you and blames you, THAT is what complacency looks like.

Accepting who you are is not about being complacent. It is about appreciation, acknowledgement, care, love, trust and respect of who you are as a person now, being honest about your strengths and weaknesses and learning as you go so that you can grow and evolve. It is difficult to change if you don’t accept who you are in the first place and who you are is not some awful person so you must start to appreciate you and appreciate your life. Rejection starts at home hence if you want to reduce the amount of rejection in your life you can start by not rejecting you first.

HANDY TIP: When your inner critic says that something isn’t “good enough”, drop the bar a bit. Remember that it’s instinctive, pattern noise, not a true conscious critique. As yours is now a conscious response, it helps you to take command of this part of you by helping to set your own standards to something more rational, which at the same time acknowledges that the inner critic is not rational so you help to bring it in to line.

JOURNALING: Has your inner critic been a motivator for you to be and do certain things? What are they? What type of person does it motivate you to be? Can you see another type of person that you are that will allow you to still be motivated? For instance, you might be motivated to be very diligent but what you really want to motivate you to be is creative, to suggest ideas, to be someone who lifts their head above the parapet.   It’s not that being diligent is bad but it’s not where your best self lies. You can be conscientious and be other things too.

 

TASK: Have you had an ideas that you’ve shut down because they weren’t within your inner critic’s remit? What have you written off as not being possible for you that you could dare to pursue now?

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