Day 30. The Takeaway
Calming your inner critic is about engaging in a process of consciously allowing you and as a result, allowing you to be happy. Allow you. Allow your inner voice.
Your inner critic is a pattern, a backing track and a reasoning habit that has been used in a variety of situations to protect you from a bigger future pain. Patterns are what happen when you’re living unconsciously so when you become more conscious, aware and present, that breaks your habits which breaks your pattern.
Your inner voice is supportive and is based on who you truly are. Your inner critic is based on a mishmash of other people’s opinions and behaviour. With your inner voice, you have choices and with your inner critic, it wants you to stay inside the lines, conform and do as you’re told.
Your inner voice is not there to tell you what you want to hear but its motives are about you whereas your inner critic is driven by irrational fears and uses unboundaried criticism to keep you in line. It has your well-being at heart whereas your inner critic thinks that it’s trying to help you but it’s primary focus is to protect you from an imagined future pain.
Your desires and needs matter. Don’t let them go unheard and unsung.
Every day is another day in the journey of getting to know you. Check in with you regularly and ask, How am I doing today? Show you that you care.
Don’t rush so much in life that you don’t hear messages and notifications from you that you need to take care of you. Sometimes we rush around so much that we don't really take time to register what we’re doing or what is happening.
Keep journaling. Also write Unsent Letters to let out all of the pent-up feelings.
Use affirmations to interrupt negative thoughts and to also soothe younger parts of you as well as your present self.
Be your own best friend. You contain inner wisdom. Tap in to it by asking you questions and seeing what comes to mind.
Laugh compassionately at yourself as often as you can. Sometimes I think the craziest things but I know my crazy. Sometimes my inner critic says something or I realise that I’ve done something to protect me from future predicted criticism and then I laugh to myself and note what I’ve learned.
When your mind spirals out of control, learn to recognise it. You will halt the spiral quicker and quicker each time.
Your relationship with your inner critic can change. It is yours to change. You are the conscious part of this so when you change your responses you change your inner critic.
Take the noise of your inner critic as a cue to be you, to step up for you, to fight back (if you’re not standing up for yourself) and to basically assert yourself. Ask, where am I not recognising myself? Where am I tempted to not be myself? What can I do here to get back in the driving seat?
Whoever it is that has inspired your inner critic, know that their actions and thinking tells you a lot more about them than it does about you. Their intentions were misguided and some had their heart in the right place and others didn’t but you don't owe them anymore of your life or your self-esteem.
Stop trying to understand the inspiration(s) for your inner critic. It's easy to try to spend your life trying to figure out someone to the nth degree but if you've been trying to understand someone for a long time, accept what you know at this time. Stop fighting what you already know. You are coming from a different level of awareness and have a different set of morals - they don't behave that way so of course it's hard to imagine why they would say or do certain things but each time you keep trying to find more explanations, you are really looking for something that will make you feel better about blaming you in some way, but you're not to blame anyway. Even if they've blamed you, you no longer have to internalise that. You can make a rational, compassionate choice. Yes, you might know that if you, for instance, had a child who was trying their best that you would give them reinforcement but that's not who that person was but now you can be the thing that you seek and that you know represents who you are. You haven't experienced things because you provoked it or deserved it. Bad things happen to wonderful people. Forgive you. Tell you that you love you and that you're sorry and repeat as often as necessary. Don't remain tied to the negativity of that experience.
Whoever it was/is, they don't have that power anymore. They can't hurt you like they did before.
You've got you now. Be everything that you wanted people in your childhood to be for you. Only you can fill up those voids and when you start taking care of the thoughts that you feed you and the way that you treat you, you will not look for approval, attention, validation and love in the wrong places.
Being more boundaried with you is a way of not just forgiving the younger versions of you but also a way of letting go of the emotions and negative thoughts attached to previous experiences. It doesn’t mean that you won’t remember these experiences but you won’t keep holding on to the pain and feeding it, nor will you keep being unboundaried with the critics in question as a means of trying to gain validation or fill voids.
Remember that the inner critic will have something to say regardless. It has one function and that is to critique. Nothing else. If you obey it, it will criticise you and if you don’t, it will also criticise you. Stop trying to ‘win’ over or win against your critics because it will always have you putting your energy into doing stuff for the wrong reasons.
People are gonna say what they’re gonna say, do what they’re gonna do and think what they’re gonna think. The person who you need acceptance from the most is you. Once you stop criticising and judging you in certain areas, you will not be open to being hurt in those areas by others.
Be specific. Rebuttal with an example. No more generalisations about you whether they’re coming direct from you or from your inner critic. Question those judgments. Instead of riding with, “You’re useless”, now it’s got to be, “Whoa! That’s not very kind or constructive. Be specific. What am I useless about?” In real life, if you go to someone and say, “You never…” or “You always”, not only is it guaranteed to get their back up because they feel judged and attacked, but it’s a generalisation that lacks responsibility so they know that they’re being blamed plus, all they need to do is give one example and it blows a hole in your argument. Find your one example with your critic and do not accept anymore generalisations about you.
Don’t hang out with people that leave you feeling bad, whether it’s because they’re having a pop at you, they’re draining your energy, or you’re criticising you in response to spending time them. They’re just not that special. No one is that it warrants you remaining in soul sucking situations or you decimating your sense of self.
Forgive you for what you didn't know. You are human and not only do you err but you’re supposed to. That’s what this journey is all about— growing through your experiences and finding your way back to you. You end up learning some core positive messages as part of your journey that are about you understanding your journey was about and also about helping you to find your purpose.
Your journey is your journey. Nobody can take that from you anymore unless you give them the power to do so. No matter how much someone tries to put their input into how they think that you should be living your journey, the only journey they truly need to concern themselves with is their own. If they’ve missed out on certain things, if they haven’t liked what they’ve been and done, they can heal and grow from that through investing their time, energy and emotion into themselves, not through using displaced anger, frustration and sadness to try to micro manage you or cut you down.
When you are more emotionally, mentally and physically boundaried with you by taking care of the thoughts that you feed you and the way that you treat you, no one will be able to come along and destroy your inner peace. It doesn’t mean that people will not quite frankly, p-ss you off at times and hurt you but you will not spend as long being down because you are no longer judging based on a perspective gained from someone else’s lack of awareness or bad behaviour.
If you want to feel better about you, you’ve got to stop catering to the critics and start living your life with integrity, intention and most of all, love, care, trust and respect. If I lived my life based on everything that has been said to me whether it was criticism or feedback, I’d be paralysed in confusion.
Don’t try to make friends with or appease bullies in your day-to-day life. It’s a gradual crushing of your soul. Recognise a critical, insecure person for who they are and when the temptation to try to appeal to them strikes, ask yourself, what am I looking for from this person that I need to be giving to myself?
Stop worrying so much about hurting other people’s feelings. This is the fastest route to ensure that you silence you when you need to speak up and you don’t act when you need to step up. Most people prefer to know where they stand even if in the immediacy of hearing what you have to say, they feel uncomfortable. That discomfort is OK. You can be conscientious without taking responsibility for other people’s feelings. Yes, sometimes words will fail but this is part of the human experience and being open to hearing not just your own words but what others have to say too. So yes, you will not always use the “right” words but when you come from a place of love, care, trust and respect, you can be sure that your intentions are in the right place and that you can clarify whatever it is that you need to say.
So yes, have your say. Stop trying to act as if you’re not supposed to take up room! Occupy your life - lean in to it. Stop looking for permission.
Remove any hidden agendas. One of the reasons why people who have an overactive inner critic don’t stake their claim and speak up when things don’t feel good to them is that they hope on some level that if they stay silent that the other party will remember to give them a free pass next time they’re thinking about letting them know their feelings and position. Not.gonna.happen.
Don’t take the easy way out. If you’re in a situation where you’re tempted not to “make waves” or you worry about “making a scene”, odds are, you are on the verge of not being boundaried and opening you up to self-criticism. If you are not comfortable with the direction that things are headed in, if it feels as if a person is crossing your line, let them know that you are not comfortable. If they take issue with that, opt out of the situation - no one, including your inner critic, gets to tell you what your comfort levels are or should be.
Knowing when you’re in the wrong, admitting when you’ve made a mistake and owning up to what you don’t know, give you a distinct advantage over an inappropriate outer and inner critic who lack self-awareness. You then have nothing to fear because you know your own stuff and are growing out of it.
Focus on problem solving not just talking about problems. If you find yourself around somebody that only wants to complain and criticise, opt out.
Stop over-apologising. If you have genuinely committed a wrongdoing, apologise then but stop apologising for breathing and stop apologising for being you. Do not litter your sentences and explanations with sorry because it negates or waters down what you’re saying, and gives people the impression that they’re an authority over you or that you don’t respect you.
Hold your hand through life. Be there for you. Don’t bail on you when the going gets tough. When you stand by you through all weathers, no one will be able to come along and do less for you than what you can already do for yourself. Be the light and commit to treating you with love, care, trust and respect.
JOURNALING: How do you feel now that you've reached the 30th day in this project? What have you learned about you? What do you finally understand about past experiences that you've used to judge you? What do you feel braver about? Do you feel more connected to you and your feelings? How does that feel? What have you noticed about you over the last few weeks - what happens when you inner critic strikes? What does your inner voice sound like? What does it feel like to be making friends with and almost 'dating' you? What's your biggest takeaway from this experience?
TASK: Make a plan for you. Use one page in your journal and write down a few ideas about how you're going to take your work forward. What are you going to do for you? Are there any loose ends in your life that you need to tie up? Do you need to make any decisions? Are there people you want to get closer to or people that you want to put some distance in between you? How will you stretch you out of your comfort zone?