If I could sum my 2022 up (so far) in a single word it would be healing.
The really deep kind that you have to trudge through but you just know will be so worth it. Also that kind that makes you think, “can we be done with this yet?!”
And all my healing seems to come back to my inner critic.
You know who I’m talking about?
That inner voice that tells us that we can’t do it, aren’t good enough, should stay small, or some other judgmental jargon.
Here’s one thing I’ve learned: the inner critic is a lot of things, but creative isn’t one of them.
I bet if you wrote down everything you heard your inner critic (or “inner mean girl” or whatever you prefer to call this voice inside) say, that you could boil it down to a core theme or two.
For me, my inner critic loves the theme of:
“YOU DID SOMETHING WRONG.”
In this moment, something really amazing is happening…
I can choose to believe my inner critic, taking her words as TRUTH:
Oh shit! I did something wrong and now someone is going to be mad at me or reject me or make fun of me or leave me forever.
Or, I can choose to hear her accusation as an invitation to really see her.
I’ve had to stare this part of me in the face a million times this year, while she tells me over and over again: You did something wrong.
I’ve made the conscious choice to be with her and hold her.
I’ve chosen to deeply understand her positive intention (because YES our inner critic always has a positive intent).
I’ve asked her: what are you afraid of? What do you deeply desire? What do you need?
And, I’ve learned so much about this part of me. The part that wants to keep me safe. The part that is afraid of abandonment. The part that’s terrified of feeling shame and rejection. The part that wants to feel accepted, connected. The part that deeply desires to be loved.
She is me. Holding her means I’m willing to hold myself — all of myself.
I’ve chosen to love her (not to love what she says, but to love who she is beneath the hurt and fear and panic).
And, something really cool that I’ve learned this year is that my very uncreative inner critic can help me connect more deeply with my authentic self.
Because when I hear her saying that same-old-thing…
Rather than letting it send me down a self-sabotaging-spiral…
I can let it be an alarm clock telling me to wake up to the whole me.
HELLO! There I am!
Not just the parts of me that I want the world to see or the parts of me that get celebrated by society, but all of me. The whole person.
I can offer compassion to the part of me that feels terrified of rejection. I can reflect on a situation with honesty. I can move forward aligned with my values, bringing all of me along for the journey — guided by my inner mother (this is what I like to call the intuitive, compassionate part of myself) while she holds my inner critic, who is ultimately just trying to protect my inner child.
THE WHOLE GANG IS HERE!!!
It’s been so healing.
If you’re ready to let your inner critic help you connect with your authentic self, here’s my process:
- Identify your inner critic’s core theme(s)
- When you hear those themes come up, remember that you don’t have to hear the words as truth! You can hear them as an invitation to be with this part of you
- Be curious with your inner critic: What’s your positive intention? What are you afraid of? What do you deeply desire? What do you need?
- Bring this part of you along for your journey, holding her while letting your Strong Inner Mama (or whatever you love to call this intuitive, compassionate part of yourself) lead the way
It’s a life-changing practice, I promise you.
Send the WHOLE you big hugs.