Let’s face it. There are parts of yourself that you do not like. It could be things you did in the past, or certain choices you made (or didn’t!), or a body part. Whatever it is, you tend to feel “wrong”. In psychology, we call this the Inner Critic, also known as the Judge. When the Judge speaks you feel like you’re Bad (insert your name). Not good.
So here is what I would like you to think about and do, the next time you meet up with your Inner Critic.
1-Say Hello. Yes, that’s right…say “hello” to your Inner Critic. It’ll throw him off. It will also tell your conscious mind that you know the Inner Critic is talking, and only he (so we can call upon Wisdom or Self Love later).
“Hello. Excuse me, Critic. C’mon in. How are you today? I see you have something to say about the choice I made. Tell me everything! I really want to know. Mhmmm. Ok. That’s all? Ah…yes, that too. Thank you for your concern. Can I get you something to drink? (I’m a WASP).
2-Write down what he said. The Inner Critic is clever. He’ll make you think it’s really you thinking all these degrading, miserable thoughts. You find yourself saying, “I AM a failure. I AM not a good mother, I AM gross, bad, pathetic, fat, _______(go on, fill in the blank).
Excuse Me, but You’re OK
The Truth, capital T truth, is that it is not ALL of you speaking, just one part of you. The capital T truth is that you’re ok. You may be even great, but let’s start at ok. You’ve done some good things, been funny, and at least your earlobes are cute. So take a deep breath.
Write down what the Inner Critic is saying, but use the word YOU instead of I. (e.g. “I am a failure” becomes “YOU are a failure”).
3-Is it true? Is it 100% true? This is the famous Inquiry by Byron Katie. I love this question because I love reality, and reality will always show me the Truth.
Chances are you may “feel” like a failure, but in reality YOU are NOT. Whatever you are dealing with, you’ve arrived there because you can create. You’ve actually succeeded thus far. So the answer is, it’s not 100% true.
4-How do you feel when you think that thought? I’m sure the answer is “miserable”. Take a moment and write down exactly how YOU feel.
5-How would you feel, or who would you be, if you did not have that thought? You might feel neutral, or you might feel lighter. Often people say they feel “more free”. Write down your answer. This is an interesting question because the question indicates that you are the creator of your thoughts. When you begin to understand that this is true, you will not hear from the Inner Critic much longer.
6-Turn the thought around. This is the tricky part. For the sake of this article, I’ll use an example. (If you’re stuck, send me an email.) The original thought is “You are a failure.” One “turnaround” might be “You are NOT a failure”. Is that MORE true? Take an honest look at your life. Have you succeeded in some areas? I’m guessing you have. The problem is that you are focused on this ONE thing.
Another “turnaround” I like is replacing YOU with MY THINKING. For example, “My thinking is a failure.” Now that IS MORE TRUE! Bingo!
7-Take action on what is MORE TRUE. In this case, you can take a moment to remember the times when you have succeeded. OR, if it’s your thinking that is off, start by making a commitment to look at your “thinking” before you let the Inner Critic talk to you. My BEST ADVICE here is for you to start focusing on what you do well, and what makes YOU FEEL BETTER. As I always say to you, when you feel better, you make better choices, and when you make better choices, you are closer to what you desire.
So back to the subject line. You can now end your conversation with your Inner Critic by saying, “Excuse me, you’re in my way!”