Let's talk about the inner critic.
We've all got one, but some can be especially cruel.
Mine certainly was.
The inner abuse went on for years.
No one will ever love you
You can't do anything right
You're so fucking stupid
With real-life bullies you can call for help. Or fight back. Or strike up a deal.
But when the bully's in your head? Ooof! It can feel like a life-sentence with an abusive cellmate.
It doesn't have to be this way!
Most of my clients are stuck in a hateful relationship with their inner critic. There's a lot of arguing with it and shouting back.
Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
By the time they come to me for help, they're exhausted from the inner battle with THEMSELVES.
So, I encourage them to take a radical approach.
I have them THANK the critic everytime it appears.
Why? Because the critic truly wants us to succeed. It thinks if it criticizes and shames us, we'll take action and avoid the pain of failure.
The critic doesn't say, "I care about you. I don't want you to be judged. I don't want you to be laughed at. I want you to be healthy. I want you to feel good about yourself."
It says, You hideous fat slob. You're so lazy. No one will ever want to be with you.
Its screwy method of motivation is really an echo from an old style of governing. You know the kind—where rulers persuaded others through terror, brutality, punishment and shame.
Parents of the past adopted this method because it got results. And they passed it on from generation to generation.
We now understand the high cost of these control strategies, yet remnants still remain in our collective psyche.
Your inner critic is one of those remnants.
It uses criticism in a backwards attempt to HELP because it doesn't know a better way. But it can learn! So THANK IT for caring about you (because it does) then step in as the NURTURING parent and model a healthier option. Teach it that love doesn't shame. Show it how encouragement and guidance can lead to a healthier, more sustainable form of success.
Bullies (of any kind), need to learn about BOUNDARIES. So you'll need to start setting them.
This is what it looks like:
"Thank you for caring so much about me. I know you're trying your best to motivate me through shame and criticism. Thank you for loving me so much, but that's not the way we do things here. Watch me. I'll show you how it's done."
Every time you meet the critic in this way—as a true leader intent on bringing harmony to the inner division—you heal the generational pain of the past.
That's how you'll transform that harsh voice in your head.
When you're bullied by your thoughts, give the inner critic what every bully needs the most.
Boundaries, understanding, gratitude, and LOVE.
Sending you so much love,