Your inner critic can be one nasty biotch sometimes. She’s constantly reminding you of all the ways you’re not good enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. Not thin enough. Not successful enough. Not worthy enough. Not loveable enough. Not enough period.
For many years I let her rule my life. She was driving the car and I was just along for the ride. She was angry, critical, judgmental, anxious, pissed, hurt, disappointed, but most of all she was afraid.
She was afraid that she wasn’t good enough and she was trying to protect me. So I kept living my life according to the belief that “I’m not good enough”. I kept myself small and hid in the background. I didn’t speak my truth because I didn’t believe I had anything worth saying. I didn’t live my life authentically because every time I would try her voice would get louder and louder until I couldn’t ignore her. I would retreat back into old patterns that kept me safe. Or at least I thought they were keeping me safe.
But eventually, I got tired of her. I got tired of her always telling me that I wasn’t good enough. I got tired of not living my life the way I wanted to. I knew I couldn’t get rid of her entirely, but I wanted to figure out how to coexist peacefully.
It’s important that you understand that she will never go away. She is a part of you. The key is to learn to live with her and love her in the most compassionate way possible. For me, it all changed when I decided to shift my perspective from “why is she doing this to me” to “how can I help her be less afraid”.
The only way to do that is to be as compassionate, patient and to love her as much as I could.
Her only job is to try to keep you safe. Or at least that’s what she thinks she’s doing. Instead of being angry with her, remind her that she is safe, loved and okay, she will begin to relax and quiet down.
Start to become aware of where these fears stem from. Think back to the first time someone told you you weren’t _____ enough. Or you heard someone saying ______, so it made you believe _______. Or the first time you didn’t feel _____ enough.
These memories tend to get stuck in our subconscious minds and over the years turn into belief systems. We believe we’re not smart enough because a teacher said something about our grades in front of the whole class. We believe we’re not pretty enough because we weren’t one of the popular girls in school. We believe that we’re not thin enough because our mom was constantly criticizing her own body. We believe we’re not worthy enough because our dad left us.
The belief systems we have don’t just come from nowhere. They originated from somewhere. So start to become aware of where they stem from by journaling. Do some role-playing. Ask your inner child the age when this event happened) what they need to hear. Ask them how they felt. Show them love and compassion and remind them that they are safe.
Our inner critics are like small children who are having tantrums because they feel unsafe and afraid. So talk to your inner critic how you would a small child. Reassure them that they are ok and watch your inner critic slide on over to the passenger seat while you take the wheel back to your life.