Letting Go of Your Inner-Critic
Welcome to my first blog post. I thought long and hard about what I might share today to get things going. The goal to write something helpful to another person is a daunting one. Each of us has a story, it is precious, and it includes times of living with ease, times of difficulty and times of suffering. Each story, like each person, is unique. Whether or not we feel like we’ve always lived our story well, it is ours and we can honour it. It is through my blog that I will try to share bits of my story, in hopes that my experience will help you with yours.
I used to spend a lot of time suffering with thoughts that there was something wrong with me and that others had their lives together, so I often felt full of shame. I would compare my deepest criticisms of myself to my view of others and it was painful. My critical self would tell me “you’re not good enough” or “people don’t like you”; I would feel alone in a room full of people, always on the outside looking in. When I allowed these thoughts to dictate my actions, I struggled to speak to others. On the days the critic was ruling my behaviour, I would describe myself as “shy”, however, this was not always how I was perceived. I remember being told that my quiet presence came across as disinterest and people thought I was a snob. I was shocked to learn people thought that of me as it was the furthest thing from the truth. The truth was that my inner critic had silenced me, my own thoughts stopped me from living the life I was most interested in living; a life of sharing and laughing with others.
One gift that I have received through living my story, through my work on myself and my work with others is that we all have our struggles and it is through those struggles that we grow the most. Coming to understand that the inner critic is common for people was enlightening. I could hear the critic and decide whether the thoughts were helpful or unhelpful. I could look at what the critic was telling me, to determine if I had to do something different or if the critic was actually causing harm. The critic can be harsh; it can tell us horrible untruths and if we let those untruths take over, we can spiral into the depths of suffering. Even if the critic is telling the truth, we can look at what it is saying, decide if there is something within our control that we can do to change things and change it. If we decide that there is nothing to be changed, we can let go of the critic and take steps toward the life we want to live and the person we want to be. Is this easy? Not even a little bit, but it is here, no matter what life throws at us, where we find our power.