What Now? Blog: Reinventing life, one question at a time… Who is my Inner Critic? How can I bring her out of the closet where I can deal with her?

What Now? Reinventing life with purpose

What Now? Blog: Reinventing life, one question at a time… Who is my Inner Critic? How can I bring her out of the closet where I can deal with her?

What Now? Reinventing life, one question at a time…
Who is my Inner Critic? How can I bring her out of the closet where I can deal with her?

thoughtfortoday031615We are moving right along in the What Now? program. As soon as you allow yourself to move into your imagination, and ignite the dreamer in you, something else will inevitably emerge as an expression of ego. She sits, like a stalker, and waits in the closet, cloaked in fear. It’s that voice that says: You can’t do this because… what if this happens to you? What if you fail; what if you succeed? She is the voice of the inner critic and doubter, and though she lurks in shadow, there are times she comes out with incapacitating force like a gust of wind knocking you down. The doubter brings her fierce intention to maintain the status quo and keep you in a comfort zone, which makes it impossible to move forward and live life with passion and purpose.

The question you need to ask is: Who is my inner critic and how can I bring her out the closet—out of the shadow and into the light where I can deal with her?

One thing I’ve noticed is that I have less self-doubt now at 51 than I did most of my adult life. Regret has taught me to act on my dreams despite my fears. Life has taught me that to wait is to have more regrets. The more obstacles I’ve overcome and lived my life, the more I’ve learned how resourceful, resilient and capable I am. Truth is, most of us vastly underestimate our emotional intelligence and our ability to survive the unthinkable. You are the superhero you’ve been waiting for and often it is life that initiates our super-human qualities and powers. It’s life that has us call on our faith in God, the universe, the divine… whatever your term is for something bigger than you. I’ve risen with more strength and courage than I could have possibly imagined during the times I’ve faced some rather difficult circumstances. I am far more capable than the younger, more insecure version of myself gave me credit for being.

The biggest obstacle to my dreams has always been ME. Any lack of worthiness, any time I’ve been plagued with self-doubt, self-criticism, insecurity, and comparison to others, became a vicious thought attack, stifling my ability to access inspiration. (A vampire suffocating my ability to be creative and productive.)

Years ago, I attended a workshop with Debbie Ford called the Shadow Process. It was an amazing experience. I had spent so many years focused on being positive, but when I looked deep within my thoughts I realized there was a lot of negative self-talk going on and I was acting out from those thoughts in my relationships with other women. My shadow was “being a bitch.” It was quite an exercise to walk around the workshop all weekend saying “Hello, I’m Kris, and I’m a bitch. Nice to meet you.” The premise of the exercise was to own the disowned parts of your wounded self and bring them into the light. Hence, integrating the shadow self so that she stops finding sneaky ways to sabotage relationships and better dreams.

We have tens of thousands of thoughts every day and a vast majority of them are negative. We each have an inner critic with a voice as loud as a big brass band and she can be very destructive. Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo call her your “inner mean girl,” and I want you to invite her out to play.

Hidden in the dark, your inner mean girl or boy will only bully you and keep you playing small while your self confidence all but disintegrates in the negativity. Imagine for a moment that you have a look alike doll that you carry with you and every time you think something critical about yourself or others, you hit that doll with a bat. What do you think your doll would look like by bedtime? Tattered? Frayed? Finished?

How on earth do we expect ourselves to accomplish our dreams while berating ourselves with self-depreciating and self-defeating criticism? Undo negative self-talk and learn to recognize it with clarity to bring the inner critic out of the shadows and into consciousness via your thoughts. Change your relationship with self-doubt and you will change your mind and be able to access the courage you need to move forward in your dreams.

As you learn to deepen your agreement with reality as the witness of your thoughts—as the Victor and Shero—you will become more aware of that voice that can leave you feeling inadequate and as if you’re not enough. That insecure voice of the ego is completely dismantled by awareness, presence and love. Speak to her gently and with humor. Coax her into the light where she no longer has the power to stalk you.

Here are some things to watch out for as your thoughts become clearer and you are a better witness of your negative self-talk:

  • Understand that when your mood is low, or you are fatigued, your inner critic and self-doubt will be the loudest.
  • Notice your mood, and back off from overthinking and allow your thoughts to pass like bubbles blowing in the wind.
  • Meditate or go for a walk or a run. Do yoga or just wait patiently for this time to pass.
  • Spend some time journaling. When you acknowledge her you’re taking her power away; you’re bringing her from shadow into the light. Create a conversation with your doubter in a Q & A format.
  • If she brings up fear, lean into the fear and use it as a guide.
  • Embrace those negative thoughts that you want to push away, but don’t entertain or engage deeply in a story about them. Allow them to be like bubbles floating away.
  • Realize that a well-guided inner critic can become your voice of reason and a barometer to help you complete a project or goal to the best of your ability.

It is true that we are all perfect in our imperfection just as we are. Each of us is a work in progress. Self-doubt plagued me in my youth and still surfaces from time to time today, though now she shows up in more secretive, covert ways. The difference is that I am aware of her voice and how damaging she can be to my ability to move forward and I am aware of how she can suffocate inspiration. I know that she is nothing more than a figment of my imagination. I’ve learned to use the voice of fear as a sign that I’m moving deeper into my most authentic expression—fulfilling my life’s purpose—igniting and living the dream.