Today is the day that I FINALLY sit down and begin to write about my experience with “the inner critic”. I have promised myself to begin this process for weeks (ok it’s been months!). What has held me back you ask? That nagging voice in my head that repeats “Who do you think you are?” “What makes you an expert on this topic?” “Really? Now you are a blogger?”
We know that words have power. Power to build us up or to tear us down. Negative words lead us to doubt our value, our ability, our worth. When someone praises us for a job well done, we stand a little taller and feel a little better about ourselves. In contrast, if someone criticizes us or says something hurtful to us (or about us) it stings. It sticks with us!
But what happens when we have negative beliefs or thoughts about ourselves? What happens when the inner critic chimes in and tells us that we are just not enough? We should do better, look better or be better. Science has shown that those thoughts actually create neural pathways in our brain which act like a recording set on repeat. Heard often enough and these thoughts may become our “reality”. These thoughts hold us back. We begin to believe that inner critic.
Before sitting down to write this piece, I googled “the inner critic”. It’s amazing how much information is out there. This is clearly a popular topic. Probably because we can all relate! Most of us hold ourselves to insanely high standards. How many of us can say that we only say nice things to ourselves when we look in the mirror in the morning? How many of us can say that we only affirm our abilities as a mother, wife, friend and employee? If you can and you do, please hunt me down and tell me your secret!
Recently, I arrived at the studio to teach the 6:00 am class. As I walked into the room to turn the lights and music on, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. “Holy cow! Look at the bags under your eyes! And why on earth did you pick that tight fitting top today? Look at that belly pooch!”. Oh hello, inner critic! I refer to her as that witch (with a B) in my head!As I listened to those words I had to stop for a moment and ask myself “Would you EVER say something like that to your friend, your spouse or worst of all your child?” Obviously, the answer is no! Honestly, if I heard anyone talk to my child this way, I would take them down. So why do I take it from my inner critic? Well, I’m ready to confront this chick in my head.
Authors Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo describe this voice as “the inner mean girl” in the book titled Reform Your Inner Mean Girl: 7 Steps to Stop Bullying Yourself and Start Loving Yourself. I immediately ordered the book. I’ve started reading the book. Good start right? The authors encourage the reader to start to listen to our “inner wisdom” instead of allowing the inner mean girl to run the show. There is even a quiz to help you identify your type of inner mean girl. Mine is the “good girl”. Then they offer an Inner Wisdom Kit that is available online to help you reform the inner mean girl. So far I have found the book to be relatable, useful and best of all funny.
So the next time I hear that mean girl’s voice, I will stop her and let her know that she no longer runs the show! Hit the road mean girl! I will show myself empathy, compassion and love. Let’s DO THIS!