Quick - without stopping to think - what is your inner critic saying to you RIGHT NOW?
CHALLENGE: Stop what you're doing, grab a pen and a piece of paper and try this. It will take you all of a minute and you might be surprised.
1. Set your timer for one minute, but don't start it yet.
2. At the top of your paper write: "Internal Critic: You have permission to speak freely."
3. Start the timer and let your pen write down everything the critic is saying to you. Keep the pen moving without stopping to think.
(Did you do the thing? No? I understand. If you're at all like me, you're busy. You're saying, "yeah, yeah. Who has time for stupid exercises? I'll get the gist by just reading."
But you won't. You'll get information, but you won't get the information that's hiding in your subconscious, and that is really important shit. If you really can't do the thing now, promise yourself you'll do it later.)
After you've let the Critic have the floor, add something like this at the bottom of your page:
I hear you. Thank you for sharing. Now please go do some yoga and, for the love of all things holy, chill out.
The hearts are important, because the Inner Critic is really part of YOU. War with your self defeats the purpose and wastes energy. If you can't feel love (the kind you might summon up for a fractious toddler) you can act as if. If you really listen, you may find that the Critic wants you to be safe and not get hurt, so it is eternally trying to shut you down and keep you small. So thank it for the feedback, pat it on the head, and send it off to the spa.
Even though it is usually well intentioned, the Inner Critic is seriously misinformed and often behind the times. You know what mine told me this week?
"You're lazy," it said. For a minute I bought in.
"Yeah, I know. I'm lazy." Heavy, sad sigh.
And then the cognitive dissonance kicked in. Wait. What?
I work a day job, run a coaching business, write books, take classes, and do a reasonable share of the household chores. I'm not exactly sitting around twiddling my thumbs. And yet, harbored in my subconscious, even after years of work on this sort of thing, there was this random, completely inaccurate belief.
I actually laughed out loud, (a real one, not an online LOL). And then I said to my critic, "You're delusional, my friend. Not sure where that one came from, but I'm not buying it. Not any more. Maybe I could be more productive or focused or make better use of my time. Lazy? I don't think so."
The belief has tried to sneak back in a couple of times, but I'm watching for it now and just shoo it away. When it goes, it takes with a bunch of guilt boogey men that have been hanging around.
Complete the Challenge
(I know. I told you this would only take one minute. But you can do this part of the challenge in your head while you drive or do dishes or shower or whatever, so it doesn't count on the clock.)
Pick one of the negative things your critic said to you and explore it a little. Try to look at it in a friendly, detached sort of way.. Is it true? What evidence supports the truth of it? Is there evidence against it? If you were presenting this negative statement to an impartial judge, would there be enough evidence for a conviction?
Can you put a spin on it? Think of it differently? Does it have a positive side?
Laziness, for example, could be spun as an ability to relax, to slow down, to enjoy the luxuries and pleasures of life instead of racing the clock. See how it becomes a virtue instead of a fault?
What purpose does this attribute serve in your life? If it isn't working for you, can you change one small thing--just a little tweak--that would make it into a quality that helps you?
As always, I'd love to hear how any of this works for you! Comment below, or email me.