Inner, The Critical Zone

Who is your worst enemy? Do you actually believe this person resides outside of you? Have you forgot about the inner voice that loves nothing more than to sabotage your efforts by providing an endless stream of criticism and off-the-cuff remarks about your worthiness? Oh, you still don’t know what I am talking about? You know, that annoying voice of your parent or some other authority figure that lives inside of you and loves pointing out all of your past failures, apparent short-comings, and therefore your general unworthiness of receiving anything good in your life until you fix all of the things that are wrong with you. Yeah, that voice.  Welcome to land of fear that shows up as false beliefs. This is the home of your inner-critic and we all have one.

It seems that a distinguishing trait of the inner critic is to focus on some form of fear, and it repeats the same narrative over and over again. My critic has many lines it tries to force-feed me, but its favorite attack line is: you can’t have what you really want. You must settle like everyone else! Where did I pick this false belief? Maybe my mother who was projecting her fears about life onto me when I was kid. I am not sure, but the point is, I accepted this and many other false beliefs as true. At times, I felt ambivalent about going after what I really wanted and I missed out on some opportunities in my life, because I allowed myself to be held back by the constant chatter of the enemy within. I didn’t think about where my negative beliefs came from or discerning if the statements were actually true.  I just let the narrative play over and over again in my head unchecked.

The Way Out

One of the most effective ways I have found to silence the voice of my inner critic is to question if there is any truth to what it is saying to me. I find it helpful to think of experiences I have had in the past that contradict what it is telling me.  For example, I have had many experiences in my life where I did get exactly what I wanted even though my inner critic loves to tell me this is not a possibility for me. I can shut her down with “the facts”, but on occasion she will resurface again to evoke fear and doubt about what I am capable of doing, especially when attempting something new. In those moments I remind myself of past journeys I have taken into the unknown that turned out well.

And if all of the above fails, I repeat particular affirmations to myself like the following: I am worthy, I am capable, and I am enough. I have found them to be effective in directing my thoughts to creating new possibilities for my life in a space of love rather than fear. Remember, the critic cannot live in a space of expansion and possibility because it is all about constriction, lack, and general fear of the unknown. If you find your inner critic invading your thoughts, see if you can’t silence him or her down by using one of the above techniques.

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