Joyce buried her face in her hands, wondering how to stop the constant criticism she heard inside her head.
The harsh, loud, critical voice of her inner critic was relentless.
For Joyce, like most of us, she has two voices in her head:
–The calm, quiet, confident voice
–And the negative, loud critical voice
But her negative one that we call the “inner critic” seemed to be working overtime, especially about her photography.
It was constantly shouting at her that her photographs were trash, she had no talent and that everyone was better than her.
She was tired of trying to ignore the inner critic, telling herself she didn’t have to listen to it…
But she couldn’t help but listen.
When Joyce realized she had been holding back showing her photographs, not signing up for art shows and “forgetting” to let people know about her upcoming exhibit and not going for what she wanted all because she was believing the constant negative chatter in her head…
She felt overwhelmed and saw that she couldn’t silence this voice on her own so she contacted us for a new perspective.
Michael Singer tells a great story in his book The Untethered Soul comparing your inner critic to someone sitting in the back seat of your car yelling at you, berating you and bringing up all the negative things it can think of the whole time you’re driving.
This “backseat driver” is not only giving you unwanted directions but they’re also making you wrong at every turn.
In his book, Singer suggests that if you had a real person sitting in the back seat treating you the way your “inner critic” treats you, you’d probably kick this person out of the car the first chance you had.
He makes the point that we wouldn’t put up with this for very long so why do we believe and put up with this blaming, mean voice inside?
As the two of us talked with Joyce, instead of trying to silence that voice, we suggested she slow down and listen more objectively to what it was saying.
As she did, she saw how the negative, limiting self-talk created ever-present fear that she wasn’t good enough.
When we suggested that that wasn’t who she truly was, she was skeptical.
When we invited her to look more deeply underneath what the inner critic had been saying and her stories about that…
She was surprised to see the caring, loving person she really was inside and her real desire to create art and share it with the world.
When she slowed down, Joyce saw the payoff she got from believing the critical voice and staying small.
She saw there was safety and security in believing what the inner critic told her.
This voice gave her permission to not go after her dream and stay “safe”–avoiding any possible criticism from the outside world.
As Joyce talked, a glimmer of the idea began to dawn on her that she really had a choice.
She had a choice whether to believe the inner critic and stay small or to focus on what she really wanted–to show and sell her photographs, as well as add to show the beauty of this world.
As you see that this inner critic is really made of smoke and is a mirage…
You can make the choice to allow it to fade into the background of your awareness and disappear.
How about you?
Do you have an inner critic?
Do you like it being there?
Is your inner critic ruling your life way more than you’d like?
Do you wish you could just have some inner peace and find a way to let your positive thoughts shine through more of the time?
*IF* and *When* you see the negative thoughts for what they truly are…
Just thoughts in the moment you’re believing and making real…
Your love and your light will shine more of the time and life just keeps getting better.