"You are such a fool!" (smirk)
"How can you make such stupid mistakes!" (eyes rolling in disbelief)
"Oh no! You messed it up again" (groan!)
"You are just not good enough! Try harder next time!" ( shaking head in disappointment)
On & On it goes, this voice in your head almost as if there was another person who lived in there, forever critical, forever judgmental and making you feel completely inadequate.
Say hello to "The Inner Critic" - the voice in your head which is constantly telling you that you should be something other than who you are, must be more focused, more energetic, more happy, more successful, more empathetic, more organized, more loving..more...more...more...!
The list is endless and it puts immense pressure on your shoulders. Sometimes you wonder if you will ever be good enough to meet your own standards of perfection. Your mind is never at peace. God alone knows what this stress to live up to some invisible and elusive standard is doing to your body! One thing is certain though...it is robbing you of your natural state of joy.
Well, here's the good news! This Voice - this inner critic, though inside your head, does not belong to you, really not. What, you don't believe me? But, you must! It is, in all likelihood, the voice of conditioning that you (and all of us)have received from the moment you were born.
Here are two common examples
1. "Girls are not as good as boys" If you are a woman, chances are this may have been the first message you received as a little girl, directly or subtly. It hurt! You set out to prove them all wrong. Today, you are a strong, multi tasking successful business executive who is a Super Achiever always seeking new challenges. Great! But are you also running an endless race with an invisible competitor, which makes you breathless?
2. "Oh you got 8 out of 10, where did you lose 2 marks?" As children this is a very common refrain in our culture, eh? Sometimes accompanied with glaring eyes! It hurts! Any wonder then that when the little child grows up to be an adult holding an important role in a big organization, successful by all standards of the material world, he still finds himself unable to relax?
Please don't get me wrong! I am, by no means, against the pursuit of human excellence and achievement. I have, however, personally experienced how an all-consuming voice can push you even when there is no need, almost hijacking your life.
When we deeply understand the genesis of our own Inner Critic in early childhood (it is different for different people), we can begin be aware and distance ourselves from that critical voice. That diminishes its hold on our mind and our life! We can slowly take charge and make conscious choices about how much we need to be and do. And we can learn to love ourselves, irrespective. Once, that happens, we become more accepting of our loved ones as well and a beautiful ripple of joy starts to take shape!
Here's a simple exercise:
Next time you are pulling yourself down, berating yourself over some unaccomplished task, stop!
Ask yourself, "where did I first hear these words"? Take a few deep breaths. Say the following affirmations:
"All is well in my world"
"I deeply and completely love and accept myself"
And give yourself a tight hug :)
Cheers to the Awesomeness in You!
Here's a link to our upcoming Inner Transformation workshop that helps you discover more about the conditioned patterns of thinking you carry and move to a space of love, joy and peace.
Joy & Abundance