Leave your critic at the door, I once heard a writing instructor say. I love that idea. For most of us, our critics and/or judges are alive and well. They keep us in a place of self-doubt and many times support a core belief we have about ourselves. For instance, a belief that we are not good enough, that we are unlovable, that we are not smart, etc. I had a client do a collage once of her internal critic. Her collage ended up being an entire committee that each reacted differently to her depending on what the issue was she was dealing with. For instance, there was an image of "there you go again making another mistake," in other words, the voice of shame. There was the image of imperfection, the doubting Thomas, the list went on and on. Some of the images, she realized, only came to light because of doing the collage.
I really encourage clients to listen to how they speak to themselves. It is amazing how we are programmed from a young age to relate to ourselves. Very rarely to do we use a loving supportive voice with ourselves. We choose instead to beat ourselves up any chance we get. We doubt ourselves, we look for imperfections, if there are such things, we dwell on what we view as our faults rather than our amazing abilities and strengths.
The next time you find yourself choosing to beat yourself up or doubt yourself, STOP. You might have to actually say that to yourself...STOP. Really listen to this voice. Try to grasp an image of this voice and if you wish, put it down on paper anyway you wish. Give it a name. Be curious about this voice and know that at one point in your life it might have served a purpose. Maybe as a kid when you were being criticized, it kept you agreeing rather than disagreeing with the instigator thereby avoiding conflict. AND, know that you now have a choice about how you speak and relate to yourself? You do not have to buy into its criticism!
Try a little bit of kindness!
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