All this meanness, where’s it coming from? It’s in the news, the grocery store, the roadways, the sidewalks, and (especially) social media. Putting my attention on this lately has revealed another voice of meanness: the one inside my head. It’s the inner critic, the voice that says:
- Work harder so you can prove yourself.
- Don’t be weak.
- You should know the answer to that.
- That was a stupid thing to say.
- It’s your fault.
- …and a whole lot more!
It’s a hard voice to silence. I’m sure the inner critic serves some evolutionary purpose, but damn it, it’s sneaky, and back-biting, and limiting. I want it gone! I need practical tools!
This podcast helped: Tara Mohr: Play Big and her excellent book, “Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead”
Our inner critic can keep us stuck and fearful, but our authentic voice serves our higher purpose and directs us toward growth. Even if we can’t silence the inner critic, we can differentiate it from our authentic voice, and choose to listen more to it. Here are some guidelines:
|Inner Critic||Authentic Voice|
|Runs on a loop||Solution driven|
|Not seeking a solution||Seeks data, more information|
|Working from scarcity||Works from possibility|
Once we’ve untangled the jumble of voices in our heads, it becomes easier to tune into the more helpful one. Here’s a question engages our Authentic Voice: What do I need to do or know to begin to move toward resolution? Keep repeating this question until your mind engages in solution-seeking.
Why does this matter? Our inner critic holds us back and steals our joy. We can’t be all we are meant to be if we are dominated by our inner critic. True You is withering under the constant inner assault. Of even greater importance at this time in our human journey, we must end the meanness within ourselves if we are ever to end it in the world.