Meet every thought, person, and situation you encounter today with the spirit of a child at play.
— Dawson Church
I read this article this week that said “you need to shut up your inner critic.” I thought to myself, first - “how harsh!” Then I thought how convenient that sounds - just make all the negativity just disappear as if it never existed. Truth be told, those little voices exist in us for a reason. I belong to an amazing tribe, in this women’s group, we openly discuss the fact that we have inner whisperings, inner voices that may seem as though they are talking to us albeit a bit forcefully and negatively at times, and while I might instinctively want to “shut her up“ I have found that it has been much more effective for me to pay attention to her. I’ve begun to ask myself some questions. Why is that voice speaking so harshly to me in the first place? What is she trying to tell me? What is she trying to protect me from? I have an amazing mentor, who I have discussed this with many times. While my voice may rush in to tell me not to begin jumping towards that next big project, I hear the voice saying “See, you might totally fall on your face.” she reminds me that this voice is actually loving and protecting me and may be saying “I’m afraid you’re going to get hurt and I just want you to be safe.“ If we learn to listen to the inner voice and rather than see it as the enemy, simply have a dialogue with it. Thank it for its presence. Notice its care and compassion as well as its fear and its vulnerability. The way I see it, too many articles are written about “going to war” with our inner critic rather than telling us to try to better understand ourselves. I think we are better served by having a sit down, maybe a ‘quick cup of tea’ with this inner voice. Acknowledge it for all its love and compassion, thank the voice, let it know you will certainly take its goodies into consideration and lovingly send it on its way!
If you happen to continuously hear negative thought patterns or negative messages and having any semblance of a conversation with this inner voice doesn’t seem to help you at the moment, changing the conversation and the wording may help. I was taught a practice many years ago by a friend called EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique. (If you are interested in trying it, here is a link --- https://youtu.be/1wG2FA4vfLQ While you are speaking, you remind yourself that although you may have challenges, problems, things that you consider deficits - you continue to accept yourself. If you’ve never tried it before it’s totally worth trying. I began doing this practice with my children when my youngest was just four years old. She’s 20 now and remembers the practice and how it impacted her positively as a young girl. Remember, it is never too early or too late to begin lovingly taking care of ourselves.
Good luck. I’d love to hear about your experience with EFT if you feel like giving it a whirl!