No surprise to anyone, but here goes: I sometimes (and lately more than sometimes) get run over by my inner critic. That voice that we think may be conscience…may be Jiminy Cricket or the Divine or – in the immortal words of Ebeneezer Scrooge – “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.” That voice is too often a bully and the more I listen to that bully, the louder it gets and the more I get sucked into believing it. And then acting as a hurt kitten when there is no credible danger.
It could be the serendipity of having had a fever that kept my eyes boiling and toes freezing and me bundled sleepily under a heap of blankets, but I’ve been thinking.
And feeling desolate a bit. Then like the warrior I believed myself to be for a long time, then exhausted and interwoven and surrounded by love (thanks Kids for calling and Peeps for swinging by). Maybe even a bit higgledy-piggledy delirious at times (like when I aired out late last night in the snow and got all my day’s steps in).
My default is to learn about whatever is bugging me, so I ferreted out a few books, googled a few key words, downloaded some journal articles, read a bit, got quiet to meditate, wrote a few bills and began to utilize the quiet toward growth rather than weariness.
One of the surprise hits of this counterattack was a Ted Talk from Danielle Krysa, Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk. In it, the speaker who is an author, artist and design lead, spoke of how she learned that most people have snarky inner critics. (For another viewpoint of this, check out The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. Jury is still out on how I feel and think about this book, but it is compelling.)
Krysa delves into what she has learned of what is common to us about the inner critic. She invites us to recalibrate our reactions to a snarky inner critic’s jerky messages. I like her response. It does not call me to be a jerk in answer or puff up my posture or repeat some mantra. I think of it as a judo flip, which incorporates wisdom, kindness and kahonies.
She suggested to make time for creative work (insert whatever it is our inner critic is being jerky about), give the inner critic a name (mine already has a name…Buffy), say Thank You to the inner critic with kindness (Allie note: respecting that most inner and outer critics need a hug), and Fail Like a Genius!
Hell. I can do that. I can fail. Like a SuperGenius.
The hard part is to not give up. To break through the boundaries we’ve set for ourselves or allowed the inner and outside-of-us critics to construct.
One of my favorite stories of this sort of transformation comes from my all-time best-loved movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I’m going to watch it tonight while baking Go Chiefs! cookies and be reminded of what extracting ourselves from our own sad places looks like. What failing and resilience looks and feels like. And what adventures ahead might possibly be for an untethered goofball who is ambitious for people, family, adventure and hopeful for a hand to hold.
How do you fight your inner critic? What hemming-in boundaries are you wanting to break through?
I’m rethinking how I see myself. I’ve let myself be defined by the one that really doesn’t like me instead of the me + the others who know me well.
As with most blogs, I trust this may nail my singlehood to the grand wooden door of life, but living in freedom and failing like a genius are just too good to pass up.
If you need a pick me up, try this: Justin T and Can’t Stop this Feeling.