Today is not a great day.
I did not sleep well, my head hurts, something I ate is not “sitting” well, I cannot focus or get motivated to start anything. I am worried that if I stay woolly-headed and off balance nothing will get done today and I will be still at my desk at 6pm trying to finish the must do tasks. I begin to project into tomorrow and the end of the week coming up. What needs to get finished by when; what is the next priority; where were my notes from that meeting; what did I say I would do and for who?
I want to run away and hide. I want to go online and read something, buy something. I want to check my emails, facebook, twitter. I want to go buy a coffee and a great big buttery croissant. I want to throw everything off my desk and start again. I want a Fairy Godmother (or father) to arrive and take me away from all of this. Tahiti, as they say, would be nice.
Most importantly I want to avoid the harsh, jeering, blaming voice that tells me I am useless and it is pointless to feel this way, that I am a hopeless failure and should just give up now. The voice that tells me my hair is crazy, my clothes don’t fit, my skin needs more make-up and my toes are ugly. The voice that berates me for not taking chances, for being too reckless, for not focusing on the details, for not being strategic, for being too pushy or for being too nice. The voice that takes every misstep or judgement and makes it into a catastrophe that will kill off my business, lose my house, and end my relationships.
This is my inner critic – an invented but entrenched part of me that thrives on blame and shame. The voice that tells you everything that is “wrong” with you. The voice that pretends to motivate you by telling you how much better you can be, but is really there to make you ashamed of who you are right now.
This voice that left unchecked and unchallenged may well kill my business and my relationships, not because of my mistakes but by destroying my faith in myself and anyone else.
Our inner judge or critic is a powerful force to disturb our inner sense of balance. No matter what is happening in your outer world if there is a voice in your head that tells you something is wrong, you will struggle to maintain any sense of inner peace and calm.
My inner critic is a bully: it cannot be befriended, bargained with or ignored. It thrives on doubts and fears and wants to win at any cost. It will get nasty when it has too and when it has the upper hand.
It becomes most active when I am doing something new: learning, developing, trying something out. Stepping out of my comfort zone is when obstacles and challenges come up. In doing the practice I learn what works and doesn’t work – and it is in these moments that the critic gets its chance to bully and berate.
In changing jobs, learning new skills and building a business I have given my critic loads of opportunities, and it has not been easy. But in going through the process I am learning to recognise its voice and request it at least speaks to me with respect. It is a baby-step to inner-balance but an important one to take.
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” Golda Meir