and why we need to re write them.
You will probably of heard of an inner critic, but just humour me for a moment. You inner critic is the voice inside your head that allows you to speak to yourself often negatively. Humans are especially good at the internal brain version of comedy centrals Roasts. Only allowing for the odd “I bet they think (insert horrifying thought here) about you” projection in between your own personal self-depreciation. There is no one who understands your pain like you, who understands your issues like you, who knows how to really dig the knife in, like you. That is the power of the inner critic. The old “I don’t care what they say because I can’t feel worse than I already do” comes from us beating others to the punch when it comes to taking on criticism, judgement or plain old nastyness.
Coincidentally the only person who can stop your inner critic, is you. Easier said than done Dawn and you are absolutely right it is easy for me to sit here at my Mac typing this out like some mind magic guru but the truth is even my inner critic is as alive and well in my psyche as anyone else’s. The reason I have chosen to write about this today is infact because I have had to silence that inner critic multiple times this week and it’s been a focus of mine to actively watch what I am saying to myself.
You see what we tell ourselves is important. I can’t do that thing turns into I won’t be cause I truly believe I can’t. I don’t like that turns into I won’t try cause I don’t like it even though I never explored it. If you are not careful you can easily talk your way out of a beautiful life, and business and experiences. We don’t want that, not really.
The stories that happen about us inside our head are one thing, but what about the stories we tell ourselves about others. They can also distort our perspective. One amazing example of this is gossip or passive-aggressive behavior. It is so toxic to what we internalise and then choose to believe. You can build a whole person in your mind built only on your own perspective or that of others and actually have no idea who they truly are. Never having explored if you are correct, and lets face it, even though we are all just complex cucumbers with anxiety its very likely that the person who you are reducing in your mind is actually built of many more parts than you are giving them credit for. And then, what about the stories we are telling about ourselves to others. Those incredibly important stories that we have built entire identities on. What about those?
Stories, like many other things, are fluid. The present on pages like these words are to you right now or in videos or in audio or in body language. They are not set in stone. Not the internal critic, your thoughts about others nor the stories you breathe life into when you air them out in public. They are a movable feast.
Elaborating and falsifying are not required for you to be able to share your stories or to re write them how you see fit. You can tell that inner critic to back off and instead add those words through the lens of someone who cares about you. You can decide to not hold a perception on what you do not fully have evidence of when you are creating your feelings about another person and you can at anytime in your life choose and change, as many times as is necessary or that brings you joy.
When I was younger a teacher told me “I had the face for radio” and it was a really embarrassing moment. As you can tell from this paragraph, I held onto it. I told myself that the teacher was mean and he lashed out and I didn’t deserve it and for a teenage girl to be given that insult (when my inner critic totally agreed that I was ugly) was a horrendous abuse of power. I told myself for years that I was a victim of this situation. The teacher the villain of the piece. Now this teacher had previously always been nice to me. I was a good kid in class and even my inner critic agrees, I know that the person who said that to me probably thought it was funny. That teacher probably wanted to make me and other kids laugh. He didn’t know how I felt about myself. He didn’t need to know, that was between me , the mirror, the critic and my makeup bag being badly abused each morning as I attempted more and more to fit in. I told that story for years. For sympathy, for the outrage of those who care for me and each time I did I was bringing out the victim sack and climbing straight back in it. Because this was a story that I had built.
Now the stories I build for myself are those moments when my children come to me for comfort, when my husband speaks to me as his safe space, when clients thank me for breakthroughs and support and when I am proud of myself.
Like the angel and devil on your shoulder I suggest you introduce a new character inside your brain to accompany the critic. Time to bring in your inner cheerleader (or hype girl as I like to call mine). Each time critic starts with her rubbish, hype girl counters. She is louder and more energetic and she laughs a lot.
Hype girl was there for me when my daughter spilled her new cream frapp all over the interior of my recently valeted car. Where critic said ” Of course why not, it always happens to you” Hype girl says “It’s a bit of cream and coffee and now the car smells nice, plus how funny was that”.
Hype girl allows me to consider my behaviour before I flip out at the microaggressions delivered to me by inanimate objects. Such as my belt loop getting stuck on doors or the item you placed perfectly on the flat counter leaping to the floor anyway. The stories I tell myself remind me that I can do this, that success is mean’t for me and that I have everything I need to make the life I truly want.
What stories do you tell yourself friend, and how can you re write them so that you win?