Muting the rotten tomato (a.k.a. your inner critics)

Cartoon tomato with sad faceI’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news is that your inner critics will never go away completely.

The good news is – well, actually, there are two pieces of good news. (Yay!)

Good news #1

You can dial down the inner critics’ noise significantly. With time, patience, and practice, the inner critics’ voices will sound more and more like a television playing in the other room. You might catch a word or two, or even whole sentences, but they won’t make much of an impact on you. You’ll stop paying so much attention.

Good news #2

Believe it or not, sometimes the inner critics have useful information for you. After all, their single objective is to protect you. That’s why they installed themselves in your head in the first place: at one point in your life, you needed them to keep you safe. So while we might want them to pack their bags and take their squishy rotten selves out of our lives, it’s truly not an entirely bad thing that this won’t happen.

Because sometimes, believe it or not, we need to hear what they have to say, if only because it gives us the opportunity to manage risks that we might otherwise be stumbling blindly into.

Ongoing practice

That’s what it takes: ongoing practice. And sometimes that’s really, really hard. Sometimes it feels like the inner critics are absolutely right in everything they say about you. And in those moments, the effort to not argue (see my last post) and to carry on with what you want to do and who you want to be … that effort can feel like a weight too heavy to lift.

That’s okay.

Let me say it again: that’s okay.

And letting yourself get upset and distracted by the fact that sometimes the weight is just too heavy only adds fuel to the inner critics’ fire and gives them something new to criticize.

So let it go, and know that you’re practicing.