It seems as though there are so many things that control our lives. So many things that drive us, change us, mold us. Things that make us become who we are and create the lives we live. And with all that, you may be wondering why you need to know if your inner critic is in control. Your inner critic has the influence to do all that and more.
When your inner critic (also known as she) is in control she can create a drastically different picture than when your inner critic is denied that power.
Becoming aware of your inner critic is essential.
As you go throughout your day you tend to place your thoughts in the background. You hear them without really paying attention to them, sometimes you consciously act on them, and other times you subconsciously embrace them without even being aware of what you thought. This can become a positive or a negative in your life. If your inner voice is one of love, grace, or even more neutral it will be drastically different than if your inner voice is ruled or driven by your inner critic.
Imagine yourself doing something you do every single day that is challenging for you. Maybe it’s getting up early, exercising, or keeping the house clean. Or maybe it’s leading a big project at work, running a team, or running your own business. Your thoughts are coming all day long through each circumstance you encounter. If you pay attention to each one you will be able to identify the sound, tone, and “character” of your inner critic.
You will hear her when she whispers judgments or when she shouts accusations. You will hear thoughts such as:
- “Why can’t I ever get this right?”
- “I will never look good. Why even bother exercising?”
- “I can’t even keep the house clean. Why would I ever be able to accomplish my dreams?”
- “Didn’t accomplish that goal. What’s the point of even trying? I am obviously a failure.”
- “I am so stupid. I should be able to do this by now and if I don’t have it by now I never will.”
- “I will never be good enough.”
Your subconscious brain hears each and every one of those thoughts. It embraces them as truths. This drives your emotions and actions. This drives everything you do from that moment on and while your brain is a magnificent creation, it is not the only part of you that works with your thoughts.
Your thoughts are essential, but so is your emotional response to your thoughts.
Each one of your thoughts can create an emotional response in your body. Some responses are small and some are big with a lasting impact on you. Emotional trauma does not just come from outside influence. It can come from yourself if you are not allowing emotions to flow, be experienced, and then released.
Think back to those challenging tasks and critical thoughts. What emotions do you associate with them?
These emotions are intense and create a physical response in your body. For example, anger burns hot, creates energy, and then leaves you feeling hollowed out and exhausted. Anxiousness can manifest in many ways in your body. Nervous movements, repeated energetic releases, such as bouncing your knee, and/or feeling as though you are going to vomit. Feeling broken, hopeless, or unworthy can create lethargy in movements, stomach discomfort, and tightness in your chest.
Those emotions, those physical manifestations, then drive your actions.
How you feel emotionally and physically will direct which action you choose to take. So, if you are feeling hopeless and physically lethargic you may choose to give up. To stop trying.
If you are feeling anger and extra energy you react rashly, quickly, and sometimes hurtfully.
Shame drives you to hide, choose actions that keep you from your goals, or even self-sabotaging responses.
Anxiety will stop you cold and you will choose something that seems completely safe and non-threatening or the complete opposite of where you actually want to be.
And now you find yourself with results that are nothing like what you originally set out to get.
What started as a simple “critical” thought has now become a result that is so far from where you want to be that you may now be wondering how you got there. You know that moment when you “wake up” and look around…you see what you had been denying or purposefully ignoring. These results that you didn’t understand because you could not see the pathway that led you to them. You stand there lost and confused.
Then it hits you. This pathway has created a whole belief system inside of you and that system has created the life you live.
You have embraced the belief that you are unworthy, broken, beyond redemption. You have accepted those thoughts from your inner critic so deeply, felt those emotions so intensely, and came to the same results so consistently that you now believe that this is all there is. That this is now your life and those beliefs, they hurt.
It feels as though your heart is physically breaking and that light, that spirit in you is crying, slowly dying, until she fades away completely. And you are left as a shadow of yourself.
You have sat in judgment. Not allowing for grace. Not allowing for God’s truth to whisper to you. Not allowing for love and kindness to yourself. Not allowing for growth or change that you are capable of. Not allowing for self-worth, self-acceptance, or dare I say it, self-love.
This is why you need to know if your inner critic is in control.
For you are deserving of all that and so much more. Your inner critic is the one that is not worthy to be in control and you have the power to stop your inner critic. You have the power to change your belief system. You have the power to live a life you love while also loving yourself. You. You have that power. Aren’t you amazing!?!