So you set out to create something amazing, pursue a goal or just go about your everyday life and there is that voice that says things like: “I’ll never make it, why am I even trying? I’m just too stupid. Who do I think I am? I don’t deserve this. I will never amount to anything. I have to get it right the first time around. I should be ashamed of myself for even trying. Look at the others, they’ve got it down.”
You might desperately want to shout: “Shut up!” Unfortunately though that won’t help for very long. In fact the resistance we feel towards anything creates more staying power of what it is we would like to have changed. It’s as if you’re bolting your problem to the ground making sure it stays around for a while longer.
So what is the solution for this critical voice we have in our heads? I think Albert Einstein might be able to give us a hint: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” What new thinking about our critical voice is there to be had in order for things to shift? Our inner critic means well. Wait what? “Then why is it constantly putting me down?”, you ask? To protect you.
In our childhood we all needed guidance as we had to learn how life works. As this guidance wasn’t always comfortable we developed an inner voice whose goal simply put was to get less rebuke and more praise, working kind of like a rear view camera, which tells you to stop before you bump into things. The less room there was in your childhood to freely express yourself the stronger your inner critic is trying to reel you in in order to avoid pain, suffering and punishment by telling you what’s okay and what’s not.
What would happen if instead of drowning this voice out or talking back you link arms with it? Meaning you create a relationship with it with the sure knowledge in mind that its motives for telling you to stop are actually benevolent. If you stop judging the thoughts or even yourself for having them and rather become the observer you might learn something you didn’t know before. Also don’t just accept its blank statements. Start communicating with this inner voice instead and ask it questions to get to the bottom of things. What does it want? Why is it telling you to stop trying new things and implementing change? What’s the danger it seems to see? Is there another better way of doing things?
You may be surprised what great ideas and insights you get this way. It will also help shift this internal part of you from being a critic to becoming a loving companion so you can walk down your path side by side and conquer the world together. Every sailing ship needs a good meaning sailor in the crow’s nest to inform on impending danger, doesn’t it?