As you all know, I do a lot of work helping women quiet that vicious, critical voice we each carry around.
The one that says, “You are going to screw this up.” “If that was a worthy idea, someone would have done it already.” The one that asks that pernicious question, “Who do you think you are?” This is also the voice harassing you about how you look in the mirror.
I write and teach about how:
1. We all have a mean inner critic and we will all continue to have mean inner critics. There’s nothing wrong with you. But the critic will get in your way if you don’t learn how to cope with it.
2. What the inner critic says to us is totally false, totally irrational, totally wacko.
What I want to talk about now is a counterintuitive and really important fact. Even though what the critic says is wacko, irrational, wrong-o, we shouldn’t argue with it.
Arguing is when….
it says, “You are ugly!” and you say (or try to say) back, “No, I’m not, I’m beautiful!”
or, when it says, “You aren’t prepared enough – you are about to fail horribly!” and you say, “No, I did a good job preparing!”
That would be what we call arguing with the critic.
From the time that the first inner critic uttered it’s first blow, (“That cave painting SUCKS! You are pathetic!”) arguing with the critic didn’t work.
The critic *loves* arguing with you. Arguing with you is a victory. That’s you coming on to its turf, because the critic is intimately tied to the part of our mind that loves arguing, that loves intricacies of rhetoric, that loves trying to control reality through the talk that goes on in our head. If you are arguing with your critic, the critic will win the argument.
So here’s the thing: we do need to respond to the critic, but not by meeting it with it’s language.
Just notice the critic, as an observer, and name it. “Oh, hey, that’s my inner critic talking.”
Kindly say, “Thanks so much for your input! But I’ve got this one covered! You can relax.”
Or get out of mental dialogue entirely. Get into action. Connect. Start doing the thing it’s chattering about.
Respond by remembering that this is the same stuff your critic has been saying to you for years, that it has yet to be proven true, and that today, like every day is your opportunity to prove it false.