It’s one of those days.
My inner critic (his name is Melvin) is hard at work spreading untruths and negativity to all of my brain receptors.
- You’re not productive.
- Other people are more skilled than you are.
- I can’t believe you haven’t finished that project yet!
- That content already exists in the world. Go find something else to write about.
All of this leaves me frustrated, overwhelmed, sad, and occasionally angry.
Apparently, Melvin is immune to the realities of my day-to-day, and his favorite pastime is to taunt me with falsities.
My logical and rational mind knows none of this is true.
If I need proof, I only have to look around my desk to be reminded that I have a real live business with real live clients. I even have a mailing list! 🙂
Today, rather than ruminating on Melvin’s monologue, I’m calling B.S. and writing to you about it.
- For a very long time, I thought, “It must just be me.” I “assumed” that everyone else had it together and I was the only one who didn’t. That changed as I got older and developed more confidence and a sense of self. Today I also recognize that’s how our brains are structured – they’re always on the lookout for threats and trying to protect us. Perhaps sharing it today helps someone else who is walking around thinking, “It must just be me.” A good reminder for me is not to judge how I’m feeling “inside” by someone else’s “outsides.”
- Labeling the emotion takes the sting out. It allows your brain to be an objective observer, vs. getting pummeled in the ring by punches that your inner critic is deftly throwing your way. (In my case, I’ve named not only the emotion but the inner critic as well. See above – Melvin.)
- Naming the physical sensation helps me to stay present. Letting my brain run rampant on the past or worry about the future manifests in my body. Right now, my head hurts, and I’m fatigued. When I tap into the physicality of my experience, I stay grounded in the here and now. It’s another way to take some intensity out of the moment.
- The more granular we can get in identifying what’s going on in our minds and hearts and bodies, the better able we are to regulate our emotions and accompanying behaviors. We build resilience.
- Putting it on paper helps me to see the truth of my situation and be more rational and less reactive. It is a love letter to Melvin to say, “Thank you for all your hard work protecting me from life’s harm. And, I don’t need your help today. I’ve got it covered.” It reminds me of the four Byron Katie questions – Is it true? No, it’s not. (See above – I have clients. I have a newsletter!)
I am a big believer in the concept of “What you feed, grows.”
I have no desire to nurture the ideas that Melvin bandies about, despite his best intentions to keep me safe from the travesties of life.
To indulge in and believe the mental narrative only serves to limit me, not liberate me.
Your call to action is to identify places where you may be limiting yourself. Even having the awareness is a great step towards setting yourself free.