This morning my Inner Critic interrupted me in the midst of a flurry of ideas to remind me that deciding to pursue anything new is setting myself up to be “found out”.
She warns me that people will discover that I’m nothing special – no, worse – that I’m an imposter and a fraud, and I will be spurned and rejected.
She doesn’t like me overstepping my bounds and trying to be a Somebody. “Who do you think you are to do this?” she asks in a disdainful tone that suggests I’ve decided to fly to the moon in a hot air balloon.
She tells me that mine is just another fad idea that I’ll pursue for a few months before I finally realise I’m not good enough; or before I simply get distracted and lose interest.
She makes sure I know that failure is inevitable and imminent.
Over time I’ve learned to listen closely to this voice, and I’ve learned something interesting…
To my surprise, I discovered that my Inner Critic actually cares about me. She cares about me deeply and she doesn’t want me to get hurt, disappointed or ridiculed.
In fact, it is my poor Inner Critic who is insecure and terrified of everything. In an ill-expressed and dysfunctional way, she’s trying to keep me sheltered and out of harm’s way.
This is her way of trying to keep me away from failure, away from being noticed for the wrong reasons, away from disappointment.
Away from risk of any kind.
I dislike the things my Inner Critic says to me. I’d love for her to let me live life free from this toxic undercurrent of fear.
But understanding why she says such awful things gives me a choice.
When I am feeling strong enough to not fall under the spell of her words, I can choose to exercise compassion.
I can gently tell her, “It must be so difficult to see the world in the way you do. Thank you for trying to look after me. I understand why you are saying these things, I know you mean well, but please trust me. We’ll be okay.”
This doesn’t always work.
But when I am able to let my Inner Critic to feel heard and understood, she moves her worrying to the back of my mind – and my Inner Critic and I are able move forward in our own funny kind of harmony.