I've been thinking about the inner critic A LOT lately.
It's a BIG focus of my coaching program and with new cohorts starting, I've been refining the course material.
I realized I've had it all wrong.
I used to think it was about overcoming or beating your inner critic.
But it's about embracing it.
Here's what I mean:
As humans, we're born with a survival mechanism wired into us.
One designed to keep us alive.
Because its ONLY job is to keep us safe, it's always on the lookout for threats.
Those threats can be real - like someone trying to physically harm us.
Or they can be perceived - like being trolled on social media.
It's also looking for potential threats - things that haven't even happened yet.
Welcome to life as the ego - or survival mind as I call it.
Home to the inner critic.
But here's the thing we're not taught...
It's FLAWED by design.
The critic is wired to look for insufficiencies in our life.
It's always on the LOOKOUT for threats.
No matter what, 24/7.
It's kinda like having our own bodyguard on staff.
Which is great if we need to survive a life-or-death situation.
But terrible when we're trying to navigate a life of work, finances, relationships, obligations, or anything else WITHOUT stress.
And if there isn't a REAL threat... it creates one.
"If it isn't life-threatening, it's ego-threatening. And the ego often makes it FEEL life-threatening." - P. Crone
Most people walk around with their bodyguards dictating every action, response, fear, worry, and motive.
Here's how most of us live day-to-day...
I must have the best job.
I must make more money.
I must have a nicer house.
I must start my own business.
I must do MORE or it won't be enough.
And see how vague that last one is??
Yet so many of the guys I speak with feel this insatiable drive within.
And because it's BASED in inadequacy, nothing we do will be ENOUGH.
Subconsciously, we believe all those things will make us feel successful, worthy, loved, secure, and safe.
And once we crack the code and finally get them, THEN we'll be happy.
We begin to think the ONLY way to feel okay INSIDE, is to perfect our OUTSIDE.
That we MUST prove ourselves to the world and gain everyone's acceptance.
Which is predicated on the feeling that we're not enough as we are.
When we allow THAT small part of us to steer, it looks like:
- feeling like it's never enough
- surviving instead of thriving
- imposter syndrome
- fear of judgment
- mentally drained
- unhealthy habits
It feels like we can't get out of our own way.
Like we can't ever rest or be present in the current moment.
And I hear those of you resisting...
"But my perfectionism has helped me achieve everything I have!"
You're gripping tight to the behavior you've been using to compensate for the VOID created by the critic in the first place...
Not realizing that without the self-created void, you'd have no reason to be PERFECT.
See where I'm going with this?
Do you see where this is flawed yet?!?
Of course, we don't think this way consciously.
This happens behind the curtains.
That's why it's SO frustrating to experience.
And why we feel like no matter what we do, we can't get ahead of it.
The survival mind is subjective by nature, and subjectivity = perspective.
Perspective isn't a truth, it's ONE view.
So by logic, the ego is never true.
But it still skews our reality, driving us to compensate for the very VOID that it created...
So how the f*ck do we move forward?
First, understand that the critic is simply part of our experience as a human.
We can't FIGHT IT OFF or try to BEAT it.
We have to INTEGRATE it.
To have compassion & love for it like we would a young child who doesn't know any better.
To treat ourselves like we would our best friend.
To cut ourselves some slack and say, "OH! This is just part of being human, but it's not who I AM at my core."
It's not who we are in totality, but instead, just a flawed part of us built to keep us alive.
We're no longer allowing it to define us.
By embracing our critic, we're choosing peace.
We're calling off the fight within.
"Yep I'm a human and this is just part of it! "
And that "I see you and I know your role, but you're not steering my life anymore."
If the survival mind's opinion of you is a lie, that must mean the opposite is the truth.
You are enough.
You have nothing to prove.
You don't need money, status, or admiration from others to be worthy.
Because worth isn't up for debate (only your survival mind thinks it is).
How freeing it must be to realize nothing is wrong with you. 😎
NOW, we can begin to live without self-judgment, self-hatred, or self-criticism because we know the inner critic is just part of being human.
THIS is the path to the good life.