One giant obstacle to feeling inwardly peaceful and good about yourself is an inner critic that seems to think you need to be knocked down to size if you start feeling good.
Did you ever have that happen?
Life is going along OK, and then comes this inner voice saying, “You don’t deserve to feel good… what have you done with your life?… look at all the other people and what they’ve done… you’re really nothing…” and on and on…
Instead of feeling good, you feel like you just want to disappear.
In this episode, you’ll get a way to work with an inner critic when it challenges your inner peace.
My student Matthew struggled with an inner critic one night when he was attending choir practice.
Matthew loves to sing and he really enjoys the connection with people. Choir practice leaves him feeling really happy and at peace, which makes the rest of his week go better.
But one night, the choir chairperson asked the group if anyone had PR or social media skills to help promote the choir, get some funding, and so on.
Matthew didn’t know the first thing about marketing or PR. Which could have been just fine, right? Not everybody knows everything. It takes all kinds of people to make a world.But Matthew noticed this voice inside him, a part of him, that started to say, “See, you’ve got nothing to offer, you’re useless and irrelevant, you’re a waste of space really, you have no special skills or abilities, how have you gotten through life so far without picking up any useful skills? This is really bad.”
He’d noticed this voice before, and it really hurt. It left him feeling bad about himself for long periods of time.The voice sounded so sure it was true – that he was useless and a waste of space.
Matthew felt himself start to sink into a spiral of shame, “Oh that’s right, I am that bad, I should quit and go home and not show my face…” Etc.But then Matthew remembered something he’d learned from one of my videos.
It was something very simple: to turn toward an inner critic and wonder what it might be worried about.
He did this right there in the choir practice room.
While other people were talking about PR and social media, he silently asked this critical inner voice if it might be worried about something.
And it answered!
It said, “Yes! I’m really worried about you being useless and irrelevant and having nothing to offer.”
Now that doesn’t sound very different from what this part was saying before, but Matthew felt hopeful… because it felt like a big deal for this harsh undermining part to admit that IT was worried.
So he went on to say: “Oh yes I see, you really don’t want that. What is it that worries you about that?”
“Well, nobody will want us around, people won’t value having us around… if we don’t have anything to offer.”
Matthew could really catch a sense of the anxiety behind the voice so he listened more and it continued…
It said: “We’ll probably get excluded, left out of things, and we won’t be able to belong anywhere if we can’t be useful or offer some special skill. People might even attack us if they don’t need us for something.”
Wow. Matthew started to feel how young this voice in him was, how it came from his childhood, a time when he felt deep insecurity about whether he was innately valuable and worthy of belonging.
He could also see these fears didn’t really apply to his current life, where he did have a sense of value and belonging… including in the choir.
So he acknowledged to this part of him that he could feel ITS pain and fear, and he let it know he was grateful to it for sharing its worry.
Instead of falling into a spiral of shame and feeling bad about himself, Matthew felt he had discovered “buried treasure” — his words — because he realized the feeling of belonging and worthiness was probably just right there for the taking.
From turning toward the part of him that was worried he wasn’t worthy, Matthew got in touch with a sense that he IS worthy.
What could be more beautiful and inwardly peaceful than that? I love it!So here’s to you… having a more peaceful life.