I sort of picture my inner critic as a Larry David lookalike who sits at his desk drinking horrible coffee, chain smoking Marlborough Reds, peering down on me from above just itching for ways to squash me like a bug. He tells me I'm not doing enough, or I'm not doing it right, or this person or that person or pretty much every other person on the planet is doing it better than me (whatever my 'it' is at the time) so why the hell even bother? And just when I think I am going to get the better of him, that I have found a way to silence his miserable ass he rears his scraggly balding grey head to tell me how stupid I am or worse... he shows up in someone I really like and makes her say mean things about herself.
Crap, that reminds me... No being a hateful meanie to myself. It's a Shamanment and I was going to rewrite those babies and bring them over here from Mastering The Method and I'd forgotten. Dammit.
They were predominantly related to diet and exercise so I wanted to amend them to reflect my new priorities - things like perhaps being more organized so that they would have been done and posted up here already. Ooop, that sounded just like my Critic, didn't it?
So what brings all this up? I'm glad you asked.
Too much to encompass within the small scope of a single blog post, suffice it to say I have been feeling "less than" a lot lately. Not smart enough, not good enough, not quick enough, not strong enough, not worthy enough (that's been a biggie for me) not fit enough, not thin enough, young enough, pretty enough, talented enough, dedicated enough and on and on it goes.
Well! Nay Nay I say! Screw not enough.
I. Am. Enough.
The fact that I am. That I exist. That I've made it this far and I'm not completely crazy should prove that I am enough. Okay readers of this blog might argue the crazy part but I'm so okay with that.
I've been reading a fantastic book called The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney and in it, I discovered the most amazing quote...
"Keep high aspirations, moderate expectations, and small needs." H. Stein
Does that right there not sound like exactly the right recipe for happiness? Sure does, but I've never been one to follow the recipe.
The quest for perfection, the drive to so called "have it all" just gives the Critic fuel. None of us are perfect. What even is perfect? Isn't perfection kind of subjective? I think it is. Still, having big dreams makes it hard not to expect great things from yourself. And small needs? What the hell does that even mean? I'm needy and I know it, clap my hands. Sing it with me, needy and I know it clap my hands! I'm high maintenance. I'm a half-caff, shit on the side kind of girl and I am not sorry. But I digress. Of course I do, it's how I roll. It really got me thinking and wondering once again - What do I really want, and what exactly do I need? So far? I got nothin'! I don't have the answers.
In Olsen Laney's book she says:"We are hardwired never to be completely balanced or satisfied, and this keeps us physiologically limber and desiring change." Well that's a relief!
Or is it? If we're never satisfied how can we ever find happiness? How will we ever silence the voice in our heads?
The only thing that I can think of that even remotely has a chance of shutting the Critic up is to stop looking externally. Stop seeking answers to everything outside of ourselves. Don't compare, don't compete. Hard to do. But when we turn our attention within, when we allow ourselves time to sit with ourselves, when we ignore the Critic and listen quietly and intently for our True Self to speak up, something powerful happens. The voice in our head becomes very gentle, compassionate, loving and kind. That same voice we call upon to nurture a friend in need is the voice that comes from within us and is directed toward us and that my friends is like salve for the soul.
The bottom line is that we have more than one voice in our heads. And in the noisy chaotic external world in which we dwell most of the time, it's the loud crotchety Critic we may hear first. Our job is to seek the silence which holds all of the noise, touch that steady centre and then we're able to hear the other voice.
Let's also not forget our Mother's voices, they're in there too!
Today, why not take a moment and turn an ear toward the softer, sweeter voice in your head knowing she's the one who speaks the truth when she whispers: "You are enough." Happy autumn my lovelies.