I have been silent and not posting for a while. Since I’ve been back from my holidays I have heard voices in my head. “Shame on you!”, says the fat hippopotamus. “Never mind, you needed some rest and you deserve it”, replies Tinkerbell with a giggle. Who is right? Have I been making excuses?
Most of the time I do not have head dwellers nowadays. But believe me they used to make my life really hard. Every single day.
I have learned to ignore the Inner Critic, because I know that a thought is just a thought – nothing more and nothing less. And I have installed what I call my personal Coach and my own Best Friend in my head instead. The latter may take the form of Tinkerbell when I read children’s books as I did during my holiday.
Hold on a minute: could it be that I am just making excuses here?
How to trust your inner voice?
The question of the Inner Critic always comes up with my clients. It’s inevitable. And worse: there is usually more than one nagging voice putting you down, telling you what to do and knowing it all.
Is this familiar to you?
And what do you usually do, when they start to make your life look like hell?
When you feel confused, unfocused, incapable, not knowing whom to believe, what to do – and even worse how to stop procrastinating and just start doing what you have been thinking about and telling yourself you should blah blah…
Do you believe what your inner critical voices say?
Ask yourself right away the following question: what weight or importance do you give to this kind of thoughts usually? Or said in a different way: how conscious are you about these inner critics? Are you in the habit to listen to them? And do you give meaning to what they say? Do you believe them?
Let’s start to turn this around then: can you think of a concrete situation where you haven’t let yourself put down or be impressed by what they say?
I have written about these little monsters in your head on this blog before. There are simple ways to stop them. It’s really fun, but I’m afraid I can’t explain what you need to do in a few lines. I can give you a glimpse of it if you like.
Deal with the inner critic instead of letting him/her intimidate you
Sometimes you can just ignore the inner critical voices. But I have also learned to carefully listen to them. What? Yes, in my experience the little monsters usually try in a very clumsy way to tell you something rather important. The louder they scream the more it is worth wile to listen.
Today I felt I wanted to change something. I needed to do something. This inner critic was getting on my nerves. I reached out to my mentor that supports me with my blog and content marketing. I wrote to her what was going on and what I want to tackle during our next session next week and – help! – she offered to talk to me immediately.
And of course talking to someone instead of trying to figure it out on my own got me moving.
No more excuses!
Telling my mentor about feeling blocked and the nagging voice an hour ago, I started to picture him. It looked as a hippopotamus. He’s huge, with very dark skin, ugly and rather intimidating. After our brief chat, I decided to put a pink straw hat on his head and immediately this made me laugh.
Now I could listen differently to the actual content and other levels of what he might want to tell me.
Learn to listen between the lines
Little side remark: there are always four sides of any message: fact, self-revealing, relationship, and appeal. If you are not familiar with the communication square or four-ears model by Schultz von Thun check it out, it’s really useful also in every day communication.
Let’s get back to Hippo as a concrete example (giving them a nickname is another way to deal with a critical voice; it gives you some distance and usually helps to deal better with them). Is he right? Of course not! Feeling ashamed is neither helpful nor necessary.
What he really meant to tell me
“Shame on you” could translate into: “Remember, you love to write. You want to write. Writing is a way to expressing yourself, connecting with people like the readers of your blog. When you write you are having fun, forgetting time – and contributing to make this world a better place.”
Tinkerbell was right, too, somehow. I was tired before my holidays and I needed rest. There is a lot to do now and my priorities are clear which means I leave many other things undone. I have to make choices.
But if I was honest, since yesterday I was just making excuses, because I didn’t know HOW TO tackle the assessment my mentor had given me some time ago. Mrs Pettigrew Perfectionist and Mr You Have to get it Right (otherwise you’ll look silly) had been knocking at my door – and I had let them in…
900 words written, cool. I’m back on track. Thank you Sarah Arrow!
Want some more?
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