By 9.30 yesterday morning I was already having a Very Bad Day. Out of nowhere I had a nasty Inner Critic Attack .
Do you get those days too?
Mine starts with a feeling of fear or panic, like I’ve done something wrong, or forgotten something, or have to do something NOW in order to keep myself safe.
I know myself (or rather, my selves) enough to know that this is what my Inner Pusher and Perfectionist feel and sound like when they are in cahoots with my Inner Critic – which is a lot of the time!
Then other feelings start to wash over me, not so much in words, but in sensations carrying unspoken threads of fear and threat that inform me how useless I am. Criticism and shame seep through my body dissolving any positive energy I had. It’s a familiarly disempowering place but also one that surprises me every time it comes. Especially when it’s not been around for a while.
Yesterday while my Inner Critic was weaving it’s dark web around me, draining my energy, questions arose:
How can I feel so different from yesterday? How can these feelings suddenly come back so strongly when I’ve had months of feeling calm, resilient and energised?
How can these feelings make me question everything I’ve been doing and planning, and instead tell me to run away and hide forever?
Because I’m human.
Because I’m a woman, and I’ve no idea what my cycle is doing this month – maybe I’m peri-menopausal.
Because I’m planning work things that scare me (ironically a new webinar and course about managing your energy!).
Because I’m showing up in a more honest and authentic way.
Because I’m tired.
Because we’re in a worldwide pandemic and environmental crisis and it seems like there are more idiots than non-idiots in charge.
And here’s the thing. Years ago this Inner Critic Attack would have knocked me sideways for days, sometimes even weeks. I would have run away and hid just like my Inner Critic wanted me to. I would have stopped doing the scary work things. And I would not have been a happy mother.
Yesterday I dealt with this very differently.
My personal development journey – specifically my Three Resilience Habits, and a course of powerful Voice Dialogue Coaching sessions – has enabled me to develop my self-awareness to a level that means I can bounce back from an Inner Critic Attack so much more quickly.
Yesterday it took about 2 hours to flow through me – and that’s a record in my world.
This is what that self-awareness looks like and how I handled the attack as it was happening.
I’m aware that all this is going on and I’m being gentle with myself.
I’m not going to run away and hide. And I am not going to let my Pusher, Perfectionist, or ‘Everything is Too Much’ Self make any rash decisions, because I know they are fuelled by fear.
I’ll listen to what my body needs, notice my thoughts and emotions ebbing and flowing and set an intention to get on with what I was going to do today – albeit in a slower way.
I’ll put my music on to change my mood and energy state.
I’ll keep chatting with my protective Inner Selves to see what they are worried about, so I can soothe them.
I’ll consciously tune into my more authentic soul-aligned selves to hear their guidance. Their truth is fuelled by love, not fear.
I’ll notice what my thoughts are, and choose whether to believe them.
I’ll notice the stories I’m telling myself and create new ones that feel better, and are actually more true than the disempowering ones.
Yesterday this allowed the negative energy of my Critic to pass through me quickly. But sometimes, even with all this, it’s not a magic pill, and I can feel pretty shitty for a while.
But I’ve learnt that even that is OK. I don’t have to feel great all the time. I can accept the low days too without making them mean anything awful.
I’m still the same wonderful woman whether I’m in a good place or a low place. Even if it doesn’t always feel like it.
So today I’m celebrating being able to manage – to accept and transform – my negative energy quickly and easily, and get back to my Heartspace. It’s not easy, but when we manage it, is it liberating.
If you want to learn to recognise your own Inner Critic a good place to start is to download my Self-Talk Audit Workbook here. You can work through it at your own pace, and if you have any questions or need any clarifications get in touch.