Break free from negative thoughts.
Tame your Inner Critic!
Beyond the scary challenges we face outside, the real mother of all monsters taunts us from the core of our own domain.
It shows up at our most crucial moments. As we get ready for the great leap, it keeps us scared and it keeps us locked up in our own minds. It makes everything look black and it makes us say things like:
“What’s the use? I’ll never (you fill the blank) it”.
It’s the enemy with in
This bitter side of ourselves is the VOICE of all the BS we have accumulated through the years.
BS (A. k. a Believe Systems) can be driven by our generalizations about what we’ve learned from our past, based on our interpretations of painful and pleasurable experiences.
Maybe you’ve failed to follow through on various endeavors a few times in your life, and based on that, you develop a belief that you are incompetent.
The VOICE generates from fear, from the false sense that if we don’t go where we’ve tried and fail, we will be safe from the pain. For effectiveness the mind comes forward replaying the negative events and shortcomings, over and over again…
Sort of saying: “come, come now. Stay in your safe little playpen”
Control your beliefs. Become aware!
1. Identify the VOICE
Take the time to question:
Is it really true? Who’s talking? Is it really you? Who does it remind you of? Is it a fearful friend? Parents? Siblings? Teachers?
To give a face to it helps you separate yourself from beliefs that have been ingrained in you by a traumatic event, like being ridiculed in the face of failure.
2. Turn it around
This exercise might take some time, but it’s well worth the effort:
1. Notice when and what the voice is saying
2. Write it down in a small notebook you can carry around, sort of a log (do it for 3 days or for up to a week)
3. Note which phrases repeat frequently
4. Choose the 3 most annoying or disturbing to turn around
5. Transform them into compact positive phrases.
Use positive words, don’t use words like:
“no”, “not”, “should”, “must” or “fear” etc.
Keep it in the present.
Keep it sweet and short
3. Turn around to Affirm
Affirmations work on the principle that you get what you put your attention to. Affirmations help you direct your attention towards what you want, consciously.
1. Make your positive phrases graspable, believable for you, using beginnings like:
“I start…” or “I am willing to…” or I’m open to… “
2. Repeat them frequently, everywhere, any time and mostly when the old programming plays out again.
For a time, it will take an effort to be on top of your thoughts, counterpoising them, but with practice the VOICE will eventually give way to the new thoughts and enable you to power through.
Journaling serves many purposes.
It can guide you to deep memories, insights, ways of understanding your inner critic and ways to transform it.
Asking “Why?” and automatic writing all the insights that come from this question is a good start.
5. Suspend judgment, be Patient!
As you analyze your thoughts, treat yourself with compassion.
The VOICE exists with in all of us in some degree or another and learning new ways takes time. You’ve been plugged to these thoughts for long and they wont go without a fight.
Steadily, be firm, but gentle.
6. Address your subconscious
The nature of the BS, behind the VOICE can have a remote origin.
Playing out for too long, it lodges itself deeply in your psyche and only identifying the voices wont do.
A symbolic act of letting go can liberate the strong grip of the critic. Psychomagic is an interesting modality that draws on this subject.
There are many more modalities on how to address the subconscious, here are some:
Soul retrieval (Shamanism)
Have you adventured into trying one of these?
Which one has proven more effective for you?
Jennifer Zea for The Creative Workshops Blog