Quieting the Inner Critic – Celebrating Our Struggles – Part 3 of 6
As we continue to look at “Celebrating Our Struggles,” I want to say that I’m not suggesting we celebrate tragedy— tragedies and other challenges present us with difficulties that are sometimes crushing, life-altering, or difficult at best. Expecting ourselves or each other to celebrate during that kind of challenge is simply not fair.
However, in keeping with the theme of Celebrating Our Struggles, what I am suggesting is that we look FOR our gifts within the struggle instead of AT our wounds through the eyes of our Inner Critic. Shifting our focus can free up vital energy, allowing us to leverage the good to help overcome the difficulties that life often presents.
Turning Around the Inner Critic’s Diminishing Returns
We all seek an ROI, return on investment, with our money, but what about our energy? How do we spend our energy and what return on investment does it bring to our lives and to the lives of those around us?
There is no magic pill, but there are some powerful tools that can help. Affirmations are a tool I’ve been using for over a decade; they require practice and when taken seriously, they play a critical part in overcoming the inner critic and developing a sustainable daily self-care practice. As we begin to practice daily self-care, we gain a greater capacity to reflect and to discover the gifts that we have.
As we can begin shifting our focus from our Inner Critic’s unconscious negative thoughts to our own conscious positive thoughts, we become empowered in new ways. Creating “I Am” statements is a great way to start. “I AM” statements may sound overly simplistic, and in some cases, they might feel like you’re placing a bandage on an open wound, but these are building blocks for a sustainable daily self-care practice. If you developed one “I Am” statement each week and used it to replace and expand the vocabulary of your Inner Critic, one year from now, you would have practiced 52 affirming statements. When practiced, they work!
Healing Wounds through Voice Dialogue with Your Inner Critic
Everyone experiences wounding in their lives. Some wounds are caused by a single event and some wounds are caused by a series of events that happen over time. Whenever we are wounded, we develop patterns that help to protect us. I caution people from diving into deep wounds without the proper support, so start by exploring wounds that feel safe.
There are many wounds that we hold on to, like the voice of our Inner Critic or our Procrastinator. These parts of Voice Dialogue have served an important role, they’ve helped us to survive…. but what if they could help us to thrive!!! These voices are highly skilled, and when conscious, can help to give birth to some of our greatest gifts and treasures.
Our wounds are not who we are, they are what we have experienced. Chances are, the wounds from our past are no longer still happening, at least at this moment, but when we replay them, or when we continue to weave them into our story, we keep them alive.
In our society, there is an unspoken pressure for people who are grieving to move on, to eventually get over it; yet we hold on to our wounds like a prize, and don’t even realize it. When we hold on to our wounds, we affirm them, and as we let go, we begin to heal.
How to Use “I Am” Affirmations to Quiet the Inner Critic
Just like the Inner Critic, we control the volume! When negative stories arise in us, we can embrace them, let them go, and practice replacing them with the “I AM” statement. These “I AM” statements are affirmations. They remind us–especially when the Inner Critic strikes–of who we are, who we are evolving towards, and who we are becoming.
For example, my dyslexia left me a wounded student, but as a result, I developed an insatiable appetite and passion for learning and for teaching. But, as a result of a lifetime of programming, I still feel the need to share my wounds and my struggles! I’ve spent a lifetime crafting and polishing my story. BUT– I’m learning to catch myself when I do this, and I’m practicing replacing my old stories with new stories.
What negative stories are we holding on to and allowing to define who it is that we are?
How can we begin to change our relationship to these negative stories?
Moving beyond our wounds requires shifting our energy and our relationship with them. When you create “I AM” statements, consider following those with “I Will” statements so you’re prepared to stand up to your Inner Critic until your Inner Critic learns to stand up FOR YOU!
Channeling Positive Energy as Fuel for Your Journey
What “I AM” statement can you create today, and what “I WILL” statement can you use help to support and energize it? When combined and practiced, these two statements can work together to support you in reframing the stories you’re telling yourself; so that they best reflect the gifts and the treasures you have to celebrate, each from the struggles you have courageously endured.
As we continue to look for gifts and treasures, and not at problems and struggles— we’re choosing to look past our imperfections, our Inner Critic and our wounds, and to look for our beauty and the hope that it brings.
Let’s continue or start YOUR healing journey.
If you’re already in the class or on the journey, let this blog serve as a reminder and support of your process. If you’re not, I’d love to help you get started. There may still be time to register for the next class. Here are some options for you:
- Read Part 1: Reflection & Writing
- Read Part 2: Daily Self-Care Practice
- Read Part 4: Embodying the Sacred Self
- Read Part 5: Living Your Dreams
- Read Part 6: Finding Your Muse
- Consider One-to-One Coaching
- Inquire about a custom Workshop