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When was the last time you needed to forget everything you knew in order to learn something?
 
This is the skill you need when you decide to meet your inner critic head on. How your inner critic takes control is by latching on to everything you once knew…to every truth, idea, experience and belief, that at one point you used to make sense of your world. Beliefs that your inner critic now uses to keep you safe (small and stuck). And some of these beliefs that IT uses are ones that became engrained and rooted as the identifiers you know as… “I AM…
 
not enough not worthy powerless unlovable
 
Your inner critic knows all your secrets and it does not play fair. It will use every belief that aligns with these identifiers against you… every f’n time. So to truly put your inner critic in it’s place, keep it’s “safety” tactics to a minimum and to have the power to call it on it’s bull-shit, you must…

Forget everything you think you know about who you are, decide who want to be and go be it.

Every action you take in the direction of who you truly believe you are, will initially, cause your inner critic to have it’s own break down…Which unfortunately you will feel like a tidal wave of shit. And, the good news is, when you continue to show up for YOU, it will come to learn who is really in charge. psst…that’s YOU! 

Let’s look at your capacity to shift your model of the world. To adopt a new way of thinking that differs from what you currently know. I know you’ve done this a million times before…why does is feel so hard to get past your inner critic’s version of reality?

Let’s look at one specific time where you let go of one way of doing something to make room for something new (with the hope that it would be better). 

About 20-30 years ago  you/your family had a landline right? What did it take for you to let go of using that type of phone in order to adopt Smart phone technology? You may be thinking…”Well… I grew up, technology evolved and I evolved right along with it.” 

But what if your inner critic was in charge of your phone use…

It does NOT like change. It loathes anything new and fears the unknown above all else. Now remember, it’s main tactic is to latch on to your personal experiences, the moments in your past when you truly felt you failed at something new and it will bring that shit back up in every way it can; memories, feelings, smells, people. You’ll start seeing things that remind of the times you failed miserably and finally IT starts running the script of shit-talk that it knows will knock you on your ass! 

So let’s go back in time to when you decided to get a cell phone…

Picture it Sicily 1942…haha just kidding

(PS I just saw that they are coming out with Golden Girls action figures… so awesome!)

Imagine that your inner critic is in charge of your phone use and you’ve decided that you want a Smart phone…what happens next? Your inner critic starts with the questions…you know the ones… they all end with you feeling incompetent… ”What do I know about operating a Smart phone… the ONLY the strategies I have, I learned with my landline in 1986… Is the phone attached to the wall? Do I need a 25ft cord to find privacy in the closet? Does it have a designated spot on end table in my living room…Do I just pick it up to make call? Where do I put it to hang it up? Does it use a party line? Does it hook up to my answering machine? Where is my answering machine? What button do I click for call waiting? Wait…what??? Clearly everything I thought I knew is useless now…What was I thinking…I could never operate a Smart phone!” End scene…

Your inner critic, by focusing your attention on what you don’t know and how you can’t do something with the knowledge you have, can successfully keep you attached to your landline, believing it is all you’ll ever amount to!

How well do you think you’d adjust to the Smart phone world if you continued to hold onto your landline beliefs? Now understandably, what you learned when landlines where KING, served you at that time. However today, if you WANT to easily and effortlessly use a Smart phone, you would need to adopt an entirely new set of “beliefs” about how phones work. Your understanding of phones would need to expand, maybe even explode, and you’d need to let go of most of what you thought you knew in order to accept this new knowledge.

And what if, (let’s get wild and crazy here…) in this example your landline represents EVERY “belief” you ever adopted that served you at the time you first believed it, but no longer serves you. And your Smart phone represents every new belief that requires you let go of your old story. I wonder what it would take for you to change what you believe? 

It’s true, you don’t have to want a Smart phone. You can absolutely stick with your landline if the beliefs you’ve always held are still serving you and your needs. But, if you  are unhappy, feel disconnected from the world, stuck, small and want more…Perhaps a Smart phone and a new “belief system” is exactly what you need…

Quick question…Where in your life are you stuck inside a belief that is no longer serving you?  What if your happiness was just on the other side of believing something different? Hmmmm…

Your inner critic lives in the world where landlines are still KING

And it’s job is to keep you from stepping beyond the truth you’ve always known. It’s comfortable with your landline life. Its is happy with the thoughts and behaviours you built around your landline, even though you feel unhappy, disconnected and alone now, it knows that your landline served you well in the past and it believes it would be unsafe to try anything different.

So you, a human who time will not stand still for, must decide if you will stick with your landline or let go and leap into the Smart phone era, into uncharted territory with hope and the belief that your new phone will offer you the chance to be happy and feel more connected to your world (inside and out). 

Everything happens as soon as it can

You may need get a clear picture of what is actually getting in your way. Maybe it’s not your attachment to the landline…What if your belief in landline technology is not what your inner critic is really holding on to? What if what looks like your attachment to your landline, is actually your attempt to hold on to the life that existed when you had a landline? A time in your life when you believed you were happy, a time when you felt loved, valued and appreciated.

You look out at the Smart phone world and your inner critic notices there is no guarantee that you will have what you believe you had then. Even though you’re not feeling any of those things now, it clings to the idea that if you just keep using that landline the “good times” will all come back. 

Your inner critic’s fear of the unknown manifests in ways well beyond your landline

Fear can permeate every decision you make and give your inner critic all the ammo it needs. It can keep you stuck for years, a lifetime (trust me…I was stuck inside my own “fear of the unknown” for 20 years) 

But…your inner critic hates baby steps

The way to win the battle with your inner critic is

  1. Stop fighting 
  2. Look down and take the next step
  3. Celebrate your progress (regularly)

Your inner critic is great at busting BIG dreams

It’s a master at derailing BIG plans…but it’s not fast enough to catch all your small steps. You can completely knock your inner critic off it’s game, by simply showing up for your self for five minutes every day…Shit, the best strategy is to only focus on the next five minutes and doing one thing that moves you an inch forward. If you stay out of the “What if… Weeds” your inner critic can’t wrap them around your ankles and keep you stuck!

Most of the small steps that we’re talking about here, are quick, easy and can often occur before your inner critic even knows what’s happening. With every small step you take, IT will need to recalibrate and re-gig it’s strategy. And all the while, you’ll be gaining a foothold on the future you want!

You inner critic loses it’s grip with EVERY  step you take towards that Smart phone; from just considering it, through talking to the Rogers staff for hours, beyond the purchase and well into the actual use and your comfort with it. Every action lets a little air out of that fear and as a result your inner critic has little less fuel to run on.

Now, here’s the kicker…

It will sense this, it knows when it’s world is being threatened and it will jump into “fight or flight” (and PS it does NOT flee) It will use every ounce of energy it has to launch bombs, throw up walls and blast you with every memory of you failing HARD to keep you small (I mean safe!)

You know what I’m talking about

It’s happened before…right after every  decision to lean-in, say YES, learn, say NO, stop, start, trust, leap. All of a sudden you hear garbage being spewed inside your head. Its tricky, it uses your voice, notices which words cause you the most discomfort and hammers those home until you crack, until you give in and sit back down with your landline, hoping it will bring you the joy it once did.  

It’ll tell you that you feel unhappy, disconnected and alone because people are not calling you on your landline. It will convince you that they are the problem.  It will tell you that you did all you could, but you are just not the kind of person who deserves a Smart phone. You are meant for a simpler life and it will make sure you distance yourself from anyone who doesn’t agree that landlines are the only truth that matters. 

Its mission is to get you to the point where you no longer question your landline. It will manipulate your thoughts until you forget you ever believed you wanted a Smart phone. You’ll hear yourself saying that you don’t trust them and that people who use them are not your people…or even worse it’ll have you label them as crazy! You’ll know it’s got you right where it wants you when you hear “I could never use a Smart phone. Smart phones are for people who are smarter, better, richer than me. I will never understand how they work or why people want them. You’ll know it’s won this battle when it shames you into believing you’re not enough, not worthy, powerless or unlovable.

But…this is NOT where your story ends

There IS still a Smart phone in your future. What will be crucial is where you choose to put your attention from now on. Up until now your inner critic has been given permission to take control of where you focus your attention. It’s loud, and knows how to throw up some big emotions that keep you busy. And remember from my last post…everything that you think IT is, every skill or strategy that you believe IT has…you my friend have 10 fold!

It is a small part of YOU. If you want to get back in the driver’s seat…YOU need to decide where to focus your attention. Get in the habit of focusing on what YOU want along with your skills, knowledge, potential, ability, mindset and strength to take the next small step.

You can push your inner critic back to where it belongs simply by focusing on the next thing.

A few things that will help…

Surround yourself with your believing mirrors, those beautiful souls who believe in your ability to use and master a Smart phone (even when you don’t). And every day, decide to engage in these 3 practices that will help you to circumvent your inner critic (right under it’s nose). 

  1. Connect – Write in your journal with the compassion you save for others and the curiosity of a 2 year old!
  2. Create – Engage in ANYTHING that pushes you past what you’re used to and helps you to think and create unique solutions to everyday problems.
  3.  Celebrate – Acknowledge every small step of your journey and give yourself permission to be proud.