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Going Beyond Your Inner Critic

Going Beyond Your Inner Critic

Just because you have a thought in your head, doesn't mean it's true.

A lot of people pride themselves on being their own harshest critic. I know that I used to - and for years. I wore my self-criticism like a badge of honour. It meant that I had myself ‘in check’, that I wouldn’t get ‘above myself’ or ‘beyond myself’, that I wouldn’t think that I was something ‘special’. And these critical thoughts seemed so true - so righteous, so authoritative. I felt like I should be listening to them - to nip any hint of self-aggrandisement in the bud before it had chance to take hold.

However, as the years went on, I began to see that what I was actually nipping in the bud was my self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, visionary and daring ideas, and the evolution of my own psyche and my own paradigms of thought. I had somehow developed the habit of pouncing on anything that questioned … thought differently about, felt differently about, didn’t fit into … the prevailing zeitgiest.

When I look back on this now, I see the brutality of it. I see how every green and vital shoot of individuality and free thinking was cut off at the base before it had chance to grow.

At some point, I began to question the wisdom of this.


Why Not Get Above Ourselves?!

Yellow blossoms on a tree in spring

What is this self that we try to keep in check - what if it is your essence, your true nature, parts of you that society has deemed unacceptable, but that you might need for your own survival, growth and flourishing?

What might life be like in the terrain of getting ‘above and beyond yourself’?

Rather than trying not to go there, what would happen if you were to let go and soar into this?

And how on earth do we come to think that ‘being special’ isn’t a good idea - afterall, aren’t we all? Why would we want to ‘de-specialise’ ourselves?!

At some point, I began to see that I needed to move on from harsh and negative thinking.

There was a thoroughly reliable feedback response that flooded my entire being everytime I engaged in this, showing me that these kind of thoughts didn’t serve me: they made me uneasy, anxious, unhappy and/or insecure, and put me at odds with myself and my world.

When these thoughts started to come up - accompanied by those uneasy feelings - I began to get wise to them. Seeing them for what they were - an old, out-dated programme that I no longer needed to take seriously.

Just because I had that thought in my head, didn’t mean that it was true. I didn’t need to fall under their spell.

Negating The Self Isn't A Sign Of Health

Image of deep purple flowers

So, perhaps like me, you have - or maybe still do - prided yourself on being your own harshest critic.

What I have come to see is that listening to our negative thoughts is not a sign of mental health.

Mental health involves having the courage and clarity to turn away from old cyclical thoughts that denounce you and your world - the scolding, the doubting, the berating, the needling, and the guild-inducing thoughts that stop you before you are even able to make a movement forward.

Mental health involves listening to something kinder and wiser.

Something lighter and sweeter that gives you and your world the benefit of the doubt. That allows your soul room to breathe - and your own free thinking to seed, grow and become something in you and in the world. That feels sane, and generous, and inclusive - of you as much as anyone else.

Two trees in blossom: magnolia and cherry

Mental Health is: listening to the most loving voice within yourself.

I invite you to play with and explore this.

What happens in your life when a different - more evolved - part of your being is given the chance to speak?

This is what I have experienced: Love will gently and beautifully transform your life and your world. Nothing will look or feel the same. Life will be more spacious. You will feel more spacious. There will be room to breathe, to soar, to dare, to laugh, to play, to create. A shimmering will begin to infuse your consciousness - and you will trust this to guide your life.

If you think this blog post would be helpful for a friend or family member, please feel free to share the link. And if you have any thoughts, comments, or wish to share any insights with me after reading this, please let me know - I would love to hear how this has landed with you.

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