My inner critics have some sort of conspiracy going on against me. I’m pretty sure they are taking shifts, making sure one of them is with me at all times. Each one of them has their own unique voice, with a different purpose.
Minute manager counts every single minute of every single day, all of which he expects you to spend productively. He starts breathing in your neck whenever you sit in the sun daydreaming, sleep in, or when you just don’t feel like doing anything.
Boris Boring needs others to entertain him, but is the toughest one-man-crowd you can imagine. Nothing you do is special or funny enough. Nothing you write will impress him. Nothing you say will convince him that you do have something to share with the world.
Miss Magnifying Glass loves her enlarged version of parts of the world. To her any small detail is super important and should be fixed immediately. She makes everything into a big deal, and gets nervous when you don’t follow up on her endless unwanted advice.
Don Chameleon is a shy fellow who will do anything to blend in. Whenever you decide to stand out in a sudden boost of confidence, he will be the one to ask: “Are you sure about that?” He assumes that any attention will be followed by predators eating you alive.
Lady Look-out is on top of what eeeeeverybody else in the world is doing, and makes sure to keep you up to date. Her specialty is looking for traits, successes and things that you don’t have and convincing you that you need these things as well, immediately.
Not only did I get fed up with my every single move being attacked by these creeps, I grew demotivated and tired.
Last week I listened to the podcast ‘Being Boss’, specifically the episode in which Kathleen and Emily talk with Danielle from The Jealous Curator. Her open conversation about inner critics made me rethink my own creative blocks. So I gathered my inner critics and we had a little talk. I told them that I didn’t want to play with them anymore, because they were no fun.
I wish I could tell you that that was the end of the story. Unfortunately, I tend to forget that I’m actively ignoring my inner haters when I’m busy. So I might be on my bike and suddenly discover Boris is catching a ride. Or I’m typing and when I glance over I see that not only are Lady Look-out and Miss. Magnifying glass reading over my shoulder, they’ve also become besties.
But I am getting better at identifying my inner critics when they sneak up on me. I’m shooing Boris from my bike and tell him this is a solo ride and he better get his own transportation. Because quite frankly, he’s not very good company.
Writing this post today and hitting publish was one of my small victories. Sometimes I’m scared that I have nothing worthwhile to share with you, and that none of what I do matters. I try to identify if that’s really true, or if it’s simply one of my inner critics hijacking my thoughts. Then I try to regain control, and keep going. I like to think that it’s a matter of training. It’s your responsibility to unmask these walking joy-killers as soon as possible and send them back to whatever planet they came from. And the more often you catch them, the better you get at the game.
Today, the score is 1-0 Mariëlle-Critics. I’m not planning on giving up. Even though they have a bigger and more vicious team.
That actually just gave me an idea. I think I need to actively recruit some happy team members to help me win the game. Perhaps a Gratitude Guy? A Sir Golden Star? A Unicorn and a Fairy Godmother? That’s a whole new post though.
Who are your inner critics? Do they bother you or are you able to ignore them?
September 21, 2015 at 10:50
Very recognisable team! I think mine also includes Wesley What-if: always considering “what if this happened?” “What if they don’t understand me?” “what if tomorrow …” What if…” etc.
Oh and on my positive team I’d definitely want to have Gratitude Guy and would probably add Oma Optimistic: the friendly old lady that can assure you everything will turn out fine (while stroking her cat, or knitting you a scarf).
September 21, 2015 at 11:54
Yes. I believe he shows up every now and then at my doorstep as well. Haha I LOVE Oma Optimistic. Can I borrow her too? :D
September 21, 2015 at 18:26
Sounds all very familiar Mariëlle. While I was reading it I thought to myself, ‘how does she know all my inner critics? Where did you guys meet?’ You have really got something to share that matters.
September 21, 2015 at 18:48
Haha, maybe our inner critics met each other at some sort of secret meeting, like an annual ‘How to be a jerk to people conference’. And then exchanged tips. But honestly, it means a lot, coming from you :) Thanks.
October 2, 2015 at 19:38
Hi Mariëlle, I just acknowledge them when they appear and say “I hear you-I see you” and I do it anyway. Fighting them is exhausting and they seem to become stronger as well. I guess they had a function in the past like protection,building stamina, preventing you from growing, keeping you small and safe. No longer needed anymore- like old fashioned moviestars but they don’t know and don’t want to accept it. I put them in the visitor seat not in the drivers seat anymore and if I fail and they point at me and laugh ” I was daring greatly” so to speak with Brene Browns words blow off the dust and move on :).Thank you for the beautiful Blog you write and have a lovely weekend <3
October 6, 2015 at 14:40
You make a great point. Actually, I just saw an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert by Marie Forleo. She talked about how she invites her inner critics for the ride, but doesn’t give them any control. It’s what you say as well. Also, how she thanks her fear for being a good companion. I really like this attitude and approach and I can relate to that as well. Completely stuffing away feelings or thoughts usually isn’t any good to us either.