It is fascinating to learn about the brain, particularly our thoughts. One enlightenment is how easy it is to dwell on the negative. “The research found that the average person has between 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day, and out of the thousands of thoughts, 80% are negative, and 95% are repetitive, which means that the thoughts we had today we had yesterday.” Even if you had a new thought, it follows the old patterns. Is it depressing to hear that? Well, it can be!
What is more startling is that the inner critic thinks that it is protecting us. It was a little unnerving to grasp how a negative thought assumes it’s protecting. It is because the brain does not differentiate between what is negative or positive. When I reflected on the inner critic protecting us, I thought about how some parents are determined to make their children do what they say by telling them what they always do or not doing. Sometimes parents can become harsh critics. Although the intention is to motivate the child, it can have the opposite effect.
“The self-critic “symbolizes the strict, inner normative voice that interferes with the individual’s organismic experiencing process.” The inner critic is harsh. It says things like:
You are not good enough.
You can’t do it.
It is the voice of discouragement and doom, and if you have allowed it to be your worse critic, I give you permission to name it and tell it to sit down. You are probably wondering, what? Name it??? Yes, I have named my inner critic Ragine. You see, Ragine thinks she knows everything about every subject.
Have you ever watched a film critic? I used to watch Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. They would critique the film as experts and give it a thumbs up or down. If they critiqued a movie I saw, I would determine if I agreed and give my thumbs up or down. I think you can consider the judges on “America Got Talent,” “American Idol,” or “The Voice” as critic experts. They know what they are talking about, and the hope is to strengthen your talent and gifts. Our inner critic’s sole purpose is to make us feel bad.
We can’t get away from the inner voice; it is with us 24/7, but we can learn better ways to manage it. Anything that we have learned, we have the power to unlearn. It is a process.
Dr. John Townsend, Clinical Psychologist, wrote an article called “How to Deal with Self-Criticism.” He recommends we know what a “healthy judge sounds like.”
“You need a model of what healthy is so that you can improve what you have. A healthy judge has two aspects: it is (1) warm and (2) accurate. Accurate has to do with the truthfulness of the judge’s perspective. A healthy judge should cheer you when you succeed and prompt you to change when you fail. Unhealthy judges will tend to prompt us when we’ve done nothing wrong (a false positive-like making you feel you broke the speed limit when you didn’t). They will also not prompt us when they need to (false negative-like saying nothing when you cheat on your income tax return). These inaccurate conscience judges don’t do you any good! Only an accurate one does the job right.”
Call to Action:
Become aware of your misguided judge and start listening to the warm and loving one.
Check out Dr. John Townsends article: https://drtownsend.com/deal-self-criticism/