Let’s talk about the oppression of our minds. How our minds end up screwing everything up, when we don’t want it to.
In my own life, I know that my worst foe is my inner critic. Maybe you’ve dealt with this inner critic. This voice that seems to pop up out of nowhere, all of a sudden you feel like you’re on fire, and BOOM!
You burst, and you don’t know what happened.
What is this inner critic? Well, it’s really just your ego trying to protect you from something that it’s not sure about. Anything that you do that is a little beyond your comfort zone is the perfect opportunity for that inner critic to creep in.
These unconscious tapes are playing over and over again in your mind like a tape recorder. A lot of people will tell you, “Oh, just ignore it!” Yeah, well how does that work, right?
How do you just ignore it? It’s not possible. For instance, my inner critic used to come up most when I was auditioning for big musicals in NYC. I’d get in the room and start shaking. Pretty embarrassing!
Why? I was trying to ignore the inner critic. I was trying to ignore the nerves. Nope. Doesn’t work. Those nerves are real, it’s how you use them that counts.
The second thing that doesn’t work, is trying to fight it. Trying to beat it out by saying, “Oh, no. I’m not nervous. No, I’m not nervous. I’m not nervous!!!!!”
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare
Think of a bird trapped in a cage. If it wants to get out, it’s going to rattle that cage more and more and more. Sometimes you just have to open up the cage and let the bird out.
So, how do we do that?
Well, we have to give it a new brain! We have to give this inner critic a new way of thinking. This critic in your brain needs a new pattern.
You have to interrupt the brain, put something else in, and change the way that your inner critic sounds. Instead of drinking the gasoline of negative self talk and lighting yourself on fire, I want you to light your inner critic on fire so you can live your light.
I’m going to give you 5 ways to bust through this inner critic, and they get a little more fun as you go.
1. Observe your thoughts
The first one comes from the Buddhists, and they always say to watch your thoughts as if they are clouds passing by.
Now that’s great, but it’s also really hard; especially if you’re in this high pressure cooker situation where you can’t passively watch your thoughts go by, right? You have big things to accomplish. And often they have to be done quick and well.
Here’s another way…
2. Connect to the present
Come back to the present moment. Say, “I’m here.” Just come back. Come back to the now. These thoughts are taking you out of the present moment so you don’t know where you are anymore. Once you get untangled from your mind, you’re more free to think clearly.
If that doesn’t work, which sometimes it doesn’t…
3. Slow your phrase down
Normally, there’s a phrase that’s coming up for your inner critic. Mine is normally, “I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I’m not ready.” Eight percent of the time this phrase is really fast.
Think about your phrase right now. Say it in your head. It’s probably really fast, right? That gives your body a certain neurological response- so slowwwwww it down. “I’m (big pause) Not (bigger pause) Ready (biggest pause).”
It sounds kind of funny, right? It will make you laugh. That’s the point! That starts tripping up the wiring in your brain. It’s like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. Why are we going slow all of a sudden?”
Now if that doesn’t work…
4. Give it a funny voice
What’s your favorite cartoon character? Let’s say it’s Mickey Mouse. So put on your best falsetto, “Hey folks! I’m not ready!” That will really crack you up if you’re a guy! Again, you’re tripping up the brain.
Finally, if that doesn’t work…
5. Break your state
Do something ridiculous! Break your physical pattern, somehow. Maybe you jump up and down and start screaming, “I’m amazing! I’m amazing! I’m amazing! Yeah!” Something like that!
“Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat are within.” – Cervantes
So there you have it, 5 ways to bust through your inner critic. This is really important because I want to see you do those things that you’re meant to do. The main thing holding us back is this voice inside of our heads that produces fear.
Anything is achievable if you really put your mind to it, but only if your mind doesn’t put you to it.
So, my questions for you are:
1.) How does this inner critic show up in your life?
2.) How is this inner critic holding you back?
3.) Which technique can you try to light fire to that inner critic?