I have always enjoyed curse words. There is something that “darn” and “shucks” just doesn’t convey as well as their explicit counterparts. It’s all about the emphasis baby!
I've learned to tone down my use of these words over the years but I've noticed that my Inner Critic more than picks up the slack in the curse word department. Consider yourself warned.
I became aware that I had this voice inside my head about 12 years ago during a time when I was really struggling. The binges and compulsive eating episodes were frequent and I was trying to combat the inevitable weight gain through exercise. On one particular day, I went out for a run and my mP3 player ran out of batteries. And that’s when it started:
“Ugh. That sucks. How are you ever going to get through this run without your music? You might as well just stop.”
But for whatever reason I decided to keep going. And without the distraction of my music, I began to pay attention to the dialogue in my head. And wow. Let’s just say I noticed that voice talking some pretty serious smack. Here’s what it said to me on that day:
“No wonder you are so slow. Your legs are so heavy and your ass is so big. How could you have let this happen? Just stop. Just stop overeating already. What the hell is wrong with you? Why can’t you get a handle on this?! All it takes is a little discipline. A little self-control. You have the symbol for determination tattooed on your fucking foot. Get your shit together.”
It suddenly made complete sense to me why my runs were feeling so hard. If this was the narrative in my mind, how could I possibly feel good?
And from that day forward, I began to really become aware of this voice inside of my head. I've learned so much about this voice over the years. I’ve learned that it is all over the place - flitting from thought to thought and that it doesn’t shut up. It is the first to judge. The first to criticize. The first to tell me I am not good enough.
We all have this voice - this Inner Critic. This is that voice that says "your butt is too big”, “you are not a good mom, a good wife, a good friend”. This is the voice that spirals into comparison-mode every time you log onto social media and doesn't hesitate to let you know where you fall short. The general theme of this voice is that in some way shape or form, you are not enough.
And what I noticed over time is that one of the reasons I ate was to SHUT UP this voice. We will disregard what it said after a food raid but in the moment I was stuffing my face, the voice was silent. The crunching and the chewing temporarily drowned out all the negative self-talk.
I’ll be totally honest, one of the reasons I am writing this post is because ever since I launched this blog, my Inner Critic has been really loud and really mean. All of my insecurities and all of my doubts have come back with a vengeance. But this is also giving me the opportunity to practice what I preach. To implement all the strategies I’ve learned that have helped me shift my mindset and challenge my limiting beliefs - the very same strategies I teach my clients. And it is allowing me to feel all those doubts and insecurities. To really feel them. Not push them down with food. Or run away from them. It is giving me the chance to push out of my comfort zone and stand firmly in the face of fear.
It takes work. It takes practice and persistence. But the beauty comes in building awareness. Because awareness can help us realize that we also have the power to change. And my friends, if there is one thing that I have learned that I can share with you it is that:
We CAN challenge our Inner Critic. We CAN silence our limiting beliefs. And we CAN rewrite our story.
The way I see it is that we have a choice. We can use the voice inside our head to lift us up or we can let it push us down. I don’t know about you but the latter doesn’t seem all that supportive. I want to make an effort to choose the former. Who's with me?