“Hold back the river, let me look in your eyes, Hold back the river, so I can stop for a minute and see where you hide, Hold back the river, hold back”. James Bay
I often find that when I start to make positive changes to my life there is always something that stands in my way and that something is usually myself. I often question which part of my self is the thing that is stopping me. What part of my inner being is running the show. We are all so critical of ourselves and each other with judgement that we get lost in it and forget to actually question what the critic is actually saying. Is your inner critic holding you back? Does the inner critic get in the way? Is it a friend or foe? This past few weeks I have been experimenting with this and it has made me look at what it is that often stops me when I am on the road to success and interestingly what I found wasn’t exactly what I expected.
I discovered in the investigation that my inner critic was running the show but what I found was that the reason it was running the show wasn’t what I thought it was. Normally its a beating, a self bashing, a who do you think you are, which is what I was hearing. But I found it was running an old pattern that originally helped me out of an intense and scary situation 12 years before. Something in my current life had connected to this feeling and I was feeling overwhelmed and running around like a chicken with its head cut off not getting anything done but feeling really busy. I found that my critic was running in the same pattern now that originally got me out of the situation. What was more interesting was I was still running from the reality of the situation 12 years before and hadn’t realised it.
I was the one running and my critic was trying to get me to stop, look and see how far I’d come. I needed to look at what actually occurred in the situation which at the time was scary and intense. So in that moment of awareness I decided it was time to stop, the thought was scary even 12 years later. I decided to stop and say No! No more and what happened from here was incredible.
My inner critic became my friend, its perspective was clear and it wasn’t critical but it offered a new type of criticism, constructive & loving! I realised that back then I didn’t really love myself much at all and I was only listening to the non constructive things my inner critic was saying to me and so it just gave me more until I left the situation.
I used a diagnostic constellation to get a clear perspective and it showed me the truth which for 12 years I had not been willing to look at the truth. The truth that love was there in the intensity of my relationship and that even though the situation was dire and I felt fearful, I continued to run….until now. Interestingly my inner critic actually became the part of me that got me out of a bad situation. It amazes me how deeply we continue to feel like we are in situations that we are no longer in, especially when something presents that is similar.
Yes it was a terrible situation full of fear but that fear blinded me to see a full perspective of the situation. That also included the perspective of the other person. I saw that it was the fear of losing love that was actually the driver for all. By stopping and seeing the reality of the situation, the fear was released and the critic became my friend with a new type of criticism…. lovingly constructive.
So I ask you this, how is your inner critic running the show? what is it really saying to you? Are you treating it as a friend or foe? Are you accepting what it has to say? and are you really listening to the direction it is pointing you in? Has the non constructive criticism got a louder voice that if you are willing to really hear that will tell you a different story about yourself. Are you continuing to use it as a whipping boy to stop you from succeeding or are you ready to listen to the truth of the voice which is constructive.
The critic never goes away but if you can stop rejecting it or listening to it in its current form, you can accept it as part of you and find the good in it, it may even be able to serve you to succeed. The inner critic is a powerful part of yourself that offers you feedback and learning, that can see parts of the situation that you may have unconsciously missed and it will become a friend.
The critic can critique your work, your life but invite love into the voice of the critic and that changes everything. The critic becomes softer, it’s still a critic but it has empathy and love for you and for others. The softer your critic the softer you judgement of yourself and others. In not seeing what our inner critic is truly showing us we often create a busy & competitive culture, keeping up with the jones. Are we enough? We need to do more? I find that busy means I am running and now I will ask what am I running from.
Your inner critic works in mysterious ways and genuinely it is there to help you. If your inner critic is particularly strong about others or yourself then well I would say there is more to look at than one thinks.
I am looking forward to loving my inner critic every day, even as I write this my critic is having a field day about what the outer world of critics think. But when I come at it with love, openness, vulnerability and respect, I see that what I am saying is for me and you might enjoy a good read and get something from it and I can leave it there.
I often associate a song with my blog as inspiration for me and today it is, “Hold Back The River” by James Bay, the words are fitting if you sing it to your inner critic, slow it down take a look so you can see where you are and then really go with the flow of life and succeed. Have a listen, great song.
With Love & Gratitude,