Tag Archives: inner critic

Why do we worry so much?

Worry is a form of self denial. Humans do it to negate their circumstances and keep themselves feeling small. If they would boldy choose, make a decision, act, life would proceed much more smoothly, but this would enable greater rates of change and change can be scary, confronting and uncomfortable. Worry therefore avoids this future discomfort by creating discomfort now!

It is like a brake on a car. It gets stomped on to slow things down. And just like pushing the accelerator and brake at the same time results in no movement, just wasted fuel and strain on the vehicle, the same occurs to the human body which feels pulled forward to act and worry stops it doing so.

Worry creates strain in the body, it improves nothing and in that sense is useless. Instead speak the truth to yourself. When facing potential conflict or a decision you are scared to make, simply say “I am unsure of what to do here. Instead of being nervous or worrying, I give myself permission to go slow until I have clarity on what to do”. That way you can still feel good and take the time you need. You don’t have to worry and feel bad to slow down taking action.

Likewise if the worry is due to fear of conflict or rejection, you can say to yourself “I am scared of being hurt in this situation. I am going to nurture myself and be kind to myself, knowing I feel vulnerable. I will love and accept myself, and that is what matters most. Whatever else does occur, I will be okay, because I will be loyal to myself and treat myself well. I am strong enough to cope with whatever occurs because I am my own best friend. If I sense danger I will simply leave and I will let someone know where I am going so they can check in with me after to see if I’m okay. I won’t force myself to do things I am not ready for. It is okay to take small steps towards my goals. It is okay to do what I need to do when I can and to wait and rest until I am able”.

Many of you push yourselves too hard. You simply expect too much of yourselves and then wonder why your body is feeling fatigued or less than 100% well. If you toss and turn at night, instead of sleeping, it is your body’s way of telling you – choose peace, choose calm, choose rest.

Honour yourself. Heal the part of you that is worrying, comfort and reassure them, they need your love. For it is just a part of you that is worried or scared. It is not your whole self. Just a part, a younger part that needs to feel safe, protected and looked after. That is your job, to support that younger, inner part of you, so they don’t need to sabotage your efforts to protect you from what they fear will happen. Send them love, thank them for caring about you and bathe them in healing golden light, so they can drop their burdens and cares. Invite them into your heart, hug them and welcome them home, to rest and recover in your heart centre, your sacred room of love. There they can rest and recover feeling safe, loved and at peace. They no longer need to be afraid as you will take care of things, they can relax. You will listen to their concerns and take any appropriate measures as a result.

There are many parts of you that have strong feelings or preferences as to how you act and listening to their concerns, befriending them and then deciding after weighing up their input, will result in much smoother outcomes. They won’t need to shout at you any more or keep you small. The loud inner voices which may have kept you in pain will quieten, as they feel heard, valued, and supported. You can then go about your life without negative interference from within.

In this sense you can see worrying is a form of protection, a part of your inner guidance system that you can learn from. When you do so, the worry drops away and life becomes much more peaceful and enjoyable. Blessed BE, Amen.

By Jodi-Anne M Smith (03 February 2017).
Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.
Advertisements

How to stop making yourself wrong?

If you were abused as a child, you were constantly told or shown that whatever you did was not good enough, not acceptable, basicaly wrong.

Even though the issue was really the emotional state of the parent / abuser, to you as the child, it would have seemed that you were the problem, that there was a fault, a flaw, an imperfection with you. You probably beat yourself up a lot, trying to work it out, “What exactly is it that is wrong with me?”.

An abuser is likely to have told you off for what you said, how you stood and looked at them, for being defiant or a smart ass, for talking back, and sometimes for simply breathing and being alive. In essence it felt like everything about you was wrong or not good enough, not acceptable or okay.

should-have-done1This sets up a pattern of self-loathing, even if you believe the abuser is full of shit, making it up, f*cked up. Even if you do place the blame on them, part of you still wonders “Am I to blame? Is something i’m doing provoking them? How can I change who I am to be less offensive?”

You certainly change who you are by watching carefully all that occurs, trying to make sense of a situation that does not make sense. You lose your innocence, your spontaneity and start becoming the watcher, the cautious one, the guarded and over protective one. In essence, you lose access to your soft, vulnerable, innocent self, your authentic self, as all these defense mechanisms kick in to protect you.

As a part of keeping yourself safe you will have developed a very strong inner Judge and Critic, who keep watch and tell you when you are doing something wrong. They become very strict monitoring your every move and they work with the inner Controller and Pusher to modify your behaviour and control your every move.

When this team of sub-personalities take over life can be very bleak. They push you to do what they think will protect you best. They watch you and criticise you first, before any one else gets a chance to, because then they can force you to modify your behaviour to be less susceptible to getting told off or abused from others. However, you are now being abused from within. There is no kindness, no rest, no fun, when this is the team controlling your ship. If these have become your dominant sub-personalities or primary selves, life becomes very painful indeed.

This inner team of voices hounds you, day in, day out, telling you what you could do better, how you should have behaved, or what you should have said. What you did do or say is never enough. It could always be better. This team thinks they are helping you avoid confrontation. They are in essence trying to help, but it is a painful process.

The habit of feeling wrong, bad, not good enough, can become so strong that you come to think of yourself as a bad person, an unworthy human being who doesn’t deserve to be alive. It is very cruel and unnecessary.

Once you are an adult and no longer in your abusive childhood home, you don’t need this barage of judgement, criticism and control to continue, but it does until you learn how to switch it off. You do so by becoming aware of the patterns, listening for those inner voices and urges, and simply chosing to ignore them.

When the Judge comes in and says “That wasn’t good enough”, you can simply reply “I know I could have done better, but it was good enough”. When the Critic comes in and says “You are terrible, you should have …….”, you can simply say “I am no longer willing to put myself down. I am not listening to you”. As its voice ramps up, you can say “Look, I know you think you are helping me, but you are not. What I need now is for you to have a rest, a holiday, to go away and let me live in peace. I can handle it now. You have done a good job in the past. When I was in danger, you did keep me safe. But I am not in danger now and I need you to turn down the volume, so I can focuson enjoying life more and have more fun, friendships, inner peace and joy in my life. The war is over! You helped me survive it. But now it is a time of peace and you deserve to rest, to go on holiday, and to let other aspects of me come to the fore, to guide me in this phase of my life. Thank you for all that you have done, but it is time for a change of guard, a change to who is the dominant sub-personalities operating in my life. Please step back and let this change occur.”

When you can do this, have these inner conversations with those parts of yourself, they will listen. They will watch and test whether you mean it. They will observe whether or not you really are safe without their feedback and constant response. If they can see you truly are okay, then they will back off. It is not all of you beating yourself up. It is just these parts of you and they were doing it, trying to help you.

Likewise, the Pusher was trying to get you to do certain things to keep you safe, or to achieve certain things because then you might finally get the recognition you deserve, or break free from dependency on others through a successful career, finanical independence.  These parts of you were helping in the only way they knew how. They didn’t realise it harmed you or caused you pain. They simply didn’t notice that or felt it was a minor, acceptable outcome, for a higher good. Their focus was on the goal of keeping you safe, avoiding  abuse, and therefore safe and isolated from other people, from your heart and the pain within it, and from all the softness of life. This was their job to keep you safe. They have worked hard, thank them and let them know the war is over. You have won, largely due to them.

Many of us have been free of our abusive childhood homes fro decades, yet we still act as if we are there, constantly looking out for danger, reacting in fight or flight and being wary of all tha occurs around us. It is a painful way to be. We have to learn how to turn these defense mechanisms off, so we can finally relax and enjoy life. Talking to your sub-personalities, thanking them for how they have helped you and explaining what your new goals are and ways they could help you now, is a big part of this change.

Instead of telling you off all the time, the Critic can be asked to monitor when your body is getting tired and to let you know to rest. It can be asked to gently let you know when you are being too serious and you need to lighten up and have some fun. You give them a new job description, so to speak, so they can still serve you, but in ways tha help you to achieve today’s goals.

You can ask the Pusher to help motivate you to exercise and eat well or to connect with others, instead of isolating yourself. You can ask the Judge to remind you when you are being unkind to yourself or others, or to alert you when there is an opportunity that would be beneficial to accept.

positive inner helperYou ask this inner team to become your greatest supporters, to show their love for you, by helping you achieve today’s goals. The past is the past. You don’t need to live there any more. Time to upgrade your inner workings to reflect life now, and life now can be full of love, joy and connection, so be it. Amen.

(For more on sub-personality theory, see Hal and Sidra Stone’s Voice Dialogue).

By Jodi-Anne (24 April 2016).
Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.

Creating self-forgiving thoughts exercise

This exercise helps you to learn how to talk nicely to yourself when you do something you’re not very happy with yourself about. Instead of criticising yourself it shows you how to think self-forgiving thoughts. You don’t need to scold or punish yourself when you do something in a lesser way than you’d like. You can actually choose to be compassionate to yourself instead – it’s up to you!!

In this exercise, you create a set of columns and rows – a matrix (as outlined below). Then you use this matrix to reorient your thoughts and feelings from self-attacking thoughts to self-forgiving thoughts. An example showing how the process works is included below.

Here is the format:

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

Example

A few seconds ago, I knocked a cup of coffee onto my computer. For me, that counts as a distressing situation. Therefore, it’s a good experience to plug into the matrix. Here is how I began to fill in the boxes.

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

I spilled my coffee onto my computer

Frustration

Guilt

Nervousness

In the first column, I simply describe the situation. In the second column, I make a list of some of my feelings: in this case, frustration (with myself), guilt (about my mistake), and nervousness (about the repercussions of the situation). I find it helpful to make this feeling list. By naming our specific feelings, we bring them up into awareness. We take ourselves out of denial. We reduce the tendency to ‘squash things down’.

Next, we use our feelings to move on to the underlying thoughts. The relationship between feelings and thoughts is like the relationship between smoke and fire. Distressing feelings are the smoke. Distressing thoughts are the fires that give rise to the smoke. In this case, where there’s smoke, there is fire – where there are distressing feelings, there are distressing thoughts underneath. In column three, we uncover the thoughts that are fuelling the feelings. Here is what I came up with.

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

I spilled my coffee onto my computer

Frustration

Guilt

Nervousness

That was such a dumb thing to do. I should be more careful. My computer is probably going to break now, and it’s all my fault. I’ll probably have to pay a lot of money to fix it. People are going to laugh at me if they see how careless I am.

As you can see, I uncovered three sets of self-attacking thoughts in column three. I probably could have come up with many more – but these were a good start. Writing them out in the matrix was extremely helpful. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware of these thoughts until I wrote them out. As I filled in this third column, the key was to realise that my feelings (in column two) were coming from my thoughts (in column three), not simply from the situation. You could say that the situation was a ‘trigger’ for the thoughts. I’m certainly not glad that I spilled coffee on my computer. But it was the thoughts that I needed to work on now.

Let’s move to column four – the heart of this exercise. In the final column of the matrix, you substitute self-forgiving thoughts for each of the self-attacking thoughts in column three. This is the big step. This turns the mind from self-criticism to self-forgiveness; from distress to peace. As you do this, you can focus on simply moving in the right direction. You don’t have to take a huge leap into complete forgiveness; you can take a series of little steps. Every bit of progress is helpful. Here is what I came up with, as I made this substitution.

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

I spilled my coffee onto my computer

Frustration

Guilt

Nervousness

That was such a dumb thing to do. I should be more careful. My computer is probably going to break now, and it’s all my fault. I’ll probably have to pay a lot of money to fix it. People are going to laugh at me if they see how careless I am.

It wasn’t a dumb thing to do; it was simply an accident; And besides – my worth isn’t dependent on how ‘careful’ I am. Actually the computer seems fine. But even if I do need to repair the computer, I can do that in a self-forgiving state of mind. If people laugh at me, that’s their problem. Everyone makes mistakes at times.

Those self-forgiving thoughts may not have been the ‘highest’ thoughts in the world, but they helped me to shift my mind toward a more self-forgiving space. As I did that, the feelings of frustration, guilt, and nervousness were replaced – to some degree – by a greater sense of peace and self-acceptance. That is the goal of this exercise.

I find that this ‘cognitive restructuring’ work – replacing self-attacking thoughts with self-forgiving thoughts – is like priming a pump. We locate our self-attacking thoughts, and replace them with self-forgiving thoughts. We do this mechanical work over and over until the flow of loving, forgiving thoughts begins to run on its own. There is some work to do at the beginning, but we’re simply preparing our minds to receive the divine flow.

Conclusion:

Use this exercise whenever you catch yourself thinking self-attacking thoughts. Change them into self-forgiving thoughts. Over time you will find that your thinking automatically becomes self-forgiving whenever you do anything you are not 100% happy with yourself about. It will eventually become habit.

(This exercise comes from: Joseph D, 2004, The Matrix, Living Now, September 2004, Queensland issue 66, p22)

Your turn

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts