Updated: Feb 3, 2021
What is the Inner Critic?
The inner critic is awful. If there is anyone I hate, it is her. She is mean, she is loud and she is relentless. Most days we make it through in peace, then there are just days where I succumb to the constant nitpicking and questioning and end up in a right foul mood. It’s not usually a personal attack on my appearance or body size, that I have managed to get a hold of (I think that comes with age - less s**ts are given). My inner critic goes for my relationship. The comments come in the form of interrogation and it is relentless. I think Matt might learn a lot about me here, but I am very honest with him about it. I don’t want to go into my past too much, but to understand what I am going to talk about here, you will need to know that I was married. I was with my ex for just over 9 years and married for just over 2. I did not marry him with a view of getting divorced, I don’t think anyone does! But here I am, 30 and divorced. You needed to know this snippet of my past because the most loved question from my inner critic is ‘how can you be sure about Matt when you were sure enough to get married and that ended?’ Basically, everything I now do is based on what happened before and I know that this is no way to live, but trying to get over that massive life event is hard. I was sure enough to marry someone, how can I ever be sure about any relationships here on in? So now, when I am having a bad day, or Matt has annoyed me, that is where my mind goes, down into the dark hole of what if’s and uncertainties. The truth however, is of course a lot different. No relationship is without it’s arguments and annoyances, it’s just about finding that balance between the good and the bad and right now there is a lot more good in my relationship than there is bad, it’s just hard to remember then when the inner critic has worn you down. Me and Matt go out regularly (well pre lock down we did), we have a laugh, we like the same TV shows, we value time apart, we listen to each other (well we are working on that), we support each other and encourage each other - well at least I think we do. Many times what is insignificant gets blown way out of proportion because I just apply what is happening now to a past event and I react rather than respond. (Read my earlier blog about ‘Taking it Personally’).
What I have Learnt from My Inner Critic
Over the last year, here is what I have learnt about my inner critic: Just listen, you don’t have to respond to her, let her know you value her opinion but do not want to overthink the situation and move on She prays when I am weak, when I am tired or emotional she pounces and takes a hold She gets set off by very small insignificant events or comments If I catch her in time I can limit the damage It’s hard to catch her before she takes hold but I am working on it, meditation helps Her comments are just thoughts, thoughts are not the truth She can be useful when kept in check The hardest thing is knowing how to deal with her. If I catch her in time I can steer her away from the destructive path she is trying to lead me down. A bit like a thought in meditation, we are told to just let it go, like a cloud floating by. I have had entire evenings spent following her round dark voids. Luckily now I am becoming more aware of her and I can take back control. Many people struggle with their inner critic, some can just let them do their thing and go about their day like normal, for others, it is a lot harder not to be drawn into a spiral where your whole life is a mess and you cannot make sense of anything. I hope for you reading this, that you have a hold on your inner critic. Thank you x