How to Transform Your Inner Critic

Some things can’t be explained, and a little mystery is a good thing.

That’s what I love about working with Jill Prescott.

Disclaimer: Jill is a good friend and I love her madly.

That’s not why I’m writing this.

I want you to know about Jill because working with her is life-changing. I’ve worked with many coaches, healers, and mentors over the years, and very few have had the impact I’ve experienced with this woman.

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” – Albert Schweitzer

I’m writing this because Jill is one such human being, and I know what awaits those who register for her new program, Embrace Your Humanity.

It’s about acknowledging and transforming your inner critic.

Yes, we all have at least one, and too often it can feel like it’s living your life instead of YOU living your life.

Self-help advice like ‘love yourself’ and ‘don’t listen to that voice in your head’ is useless when you’re caught up in the inner critic’s world of judgment and negativity.

That’s where Jill comes in, and if you let her, she’ll guide you from that place of judgment to a new reality called self-love.

Here’s her story.

You've been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. - Louise Hay

How to Transform Your Inner Critic (and embrace your humanity)

 I’m interested in people falling in love with themselves.

I’m convinced if that happened the world would change dramatically and instead of being surrounded by fear, self hate, anger and regret we would embody peace, love, grace and joy.

Sounds like utopia right?

Well what if you simply started with you?

By now, we all are aware that we must start with ourselves if we have any hope of transforming the world around us.

Through much personal growth, and downright determination I’ve come to realize that the very first step on that journey is to find out what’s really going on inside your own head.

You may be surprised if you slow down and just listen for a minute. When I did what I heard was “well that was dumb” and “idiot” and “DO NOT leave. This is as good as it’s gonna get for you”.

Turns out I was dealing with an Inner Critic. Several, actually. And as I began to dig deeper into this topic I realized it’s an epidemic.

You can find 2,419 books by typing Inner Critic into the search engine on Amazon alone! Two thousand, four hundred and nineteen books. Wow.

So I bought about half of them and started reading. (a slight exaggeration.)

Symptoms of the Inner Critic:

  1. Sleeplessness
  2. Can’t make decisions
  3. Afraid to leave a job/relationship/group of friends that you know isn’t working for you anymore
  4. Stress and anxiety

How many can you relate to?

There are a lot more, and I put a check mark beside about 90% of them.

I lost my shit for a while when I got the full impact of what was going on. It was scary as hell.

For those that don’t know me, I’m not quite 5 feet tall and under a C-note in weight. I don’t fall over too easily, and when I do, you can bet I won’t stay down for long.

I rallied and got to work. It started while I was in a program Sandi offered a few years ago, and while the inner critic conversation was a small part of the overall program, the impact it had on me was profound.

It had such a massive impact that I started teaching my clients how to work with it, turning it from inner critic to inner guide.

The shifts people experienced were nothing short of miraculous, and it started by being willing to listen to and face what I had been telling myself all those years. I had continued suffering long after the initial trauma as over.

Through this work, I took back my life.

I started saying “no” to the things and people who were not right for me.

I saw my value and stopped being dominated by the nonsense going on in my head.

Did it end the negative self talk completely?

No, but that’s normal, and a part of being human.

“A destructive thought process exists within all of us, and we are plagued to varying degrees by an internal dialogue that is harmful, restrictive, and at its ultimate extreme, self-destructive.” – Lisa Firestone

What’s unusual is how quickly I now catch it. I can look at where it came from, and decide if it’s something I can use to my benefit or simply let it go.

That’s what I want for you.

 

* Jill has generously offered a spot to one of my readers. To qualify, please visit this post on Facebook and tell us how you think this program would help you.

 

Meditate Right Now

 

Amida Buddha, the largest Buddha outside of China, at the Lahaina Jodo Mission.

 We know that meditation is good for us.

  • On a physical level, meditation can reduce your blood pressure, boost your immune system, diminish chronic pain, and that’s just for starts.
  • Emotionally, meditation brings greater calm, a feeling of spaciousness and a sense of humor about the vagaries of life.
  • Spiritually, meditation is the path to become truly human: loving, patient, understanding, forgiving, clear yet relaxed and playful.

Yet, we resist. We moan and groan, “There’s not enough time.”

We keep putting meditation off until tomorrow, next week, next month. Until illness or death arrives and we’re twisted by fear, wracked with regret.

How can we die peacefully if we haven’t tasted peace of mind in life?

There’s one simple and immediate solution to the problem of no time: Meditate Right Now.

You Can Meditate Right Now

You don’t need elaborate preparations, the right space, incense, or even a meditation cushion.

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How To Stay On Task

 

Imagine this scene: You want to get fit and you have joined your local gym with a view to setting up a fitness regime toot suite.

You have all the best intentions and just know that this time you really will follow through with the promises you have made to yourself!

Just to make especially sure though, you have even entered all your intended gym visits for the following month into your planner so as to remove your usual excuse of not having time.

And there’s no messing around because the first time you have scheduled is tomorrow immediately after work.

The only problem is you have no way of knowing how you will feel tomorrow after a long days work. You may feel great and pumped at the thought of pumping iron. Or indeed you may not. Fatica quasi Gioia: photo credit - Marco Crupi

Then tomorrow comes and it’s an insanely hectic day with work. You have no time to even take lunch and your expected leaving time of 4:00pm becomes 5:30pm.

Not that that is a problem or reason to not go because you know your partner will happily start dinner in your absence. You have nothing to rush home for that can’t wait until you have had some much deserved ‘you time’.

What do you do?

If you’re like most people, here is the answer to that question.

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Exploring the Source of Intention

 

A guest post from Lenke Sifko. It has been a privilege to work with her and she generously agreed to share something she wrote after one of our conversations. 

It is no secret to me, I know that intention is clearly a big player in the attainment of my goals, and the creation of the life I want to lead. Intention is the foundation for which these visions, goals and dreams are built. Now well along this road, sometimes by years, sometimes by progress and sometimes by curious digression, I find myself once again engaging in a new connection with my personal, creative and vocational dreams.

This day begins with an electricity in the air of my inner landscape.

I feel as though I am standing in the path of a rare and enigmatic breeze.

I sit down on the side of the road.

I my thoughts drift to pondering “the how” of how I create my intentions. I find my awareness moving in a new direction, to a place that takes me back further, to thinking about what comes before intention —to the source from which I create my intentions.

Source — “a thing or place from which anything comes, arises, or is obtained.”

This opens up thoughts about creation, and the difference between creating FOR and creating FROM. I realize that I have so often created my intentions “for” something.

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Post Cards from Someday

 

postcards from Maui

If someday sent you a postcard, what would be on it?

 

When I first saw the title of Andrea Olson’s guest post I had my doubts. I thought, “Doesn’t she know how I feel about someday?” But then I read the post and realized she does know and she’s got a unique spin on it that she shares in today’s guest post. 

When I was a teenager, I read a work of fiction re-imagining Charles Darwin’s journey to the Galapagos Islands. I tumbled so deeply into the story that I felt I was there; observing the wildlife, feeling the sweat run down my back under the heat of the equatorial sun, making notes in a battered leather notebook.

Upon finishing the book, I said to my mom, “Someday, I’m going to go to the Galapagos Islands.” She merely nodded and continued folding the laundry.

Fast-forward some twenty years. I’m standing before a large cardboard box that holds the contents of my career as a lawyer. Random papers. Chewed up pencils. A plaque that describes my many wonderful attributes as the employee of the month. A half-eaten Snickers bar.

I have just quit my job. After many fits and starts, I’ve finally admitted to myself that I do not want to practice law. I simply don’t like it and I’m not doing it again. Nope. Never.

Despite my resolve never to practice law again, I have no idea what I’m going to do next. Even more frightening, I have no idea what I want to do next. None what-so-ever.

That is when someday sweeps in to save me.

An oversized post card arrives in the mail describing a trip to the Galapagos Islands, leaving in two weeks.

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The Power of Focus (or How Happiness is Like Mountain Biking)

mountain bike on red dirt road

Melissa Dinwiddie shares an excerpt from her e-book Creating Happiness: 9 Essential Secrets for Creative People (and Everybody Else). Melissa is one of the most creative people I know and I’m delighted to have her here while I’m on vacation. Aloha!

A trek up a mountain on a borrowed bike taught me a lot about how shifting focus, even just a fraction of an inch, can radically alter your ride through life.

A few years ago, I went mountain biking on Mount Tamalpais, a mountain east of the famous San Francisco Bay.

As it was my first time actually biking on anything other than pavement, I was fortunate to have a companion for the day who worked as a volunteer coach for a high school mountain bike team. He gave me a lot of tips on how to get up the mountain while staying vertical, and perhaps more importantly, how to get back down.

To any veteran mountain biker, our trail was such a novice one that it would be utterly boring. To me, who was a novice biker at the time, it seemed impossibly rocky. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that the tip I remember most from that day was how to avoid those throw-you-off-your-bike stones that invariably seem to appear right where your wheel is aimed.

The secret?

Don’t look at the rock; look at the clear spot next to it.

How many times, I wondered, had I been toodling around the neighborhood on my bike, and ridden right over the thing—stone, pine cone, crack in the pavement—I was most wanting to avoid?

As my mountain bike coach explained, your wheel will automatically go where you look, so if you look at the rocks while riding, that’s exactly where you’ll go. If you shift your gaze an inch over to look at the clearing, however, you’ll “magically” avoid those nasty bike-tumbling rocks.

It’s not really magic, of course. And it’s an idea that you can apply to more than mountain biking.

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How Uncertainty Became My CEO

 

The Aloha Guest Posts: While I’m away on vacation a few of my extraordinary friends will be keeping the fire stoked, sharing their wisdom and enthusiasm for living out loud. First up is Padma Maxwell of Get Your Thrive On who’s walking her talk, following her own dreams wherever they take her and as you’ll see she’s not always sure where that is!

 

Uncertainty consistently showed up at my door unexpected and uninvited. Yet, when I’d open the door, she didn’t say anything, she just stared at me. She was by far the most unsocial and unfriendly neighbor I had. I was always intimidated when I’d see her and unsure how to even hold a conversation with her.

She’d sit on her front porch watching the neighborhood go about their routines with a glare of “I told you so” in her eyes.

One afternoon, I was struggling with some heavy machinery in my garden and no one offered to help, except for Uncertainty. She came to my aid and devised an alternate solution to tilling my flowerbed. She was silent but offered her full attention and effort.

I had no idea how hard Uncertainty was willing to work to help out a stranger.

So, I invited her over for a home-cooked meal.  After a bottle of Cab Sauvignon, I shared with her my secret idea for a documentary project.

woman made of puzzle piecesI was a little embarrassed because it was after all, just an idea; a crazy one at that.

I knew nothing about films, cameras or managing a project.

She didn’t laugh or tell me how unrealistic it was going to be to pull it off.

Quite shockingly, her response were four words that changed my life. . .

“Let’s do this together.”

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Creating Space for the Holidays

 

The Vagabondage Series:  Wherein Elana creates space and lets the holidays in.

 

If you’re reading this, you made it through the recent Black Friday holiday shopping frenzy. Congratulations. If you participated, you have my admiration for surviving it, and if you didn’t, you have my admiration for choosing not to.

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or La Posada, the holidays are a busy stretch of rituals, drunk uncles, symbolism, and festivity. Although, in recent years, the winter holiday season has become less synonymous with its original meaning  and more reminiscent of a feverish 30-day shopping extravaganza. Malls and boutiques are crawling with people and lousy with so-called bargains. Advertising and marketing departments spare no tactics or expense with glitzy, over-the-top commercial and print ads featuring the hottest electronics, cosmetics, fashion, food, and all manner of tchotchkes.

But you know that isn’t what it’s all about, right? Continue reading

The First 66 Days of Taking Better Care of Yourself

 

The Homage to Self-Care continues with C.A. Kobu delivering a generous helping of wisdom and self-care resources! 

 

You’ve been reading fantastic articles about self-care during this month-long Homage to Self-Care.

You learned about different methods of practicing radical self-care.

[pullquote]“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental states.” – Carol Welch[/pullquote]

You realized you could be selfish.

And you discovered the formula for an instant self-care vacation along with many other fabulous lessons.

Now you’re inspired enough to start a love affair with yourself. And the first step of that love affair is resolving to make self-care a deep-rooted habit.

  • How long will it take for you to be able to say that self-care is a part of your daily life?
  • When will you be able to feel the joy and comfort of having attended the needs of your mind, body and soul?

You must have heard that it takes 28 or 30 days to form a habit, but let me tell you that it’s not true.

66 Days in a Row

According to a recent research reported in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 66 days on average for a healthy resolution to become an enduring habit.

This means, unless you commit to taking better care of yourself for 66 days in a row, self-care will not a become a part of your life.

It will sit there in the air just as an idea you cherish and be excited about from time to time whenever something makes you realize how much you need to care for yourself.

It will remain as a “should” or a “must” but it will never be a soothing and healing part of your daily life. Thus, your love affair with yourself will be nothing but a one-night stand.

You don’t want that, do you?

So, I’m here to challenge you to commit to a 66-day program.

Will you join me? If you do, the rewards will be terrific and you will have formed a powerful habit of daily self-care!

You can’t cut your well-being out of any part of your life, including your business. So, it’s about time you (and I) started working on this long-neglected relationship.

[pullquote]“Motivation is not a matter of will-power, it is a matter of want-power.” – Paul Karasik[/pullquote]

But Be Careful About Your Motivators

Self-care should not stem from fear or blind ambition. It’s true that when you take better care of yourself, you become healthier, slimmer and more beautiful. But you should accept these delights only as the natural byproducts of self-care and not consider them the sole goal of your efforts.

In other words, commit to taking better care of yourself chiefly because you love yourself and you know you deserve that kindness.

Your Free 66-Day Self-Care Program

Each week of your 66-day self-care program includes a writing/journaling exercise, breathing and fitness exercises, meditation and/or yoga and another activity that will strengthen your relationship with your body.

 

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An Affair of Self-Care

 

The Homage to Self-Care welcomes Jackie Walker’s perspective on self-care, relationships and self-love. 

 

When Sandi asked me if I’d like to do a guest post on self-care, I jumped at the chance as this is exactly what I’ve been putting in place for 8 years now. In the process of learning, I’ve had hurdles, I’ve had setbacks, I’ve had jubilant moments of gloriousness.

It’s been a roller coaster of self-care. And that’s ok because if you even know that you’re on the roller coaster, you’re mastering the art of self-care!

Building a relationship with yourself is one of the hardest things to do. It seems counter intuitive at times, until you learn that it’s the whole point of your life. Everyone else and everything else is simply there to give you a chance to notice where you aren’t caring for and loving yourself.

There are so many tough lessons for us all to learn, until we realise how to make it easy on ourselves. A lot of that is down to resistance and perspective. Without resistance things flow. To stop resistance, change your perspective.

If only it were that simple!

I got into the world of personal development after my marriage broke down. Or, I’d be more correct in saying after I broke down in my marriage.

faceless woman and mask against wall The people who show up in a relationship are often not themselves.

I wasn’t, and I’m sure you’ll have been in a relationship – business or personal – when you haven’t been yourself.

So if the person who isn’t showing up, then chooses to show up, it’s almost like an affair, there’s a third-party. Given that all day, everyday, you are relating to others, it would be extreme self-care to relate as you, the real you, the one you sometimes don’t like and would rather you’d left at home!

One of the things that used to stump me was knowing who I really was in order to be that person. When I started paying attention to my thoughts, my feelings and my body, I soon found what felt good and what didn’t.

I spent ages just getting to know when I was feeling naturally good, and when I was feeling unnaturally charged or drained. Unnaturally charged or drained seemed to come about through the wrong food, the wrong situations, the wrong company, the wrong words, the wrong answers etc. Following the advice in the rest of this glorious series, will give you starting points to help you find the natural you.

If you knew how to turn up as yourself in your relationship, what would that mean you had to start doing, or stop being?

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