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.

 

What are we all so afraid of?

 

When you begin to walk the path from fear to freedom, you’ll notice a shift in energy.

It’s empowering to explore, like an archaeologist digging for answers from the past.

Because really..

What are we all so afraid of?

photo of figure against turbulent black and white sky by Hartwig HKD

Krishnamurti said, “Fear of any kind breeds illusion.” 

This illusion stops us in life, for where we are afraid we are not free.

This illusion keeps us from being with our fears in a way that contributes to our growth and development.

Instead, we try desperately to crush fear, escape it, and worst of all, suppress it – but none of these lead to freedom.

What can you do instead?

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Leaning Into Discomfort

 

Welcome to the discomfort zone.

A place you visit infrequently for all too short periods of time.

Today however, we’re going to get comfortable with discomfort.

Is that even possible?

It absolutely is when you lean into discomfort instead of resisting.

palm trees, Kihei, Maui

It takes leaning into it intentionally because mostly, we’ll do anything to avoid discomfort.

“Discomfort means you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone.” – Seth Godin

 Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.”

I say discomfort is a result of doing something new.

Every time you say yes to something new, discomfort arises. 

And resistance is never far behind.

Your resistance will look like reasons:

  • why you shouldn’t move forward
  • why it was a bad idea in the first place
  • why you should go back to what you were doing before.

So many reasons lulling you to sleep and inaction.

Your lizard brain is like that; it will say anything to get you to stop.

Except, you keep having these thoughts and dreams. . .

Dreams so wondrous they make your heart race.

Trust those dreams, and yourself to take the next step.

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A Few Truths on Fear Busting

You think fear sounds like truth, and then you take action that comes from a lie.

But when you pay attention to how things feels in your body, you start to realize that truth lives in vulnerability and fear is a lie.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.” – Brené Brown

The fear that spins round and round in your brain is not truth, but you live like it is.

Then you keep telling that worn out story because it’s more comfortable than the unknown.

There’s shame in admitting that, so you pretend that you’re fine, that you’re not really paralysed by fear, and you live, metaphorically speaking, in a dark and scary neighbourhood.

That’s what your head is – a dark and scary part of town, that no one in their right mind would choose willingly.

fun and terror with shadows

Years go by, youur dreams fall by the wayside, and you settle for what’s known and secure and you decide that dreams are for other people.

Until one day someone asks, “What dreams did you have for your life?” and a wistful look appears, your voice softens and you speak long suppressed words.

I once dreamed of…

  • writing a book
  • becoming a singer
  • owning a restaurant
  • travelling the world

You give your head a shake, and laugh at your youthful desires.

What the fuck happened to those dreams?

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How to Befriend Your Inner Critic

The inner critic, gremlin, nasty voice in your head – whatever you call it, you’ve got one.

Here’s mine.

She’s harmless enough until something I’ve done (or not done) gets her attention and suddenly…

She unleashes a torrent of judgment and furious opinion that leaves me reeling, some days weeping.

She’s me, not me. A tangle of stories and limiting beliefs accumulated over a lifetime.

She lurks, waiting for just the right moment to pull the rug out from under me triggering feelings of lack, disappointment, and doubt.

Her name is Medusa, and like her namesake who struck fear into the hearts of men, one stinging comment or look from her and I am immobilized.

And yet, I do my best to befriend her, to quiet her strident, demanding voice.

Some days this feels like an exercise in futility; other days I get through to her and the result is always worth the effort.

For Medusa (naming your inner critic is powerful) is not the enemy despite the frenzy she stirs up.

She exists for your survival (one more aspect of your lizard brain), ensuring you stay out of trouble, and she has one overriding goal – to keep you safe.

Everything else, including how you feel, is secondary to that goal.

She shows up, uninvited like an over-zealous friend trying to get her point across without regard for your feelings. You know someone like this; their intentions are good, if somewhat clouded by their questionable tactics.

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The Truth About One-Size-Fits-All

 

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Many of today’s experts and gurus forget this.

It doesn’t matter how much they know. . .if you feel uncomfortable after watching their video.

It doesn’t matter what credentials follow their names. . .if they leave you feeling less than or lacking in any way.

And it absolutely doesn’t matter how many testimonials, followers, and subscribers they have if their offer just doesn’t feel good.

The promises and guarantees make no difference unless YOU know – and feel in your gut – that making a difference for YOU was their primary goal.

“There is no point in going into a business unless you can make a radical difference in other people’s lives.” – Richard Branson

It’s easy to look to the Internet gurus and marketers, but while they are definitely guilty of this practice they’re most assuredly not the only ones doing it.

I’m talking about those long-winded emails that start by scaring the crap out of you. Then, they wrap up with a save-the-day, “let me tell you how it’s done” solution and pressure to buy their new shiny product.

I hate this as much as one-size-fits-all pantyhose! 

Because the truth is. . .

One size? NEVER, EVER fits all.

EVER.

And one solution never applies to life and business (doesn’t matter if we’re talking stockings, marketing or business building!)

There’s never just one solution, and the experts who try to convince you that there is have themselves and their self interests front and centre. Not yours.

RUN away from them as fast as you can, but only after you’ve gone back to their site to unsubscribe!

Truth is they don’t have the solution, nor do they have your interests in mind.

How do I know? They wouldn’t still be using these fear based, angst ridden tactics.

They are out to sell, which in and of itself is not the problem.

It’s that they don’t mind stretching the truth to do so.

Tell Truth: image credit - Ari Moore

 

Coaches do this too. I cringe every time I see it and it makes me wonder. . .

Does anyone tell the truth anymore?

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A Deva Tale (includes a damsel, a villain and a talisman)

 

What do you do when you realize you’ve been resisting what you’re here for?

Maybe you hide out with busy work.

Or stop writing.

Or say yes to shiny new projects that are mostly distractions from…

what you’re here for.

I get it. I feel your pain. And enough is enough.

That’s what I said to myself recently!

I said, “Self, it’s time to stop resisting. It’s time to remember your intention. It’s time to get on with owning your awesome!” 

My Self quivered at this vociferous demand, challenged to find the words to share what’s been going on.

Because you know, I wanted to find the RIGHT words. Which is just another way of holding myself back and waiting for my own…wait for it…someday.

Yes, I know I’m on a mission to obliterate someday thinking from the face of the earth.

Gah. I hate outing myself.

But apparently Self needed a public bitch slap, which is why I’m about to tell this tale.

Let’s go back to the beginning, for sharing the details of how it’s been is always better than waiting for the perfect words someday.

 

Once upon a time there was a wildly enthusiastic woman with a passion for helping others. She did what she had to do to become skilful in her chosen profession, she launched her business with zeal, and she hustled.

She hustled because she loved her work. She fell in love with her perfect people; they lit her up with their enthusiasm and commitment to living life fully.

Then one day something changed, although she had no idea at first what it was.

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Does Your Mind Need a Detox?

 

This time of year inevitably brings up spring cleaning plans of the physical space, both body and home. But that wasn’t enough for me and I began a month-long focus on spring cleaning from the inside out.

Including a detox of the mind.

de·tox

verb – to rid the body of poisonous substances

How do you know if your mind needs a detox? 

Notice how often you think negative thoughts (yes, these are poisonous substances.)

Notice how often you compare, criticize and complain.

With enough time, these ways of being become habitual and toxic, and left alone long enough they will become default; like running on auto-pilot. Which wouldn’t be so bad except this pilot does not have your well-being as a priority.

You may not realize how much that auto-pilot (aka: lizard brain) has taken over your thinking. You may not yet have connected that drained feeling you often experience to the thoughts you repeatedly think and the stories you live like the truth.

Mostly, you probably think if you just took better care of your body you’d have more energy. But it’s not that simple because you are a system, a trinity of mind, body and spirit and if one part is neglected it has an impact on the whole.

Just like the crap that accumulates in your body when you don’t take care of yourself, your mind gets bogged down by crap of another kind, and rather than pretend it’s not there, sweep it out and make room for something new.

So where do you begin this detox?

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Generate Excitement (because you can)

 

BURNING QUESTION:

What is your relationship to excitement?


Confession time. . .I’m easily excited.laughing Buddha sculpture

You weren’t really surprised, were you?

Truth is, some days it hardly takes anything at all and I’m lit up like a roman candle! 

I think of it as a way of being AND my relationship to the world.

Maybe that sounds Pollyanna-esque.

Maybe you think I’m wearing rose-coloured glasses, totally out of touch with reality.

But (and this is a very important but). . .

if it feels good and empowers you why would that be a problem?

I’ll tell you why; because our conditioning begins in childhood with phrases like:

  • Rein it in.
  • Settle down.
  • Don’t show off.

And you learn how to turn your excitement right down to a manageable level or even worse, suppress it completely.

That my friends, is a sad state of affairs.

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21 Quotes To Crush Your Someday Thinking

 

Today I am sharing my favourite someday crushing quotes; the ones I go to myself when I need a reminder that there is NO someday.

silver flying pig piggy bank

1.  “Make today worth remembering.” – Zig Ziglar

2.  “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

I’m with Steve on this one. Your heart really does know what you want and when you trust your intuition your someday thinking doesn’t stand a chance.

3.  “Someday is now.” – Gaddy Bergmann

4.  “Life’s greatest tragedy is not that it will someday end, but that most only live to follow directions and sometimes we end up totally lost.” – Alex Gaskarth

This one breaks my heart and it’s why I do the work I do.

5.  “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

You know how I feel about regrets right? Do what you need to do to NOT have them.

6.  “There are only 7 days in the week & “someday” is not one of them.”Rita Chand

Rita is someone who lives life out loud, going after her dreams in a way that leaves someday thinking in the dust. Who do you have in your life that inspires and motivates you to action?

7.  “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

Whose life are you living? Parents, teachers, mentors – all can inspire but they can also pull you away from your calling. Start listening to your heart instead of the voices around you. It knows. Continue reading