O. M. G. My meditation this morning was sooooooooo hard. (I know, poor me sitting on my floor in my sweet apartment instead of joining the millions of peeps going to work in 15 degree weather.)
Anyway, it was superduperhard. Why? Because I had the performance equivalent of "Put the pizza down, fatty!" echoing inside my ears instead of the luscious voice of one Kimberely Arana guiding me through my morning grounding/charging energetic meditation.
I use the phrase, "Put the pizza down, fatty!" because I want you to see how vicious the internal critic can be.
Let's say you have a dear friend. She's put on some weight lately. And you two go out for dinner. You're ordering the salmon, and she goes for the brick oven-fired pizza. Would you ever, in a million years, yell, "Hey fatty! Put the pizza down. Just shut your pie hole and you'll lose weight. Duh!"
I. Think. Not.
Yet we do that same thing to ourselves all the live long day.*
For me, it looked like this:
I'm sitting on floor, blanket to keep me warm, trying as hard as I can to picture the earth energy coming up through my roots to suffuse my body with grounding force. Instead, however, my mind is berating me over and over with:
WHY HAVEN'T YOU PUBLISHED A BOOK YET???? WHERE IS YOUR YOUTUBE TV SHOW? MARIE FORLEO IS DOING IT! THE PAST YEARS HAVE BEEN A TOTAL AND COMPLETE WASTE! AND YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT BUT SOME REALLY KILLER CLOTHES AND A DECREASED CREDIT CARD BALANCE!**
Yeesh. And meditation is supposed to clear your head. In my case today it was basically just clearing the runway of my mind (whether or not Beyonce lip synced the National Anthem) and announcing open season for the self-flagellation monster.
Alas, what to do?
My answer? Write a blog post of course :)
No really. In the face of such criticism (and let's face it, we ALLLLLL have it. Even uber-talented Anne Hathaway***), we must have our own blunt weapons to beat that shizzle away.
What form do yours take? (If not a Golden Globes statuette...)
Herewith: my favorites for countering the internal hater:
1. Action. The internal critic hates your moving forward. After all, if you are advancing courageously, albeit slowly and in fits and starts, towards your goals, then the h8er has not so much ammo. If, however, you are lying on the sofa AGAIN eating chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe's that aren't that good anyway,**** then it's like handing him an automatic rifle, 10 clips of hate and a concealed carry license. You must keep moving in order to avoid the shooter of hate!
2. Facts. Ah yes. Another nemesis of the career internal critic. See, he thrives on hyperbole, future failures and consistent flogging of past stories that he loves to misconstrue. When you sit down and actually examine the truth- that you HAVE written a book (it's just not yet published) and that you ARE making money and have more than enough to pay your bills, his histrionics lose their intensity.
Lesson? When the hater comes (and oh he will), remember that you have the facts. Stick to them.
3. Presence. Your power is now. You know that. And yet, you somehow forget it on a moment by moment basis. WHY? Because the hater can't live on presence alone. The hater is like a parasite that feeds off your disappointments in the past (that you can't do anything about) and your anxieties about the future (that you still can't do anything about). The hater hates your meditation, your yoga, your crazy dancing, your connection to the divine, because all those things bring you into present moment states of being where you have power, agency and...no need for the hater.
So the hater will do whatever he can to keep you out of presence. Fight that. Breathe in, breathe out. Wax on, wax off. Stay present.
4. Dialog. So here's where we get to the fun part. Some people call it shadow work. Others call it shadow boxing. Whatever you call it, engaging with your hater deflates his critical balloon. Carl Jung talked about voice dialog/parts work as a way to engage with the parts of our ego that feel dark as a way to make peace with them and move forward.
He (and other writers) showed us that engaging with the shadow is VITAL to our growth as people. It is not always straightforward or fun to look clearly in the face of our own darkness, but in my blog post about it, you can see how I do it.
Talk to your critic. Find out what it really wants. You might surprised by what you learn.
5. Celebrate. Say what? That's right. Celebrate your inner critic! Your IC doesn't come out unless he's got a reason to. Which means that you're doing something to disturb him from his little Gollum nest or else he would've just stayed quiet. So his presence is actually a sign post that you're making progress. That you're on your way. That you're moving forward.
Throw your hater a party! See how he likes them apples.
Fact is, your inner critic will tag along on your ride to the top. I work with people who are just starting out and people who are Kindof A Big Deal***** and guess what: they ALL have the inner critic.
The big deal people have just found a different way to use it.
Tomorrow I'll talk about hatin on others in your industry. Totes different, but some similarities.
And now, a question: How do YOU deal with your inner critic?
*Or at least I do.
**Let's not overlook the decreased bad debt. I would like to counter that mean girl voice with said evidence of progress.
***"Thank you very much for this lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self doubt." Though one could debate whether her self-doubt is also great acting.
****Totally hypothetical. But I recommend getting your choc covered almonds from another source. Just sayin.
*****Or think they are anyway. Perception is 9/10 of reality yo.