February 20, 2018

How do you change your relationship with the inner critic?

Posted in identity, Mindfulness tagged , , , , , at 9:35 am by kellyfdennis

You requested more info on the inner critic and inner wisdom. Here’s a portion of a great post about Tara Mohr’s book, Playing Big. Good info!

1) Label it.

Tara Mohr, Author of Playing Big suggests calling out the inner critic when you hear its negativity and doubts. As you become aware of this inner voice, acknowledge it and label it. Say to yourself, “Oh, I’m hearing my inner critic right now.”

2) Separate yourself from the inner critic.

Whatever tantrums or chatter your inner critic is spewing, remind yourself that you and the inner critic are not the same. Separate yourself from it.

3) Create a character that represents your inner critic.

For many of us, the inner critic is a voice we have heard our whole lives – our mother or teacher or another disciplinarian. It’s the voice of the person who has put us down and doubted us.

Mohr suggests taking part in a playful but effective exercise in which you create a persona for your inner critic. “When you create a character with a name and visual image, you help yourself remember that the critic is not the core of you, it’s one voice, with its own personality and pathology.”

Draw, sketch and describe this inner critic. Turn it into a fictional person, cartoon or caricature of someone you know. Describe its voice, personality and typical phrases and patterns. Name the character and capture its voice in your mind.

Turn it into something funny because, as Mohr reminds us, this character usually says something ridiculous! It’s easier to notice your inner critic if it’s Peggy Bundy, Madea, Carmela Soprano or Sophia Petrillo. You’ll not only spot your critic quicker but get a good laugh at its expense as well.

4) What is your inner critic protecting you from?

Once you can identify your inner critic’s voice and picture your critic in your mind, you’ll be better able to communicate with it.
When your critic fills you with negativity, determine what exactly it’s protecting you from.

Ask your inner critic what it’s most afraid of at the moment. What is the danger it sees?

“Once you are in touch with the root of the critic’s intentions, respond with compassion towards the critic’s misguided attempt to keep you safe – usually from attack, embarrassment, isolation or failure.”

A great line you can use to acknowledge your inner critic but also inform it that you’re okay is to respond with, “Thanks so much for your input, but I’ve got this one covered.”

5) Turn down the volume.

Once you know what your inner critic’s voice sounds like, you’ll be more aware of the times when you hear it. If the voice is stronger and louder than usual, practice lowering it as though it comes with a volume dial.

Turn down the volume on your inner voice like you would with your cell phone or your television.

You’ll still hear the inner critic, but you can determine at which volume you’ll do so. Also, by imagining that your inner voice has volume control, you can differentiate between it and yourself.

Treat your inner voice with love, compassion and understanding.

You can’t win arguments with your inner critic and you can’t be angry with it either. Both strategies will simply fuel its fire.

The inner critic, as Mohr describes it, is a scared and fearful part of ourselves. It doesn’t respond well to anger, arguments or grandiosity.

Use the previous techniques in a loving and kind way. Treat your inner voice like you would an upset or unreasonable child.

Acknowledge it, comfort it, reduce its volume and thank it for guiding you. However, feel free to tell it that you’re in control of the situation.

Be aware that, at the end of the day, although its actions and words are misguided, your inner critic is only trying to protect you.

Your wise inner guide.

Not only can you compassionately deal with your inner voice, you can discover a more empowering, wise voice within yourself.

Mohr explains a concept she learned in her coach training school. This concept has students visualizing themselves in 20 years’ time. The students meet their future selves – the people they’ll be 20 years from today.

In the visualization, converse with your “future self,” asking it questions like, “What do I need to know to get from where I am today to where you are?” and “What has been most important about the past 20 years?”

When Mohr used this “future self” tool with her coaching clients, she found that people saw themselves as their best, most loving and wisest selves. When women reflected on their future selves, they always found the answers they were looking for.

“I began to call it the inner mentor because I found this voice functioned for women as a source of guidance, a voice women could draw on to develop a vision for their lives and careers, to make difficult decisions, to chart their paths,” Mohr says.

By giving women a tool that helped them determine how their future selves would approach a situation, Mohr ensured that the women she worked with would become confident and have a clear idea of what to say and do.

“Or a woman would come in feeling stuck about how to pursue her dream career, and by imagining what her future self would do, could immediately see a path forward that felt just right to her but that she hadn’t thought of before.”

Each of us, Mohr concludes, has this inner mentor.

Within yourself, you have the answers. You have the solutions and the wisdom you need to deal with the situations you’re confronting in your life.

You, too, can conduct Playing Big’s guided visualization and access this voice of perfect wisdom.

As Mohr says, simply asking, “What would my older self do?” won’t get you there. You must complete the visualization to access your wise inner voice.

Don’t let your inner critic hold you hostage. Fully embrace the voice of wisdom – your inner mentor.

This is just the beginning of what’s possible for you in terms of achieving a bigger life. The other eight chapters of Playing Big help you navigate fear, release your attachment to praise and criticism and help you recognize and respect your calling.

This article from Vishnu’s Virtues.

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

February 12, 2018

Inner Wisdom

Posted in Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , , at 4:38 pm by kellyfdennis

pink clouds and bare treesMost of us are very familiar with the inner critic voice, aka the nasty girl or boy who lives inside our heads. That voice is usually pretty loud, wants us to behave in ways that make us look like we’ve got it all together, can handle it all, berates us when we mess up. This voice, however, can cause more problems for us than we realize: stress, anxiety, depression, distancing ourselves from others, not living the authentic life we were meant to live.

In my last blog post, I talked about the idea of a wise inner self, intuition, etc. In this post I want to suggest some strategies to begin to access that part of ourselves. First of all, inner wisdom is not verbal. So, anytime you are hearing the nasty girl or boy’s voice, that has nothing to do with inner wisdom. Next, inner wisdom creates a sense of calm, or contentedness. The feeling that this is “right”, “meant to be”. So if you’re feeling fearful or anxious, inner wisdom is not present. Inner wisdom does not rise as a reaction to fear or worry.

Things I have found helpful to connect with that intuitive part of myself:

Journal: Write down, in a stream of consciousness sort of way, your fears, anxieties, worries, and your dreams, desires, and visions for the future. Don’t let the inner critic’s loud voice deter you, don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, or if your writing even makes sense. Just write and write and write until you believe there is nothing more to write. Then step away for a time, come back and notice the themes surrounding fear and worry. Then notice the themes surrounding dreams and visions. I noticed that fear and worry were getting in the way of my dreams and visions.

Engage: Talk and interact with people who are inspirational, who have big dreams of their own, who take healthy risks toward their visions. Engage in activities that turn down the volume on the inner critic and allow space for the mind to quiet, such as yoga, meditation, and prayer.

Pay attention to your senses: Get in touch with what your senses tell you about your world. Increase your attention to the smells, physical sensations, sounds, sights, and tastes around you. Your intuitive self is most connected with your sensory experience.

This takes time, it is a lifelong practice to learn to quiet the inner critic so we can hear that intuitive whisper. When we can access that intuition, we can begin to start making decisions in a calmer fashion, we can learn to “be” with ourselves so that we can be present with others in more authentic ways, and the stressors of daily life may seem less daunting.

In an upcoming YouTube video, I’ll take you through an Inner Wisdom Meditation that can help you begin to access this part of yourself.

Be well and Have a Wonderful Day!

 

February 9, 2018

Wisdom and the Inner Critic

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy, identity tagged , , , , , at 4:09 pm by kellyfdennis

dune fenceThe negative inner critic is a result of your early childhood experiences.  We all receive self-esteem “messages” from parents, siblings, extended family, other caregivers, teachers, coaches, and peers.  The negative messages individually are mostly harmless, but when our subconscious strings thousands of them together, they can shape who we believe ourselves to be. Trauma also fuels the nasty girl. Many of us were affected by sexual, physical, verbal abuse which cause feelings of fear and fear makes whatever we believe and learn much more powerful.  Trauma in childhood many create a belief system where we may think we are to blame for just about anything that went wrong. Trauma and negative self-esteem make it hard to us to identify our needs and figure out how to get them met.

This engages our “reasoning mind” and sends us on a problem-solving, evaluating, and decision-making mission.  As human beings we evaluate and make judgments about things in our lives and surroundings.  Evaluating and judging our surroundings helps us to determine our likes and dislikes. The reasoning part of our mind is trying to make sense of the world. This process helps us to decide what to include and not to include in our lives.

That Nasty Girl criticizes and insults you to so you’ll live by the rules you internalized in your growing up years; she tells you to judge and compare yourself to others; she pushes you to be perfect so no one will reject because your “flawed”; she tells you you’re stupid for even trying so you won’t even bother trying and therefore don’t have to worry about messing up.  She’s trying to “help” us to get our needs met while minimizing pain; the only problem is that even if it does work once in a while, the “feel better” time is very short-lived.

As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s best to acknowledge her, thank her for trying to be helpful and then distract or move on to something else. But what happens when the Nasty Girl is actually getting in the way of you being able to be your authentic self and live a fulfilling life? Maybe the messages she’s sending you are preventing you from applying for that dream job, taking healthy risks and reaching out to others in order to know and be known. When we believe her messages, it can certainly stop us in our tracks. We can get stagnant and stuck, spinning our wheels, not being able to move forward because she tells us we just have to accept where we are as the good for nothing people we are.

Inner Wisdom

I think there’s another way. Throughout our existence as human beings, people have talked about, drawn about, written about another side of us. A “wise inner knowing”, “our intuitive selves”, “our spiritual guide”, “insightfulness”. Whatever you want to call it, we all have it. Our reasoning minds shut off this inner wisdom, because inner wisdom isn’t about problem solving, evaluating, and analyzing. Often our inner wisdom is a whisper; a murmur that’s especially hard to hear over your harsh inner critic.

In the next post, I’ll share some ideas about how to access this wise part of yourself. Until then check out my most recent mindfulness meditation video. Meditation helps to slow down the mind and allow us to disengage from “reasoning  mind”, an essential skill for being able to access the “wise inner knowing.”

Until next time, Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

 

 

 

February 7, 2018

Inner Critic

Posted in Mindfulness, Self Image tagged , , , , , at 4:49 pm by kellyfdennis

Kellysmile1The harsh internal critic was called the “pathological critic” by psychologist Eugene Sagan to describe the negative inner voice that we all possess.  I call her the “nasty girl that lives inside my head”.  Gender is a moot point, though, the pathological critic can take on either gender.  Therefore, your harsh internal voice may be a “nasty guy” if you are male. I’ll use female pronouns, but these principles apply to any “nasty” voice regardless of gender.

The thing about this nasty girl is that she thinks she’s being helpful. She seems to assume that if she beats me up enough, I will change my ways! That doesn’t usually happen, though. I tend to just feel crappy when she is saying nasty things to me. I have found it very  helpful to recognize when she’s “talking” and acknowledge her existence and what she’s “saying” by telling her, “Thank you, I hear that you think I’ll mess up that thing I’m working on, if I don’t try harder; but really, I’ve got this, thanks anyway.” Then I move on and shift my thinking. I  might have to do this several times in one hour depending on the situation!

Recognizing the difference between your own wise “voice” and the irrational nasty “voice” can be a little dificult at first. That “voice” has probably been in existence in your mind for a long time. Mindfulness can be very helpful in beginning to separate out what is the “wise” person “voice” and what is the “nasty” person “voice.” I have recently put up two videos on my You Tube channel that begin to teach the basics of mindfulness mediation. While they are not targeting the nasty and wise voices specifically, they do help you to get in touch with what’s happening in your mind and body and take you out of autpilot.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel to get access to all the content from past uploads as well as future uploads which will include a “Wise Voice” meditation.

Be Well and Have A Wonderful Day!

stefdennis

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