The potency of you internal critic or voice of judgment is insidious. It is a master chameleon showing up in many different cloaks, rendering itself almost unrecognizable. It creeps up on you when you least expect it, plays havoc with your centre and your ground and runs wild until disempowered. It can be persistently in your experience and it can reappear after a long time away.
As soon as you try to debate it, convince it or argue with it, you engage it and increase its potency. It loves a good argument. It’s wily and it rapidly changes its stance to retain the upper hand. You could be arguing a point and as soon as you get “close” to “winning”, it will change its direction. Sometimes so much so that it now argues in the opposite direction and, if you are caught in the argument, you often miss the inanity of it.
My internal judge was running rampant awhile back but I didn’t recognize it until a few days later – partly because it had been awhile since it has been so present in me.
I had felt out of sorts, de-energized and unable to achieve any substantial progress toward my livelihood. Little things irritated me and made me impatient. I struggled with taking time “away” from work.
The internal critic was standing back with its arms crossed, shaking its head. “Yup. And just when are you going to get your work done? Your emails sent? Meetings arranged?” A little feeling of panic seeped in. When was I going to do that? There is no time! The panic rose up in me and then there were butterflies in my stomach and a promise of a headache in the offing.
This is an example of a self dialogue I had with my “itty-bitty-shitty committee” a few years back when I was trying to build my business (when am I not?) and really struggled with whether I could afford the time away – time wise and financially.
“And, just what were you thinking, taking time off when you have so much to do?” it asked.
“Because we all know that a break away is important to maintaining energy and reinvigorating mind, body and soul so work and life flows easier.” I responded.
“True,” says the internal critic. “But you know you couldn’t really afford it either.”
“I used points to fly. I didn’t shop. I shared accommodation. I had some money tucked away for this break.” I argued, beginning to feel the spin. “And, in all that travel time, I did a full edit of my book.” I said, trying to find the positive, be appreciative, tune into what was working.
The internal critic nodded grimly, “Yes. And what’s happened to your book since then? It’s been sitting beside your computer the last few days and nothing more has been done.” (This would have been a total of two days, by the way.) “Just how long do you think it’s really going to take to finish that puppy and get it published? As if anyone is really going to read it. Well, of course a few people will, but not the numbers you are hoping for.”
Wham. Wham. Wham. Deeper and deeper in. Fighting with myself to find my appreciative state. To find my centre, my ground. Knowing in my mind I am my own worst enemy in this moment but not able to pull myself out of the spiral. Knowing I was out of my centre and it should be a simple matter to slip back in. “It’s not what I do – my actions that are important now, it’s finding the right internal vibration in me.” And my vibration was all out of whack which deepened my fear. Tears of despondency showed up as I believed into judgment, after judgment, after judgment.
Exhausted, I fell into bed and dreamed. I dreamed about flow. I woke up in the morning feeling better, feeling lighter. Then the storylines began to filter in again. Then the bolt of realization. So self critical. So self judging. So the voice of my internal judge! Big sigh. Of course. How had I not recognized this insidious internal berating voice taking me backwards and forwards in my imaginings, giving me no peace in the present moment.
A lesson I learned before: whenever my emotions run amok, it is a good clear sign that my internal voice of judgment is lurking in the shadows of my mind, making me a crazy woman!
In simply recognizing it and naming it, its potency is released. Whoosh! I felt myself shift completely into the present moment, smiling at how this internal judge had found its way into my experience and rocked my core enough to have me questioning myself, my self worth and my path, once again. No longer fighting and resisting it, simply naming and noticing. Not arguing. Acknowledging the power of an adversary that has so much to teach me when I pay attention; even the not paying attention teaches me. All it took to shift me back to my centre and my usual sense of joy, delight and calm was to pay attention, notice, name. Now I dance into a new day in a whole new and renewed way, thankful for the moments when I see the choices clearly.