The other day I felt exhausted.
My energy was flat, I felt unmotivated, and noticed the early signs of a cold coming on. All I felt like doing was having a lie down.
As soon as that thought crossed my mind, my inner critic popped up.
You’re sick, I can’t believe it. What a waste of a day.
You have work to do, you should be responsible and get it done.
It’s such beautiful day outside, why waste it resting indoors.
I wrestle a lot with the concept of ‘wasted time’ and ‘not making the most of it’- It’s programming I still have to consciously work on. In these moments when my inner critic pops up, rather than letting it chastise me or engage in a debate with it, I do the work and challenge myself around the story I’m living in.
It goes like this…
Inner critic: You should be responsible, you don’t have time to rest.
Wise reframe: What’s the truth here? Being responsible doesn’t go hand-in-hand with being productive, being responsible also means taking care of my health.
Inner critic: You should be working, you have so much to do.
Wise reframe: What realistically can be shifted to another day? How will making time for myself to heal, benefit me and my work?
Inner critic: If you’re going to rest, you should do it outdoors otherwise it’s a waste of a perfect day.
Wise reframe: What am I truly needing here? What is going to best serve me in this moment?
Reframing these took me all of two minutes max, then I rearranged my work calendar, made myself a cuppa, and had a nap on the deck in the shade.
It felt glorious, and when I woke up I felt recharged and was easily able to pick up my work the next day with more capacity and care.
If I’d given over to my inner critic the outcome would’ve been vastly different. I would’ve kept pushing myself and wound up feeling worse and the quality of my work would’ve reflected this.
Too often when we hear the voice of the inner critic we let it run the show, and continue to let it dictate our behaviours – even when we know deep down it doesn’t serve us. To truly manage your inner critic it takes more than just ‘knowing’ it’s there, it’s about working with it, applying the tools in the moment, and honouring yourself by following through with what you need.
So over to you, where are you letting your inner critic run the show?