Right this minute, I am sitting outside on a patio enjoying the bright blue skies and warm sunshine. There’s a gentle breeze blowing and two birds above me chirping a calming melody. If I look up from my computer, I can see the palm trees swaying. Let’s just say that I am feeling pretty content, happy and relaxed, which is a far cry from where I was just 6 days ago.
I am embarrassed to admit this, but last Sunday, I let my inner critic get the best of me. One reason this happened was because I wasn’t diligent and I let my guard down. I started listening to the lies my critic tells me now and then. And here’s the thing, once you start listening to the lies, you can get really carried away.
Last Sunday was a crazy busy day for me-and maybe that statement is a big part of the problem. Now really, should Sunday ever be a crazy busy day? Sunday should be a relaxing day, a time to regroup. If you are working hard all week, you need down time to reenergize for the coming week. But I was not listening to my own advice and was running full speed ahead. I spent Sunday trying to accomplish as many things as possible. I knew my stress level was high, but I didn’t allow myself to stop to think about it; I just kept on going.
I had talked to my son midweek and he was struggling with some issues that had led him to feel unhappy. Considering that he is a sophomore in college, that is not so hard to believe. Now that I am sane again, I realize that there are good times and bad times when you are trying to grow up. Anyway, Sunday, sometime in the afternoon, I decided to give my son a call and see how he was doing. The phone rang once and then went right to voicemail. I tried again and the same thing happened. My inner critic started and I did everything I could to allow him to excel at his work. “Why wouldn’t he answer his phone in the middle of the afternoon? Is he sleeping the day away because he’s so unhappy? Is he miserable and I am not taking this seriously when I talk to him?” I can honestly say it went downhill from there into some territory that was downright ridiculous!
I had worked myself up to a frenzy when I gave him a call again at 5:30 pm and he answered. My critic informed me that he had just woken up-my reality did not. “Hi mom”, he said loudly with energy. “I just got out of the theatre performance all my friends were in-it was great!!”. I’ve been there all afternoon-I would love to be in at least one play sometime in the next couple years!” I asked how he was feeling but I could already tell-back to his usual happy self.
When I hung up the phone, I thought about how happy I was for him and then my mind went to myself. What a waste of energy on a day when I couldn’t afford to lose any! How quickly my inner critic had hijacked my sane thinking and poisoned my thoughts.
Your inner critic can be sneaky. Just when you think that you are in full control of your situation, he sneaks in to sabotage your thinking. He knows your Achilles heel and when to strike-he recognizes when you are most vulnerable. But you can control this-the key is to truly listen to what you need and take it seriously. So girlfriends, stay on guard and refuse to give in to your inner critic! Listen carefully and stop him dead in his tracks.