Silencing Our Inner Critic

That is so dumb. Worthless.”

“Buzz off,” I reply without looking up. I continue writing.

This is going to be the worst book ever.  By the way, have you looked in the mirror lately? Is that a crevice between your brows or just another wrinkle?”

“I said get lost!” I speak more firmly this time. “I ain’t got no time for you.”

(Sometimes I slip into slang in order to really drive home a point).

Had you viewed this heated exchange, dear reader, you would have seen me, quietly sitting in front of the computer, engrossed in my writing.

The barb-thrower was none other than yours truly. The brief, verbal wrestling match emanated from my own head: my inner negative critic and me. I usually don’t allow him/her to be heard, but I did for the sake of this post. This disparaging, alter ego exists in many of us, excelling in planting fears and anxieties, magnifying insecurities and creating low self-esteem that makes us doubt ourselves. It’s the relentless critic in each of us.

I call this vitriolic voice, Ling, thanks to a supernatural encounter, many years ago. A psychic approached me, laughing. She explained,

“There’s a little Chinese guy standing right behind you. Ling’s so funny!”Image result for cartoon chinese guy

At the time, I was standing alone. Apparently, Ling was an apparition only a psychic could appreciate. I decided to humor her. “What’s he saying?”

She continued laughing, erupting into such elongated hysterics, I gave up and walked away. But I took Ling with me. He became the personification of the disruptive voice existing in my consciousness that tries to bring me down during a weak moment. Ling seemed like the perfect name. Miserable, argumentative, pudgy, possibly a member of the Communist party, always greedily criticizing and complaining, trying to wreak havoc by pushing me off track. Appearing whenever I felt vulnerable.

“You think I’m pudgy? Take a look at yourself in those pants.”

“How can I?” I reply calmly. “I weigh the same as I did in high school.” Which is mostly true.

In the early days, I let Ling do his job. My confidence was undermined. I routinely called myself an idiot, questioning how I’d ever get the job I wanted, wondering if I was good enough, and so forth. When I managed to land the dream job in a movie studio, like my main character, Corrie Locke, I was paranoid that I’d lose it.

Everyone wants your job,” Ling hissed. “Did I mention that you’re freakish to be having such a conversation?”

And so it was until one day, I decided to talk back to that irritating inner voice.

“I’m not listening to you anymore. If you’ve got something positive to share, we’ll talk. Otherwise, farewell.”

The self-criticisms didn’t go away that easily, but slowly and vigilantly, I silenced the intrusive inner commentary. I pictured my mind as a bus with me as driver and all the little denunciations as passengers, trying to take over the driver’s seat. If I let them, my bus would crash. My aim was to reduce the wretched, whining passengers until all the nasties were thrown out. So if I heard a negative thought, I’d view it as an undesirable rider and hurl him out by the seat of his baggy pants. It worked.

We owe it to ourselves to speak kindly in our minds. About ourselves and others. Our happiness and personal progress depends largely on our own efforts. We should strive harder to train our minds to think positively to develop the best in each of us. It’s worth the effort.

 

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johnny Young
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Excellent post!