A moment for the inner-critic

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

We all seem to have voices in our heads; some are loud and intrusive, like the inner-critic; and some are gentle whispers like the inner voice of love. One of the most significant challenges in my life has been quieting the inner-critic so that I could hear my inner voice of love speaking and encouraging me to become my best self.

The inner-critic was with us in childhood to keep us safe. It was essential. It protected us from the things that were harmful to us. It is that same critical voice within us, that now lets us know when we are moving into new or dangerous territory. It will never leave us. Our inner-critic will be there to chime in when we approach something new, either hazardous or productive. The complication is the inner-critic cannot differentiate between the two. It is not useful in decision making on its own. We need to be able to hear the other voices inside us for honest discernment.

Perhaps, we can equate the inner critic to a helicopter parent. The inner- critic, with all its good intentions of protecting us and preventing harm or embarrassment, fails to teach and encourage us to become our best selves. It tells us we are inadequate to the task and must not move forward on our own. Like the helicopter parent, the inner-critic operates out of fear and mistrust, which is fair enough in this dangerous world. However, we are in this world and must learn to navigate our experiences for both survival and enjoyment. In addition to the protection we need love, encouragement, and trust.

We should not silence the inner-critic. We need to give it a moment. Identify it, name it, and appreciated it. You will, then, be able to calm this part of your ego. This calming will free your inner voice of love to tell you what your strengths are and how capable you are of tackling the danger or novel situation.

Once the calmed inner-critic steps back, the inner voice of love and empowerment is more apparent. With this dual perspective on your internal processing, you are more equipped to distinguish between what is a new experience and what may be a dangerous one. We can now intellectually weigh the pros and cons, and well informed proceed on the path to becoming our best self.

You can!
You have what it takes!
You are beloved!
You are worth it!

The beloved of the Lord rests in safety— the High God surrounds him all day long— the beloved rests between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6