I don’t know about you, but my inner critic – that voice in my head that scolds and chastises me – has standards higher than I can meet. Those standards were out of reach long before I got sick. So you’d think he’d be kind enough to lower the standards when my ability to meet them got significantly reduced. Seems reasonable, doesn’t it?
But reason is not one of the critic’s values. Well it is, but it’s version of reason is wholly unreasonable. In fact, you might call it perfectionistic reason. It thinks it’s the keeper of the truth. But it ain’t!
So why do we have this inner voice? One explanation (from Hal and Sidra Stone) is that it comes online in our psyche to protect us from outer That’s right: it was born to protect you! (it’s okay if you have to think on that one for a bit. I know I had to). What that means (to me) is that when mine starts yakking, there must be some part of myself feeling vulnerable – some part of me that already knows I’ve fallen short of my standards in some way.
If that’s so, then the last thing needed is to be scolded or shamed. What the vulnerable part of yourself needs most is compassion and understanding – from YOU – exactly what you want from others, yes?
If your critic makes more appearances now that you’re enmeshed with your ongoing health issues, this is an opportunity to practice protecting your vulnerable (or depleted, or tired, or pained, or whatever) self in a new and different way. With kindness. With empathy. With love? With understanding…
Practice giving yourself (and your critic) a break. Now practice again. When my critic forgets about my limitations, I remind him gently that I’m doing my best at any given moment, and that’s enough. ~Z