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The Evolution and Taming of the Self-Critic

The beginning of the evolution

At all times, with no conscious effort on our part, the body and mind are full of activity.  Constant input bombards us from nerves, the sensory organs and our own thoughts.  Fortunately most of this happens on multiple levels outside of our consciousness. Studies on consciousness (See:  The User illusion by Norretranders) tell us that when we try to do things consciously, the process is very slow, because we are interfering with our innate and natural capacity to accomplish the task. Yet interfere we do. We want control with a capital C. Trust gets lost in this process.                

The very busy body and mind

The very busy body and mind

       

How did we lose the ability to honour both instinct and learned ability at the same time? In our system of education, analytical/critical ability is encouraged as a way of “proving” what we know.  Part of the brain loves that; another part loves seeing the whole instead of the building blocks.  We need both.  However, the critical part has reached a state of bully-hood.  Along with that has come a vocabulary of right vs. wrong, lots of should’s and ought’s and the necessity to self-criticise so that others know that we know we aren’t perfect.

The first seed of doubt and criticism

The first seed of doubt and criticism

 As we continue along this journey and the inner conversation increases, the critical element grows too.

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Seeds of self-criticism soon become dark clouds

It doesn’t take long before we are enveloped in a cloud of our own making.

Cloud of self-criticism takes over

Cloud of self-criticism takes over

Next our self-critic consumes us.  Arggg!

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In extreme cases there is a block that makes it difficult to communicate because we need to protect our “interests”.  We can’t get out, and no one else can get in. Open to new information?  New learning? New experience?  Hmmmm.  Difficult.

 

The walls and burdens of self-criticism can become prisons

Before we know it, we have built ourself a prison of negativity. The ability to hear what others are saying is lost because the inner voice is now simply too loud. This creates a catch-22 situation where others can’t get in and we can’t get out.

Self-criticism builds walls we do not want

Self-criticism builds walls we do not want

That is quite a heavy burden!

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How can we change this dilemma?

 First start with just being still—30 seconds will do for a start. Place a hand on each thigh, feel flat on the floor, completely still—nothing moving or twitching.  This may be a strange feeling for you, but your body and mind will love it. You can do this as many times a day as you want.  It works wonders when you do it before you begin a challenging task, practicing, a sport, or a performance.

Learning to be still

Learning to be still

 It’s OK to just let thoughts come and go as they please.  There is no need for a conversation with any of the thoughts. When you stay neutral to those thoughts, they will not affect your state.

Letting thoughts come and go

Letting thoughts come and go

Start with three times a day for 30 seconds.  It’s easy to do without attracting attention to yourself.  It can be your secret tranquilizer no matter where you are.  To repeat…it’s great to do in meetings, before important phone calls, presentations or performances of any kind.

Once you have yourself in a better state it follows that your communication with others can change too.  The more helpful and positive you are, the better the response from those around you.  You can change them and the atmosphere in any space just by being in a better state yourself.  Even thinking positive thoughts toward someone else builds bridges of good communication. Any thought you send to someone is perceived either on a conscious or unconscious level.  So be careful what you send toward others.  All thoughts count.  The kinder, the better.

Learn to build bridges to others through kind thoughts, language and actions

Building bridges to others through positive thoughts

Building bridges to others through positive thoughts

Opening doors with kindness and generousity

Opening doors with kindness and generousity

Note:  This is worth doing even when you do not feel like it.

 The dilemmas we face today are such that we need each other more than ever.  The idea of the survival of the fittest is giving way to cooperation and sharing at group levels.  To help our generation live in this time of change and uncertainty, we all need to help our “neighbours” in every way—even if it is only a thought that is sent. Every thought and every action counts.

Now enjoy your inner and outer space.  When the self-critic wants to speak, just play it some music.

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Lastly, be grateful for all you have.

You may also enjoy: Presence, Confidence and Personal Power by Meribeth Dayme.A new ebook available on Amazon and other major ebook sellers. © 2012 Meribeth Dayme, PhD with cartoons by Jay Obrecht Extracted and revised from:Believe in Me by M Dayme

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