Silence the inner critic

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserves your love and affection.’ ~ Buddha

Vulnerability. I originally wrote this entry in conjunction with another one of my posts but it felt strange and exposing to put it out there with the possibility of others to read it so I cut it. Which is bizarre, because very few people in my life actually know I have started e-documenting life. This was purposefully intended, so I could write with little restraint and I could write for the joy of writing, delving in and out of topics of interest as well as keeping an honest account of city life when I arrive in Calgary (again). I don’t want to censor my words or omit details and viewpoints. Not that I mind if someone I know should stumble upon it, but, and I can only describe it like this, I don’t like people watching over my shoulder when I’m writing. Does that even make any sense?

Loving yourself isn’t easy, narcissistic or self-indulgent. I am, without doubt, my harshest critic – my perfectionist streak demands I stay tweaking project reports till the early hours of the morning till they’re done to my standard. I have been known to finish exams, disassemble the questions, picking them apart and then feel sheepish when I get a good grade. I have overanalysed conversations and worried about things that are not worth worrying about.

I wish I could tell myself – ‘Enough is enough, stop it, you are good enough as you are‘.

My mother always said the problem was I didn’t believe in myself enough. That I could do something well, and be in disbelief that I really had achieved that.

I’ve become immune to the that stress and I guess it’s become an ingrained part of who I am, living life at 100 mph when I need to get something done. Overanalysing. Because that’s what I’ve always done and I haven’t cracked under that self-imposed pressure.

I don’t think I did start believing in myself til I was about 19. I was always very unsure of myself, passing myself off as average and convinced I would never be as bright as him, brilliant at public speaking as them, as pretty as her. I am now convinced everyone has their time to shine and can be any of those things and so much more besides. It’s only over the past few years I’ve learned to accept myself for who I am, I realised this is me and I need to work with that. It’s pointless wishing otherwise, or watching life blur as it passes you by. I tell myself, I am smart because I question the world, I have a furious appetite for knowledge and books, and I work hard to understand.  Leaps and bounds of confidence has made me fearless of things I would have run from before. And I’m starting to graciously accept compliments instead of brushing them off or thinking people are ‘just being nice’. Because sometimes when people say ‘great contribution’, ‘wow that dress suits you’ or ‘we couldn’t have done it without you’, they might just actually mean it.

So: believe in yourself, silence that inner critic occasionally, nothing is impossible if you’re prepared to put the effort in to make it happen, ride out the storms, embrace challenge and acknowledge you deserve the good things that befall you. Feel gratitude for the little things in life and enjoy life’s pleasures and nature – don’t let it pass you by like so many people do and it will make you feel thankful for being in the world.

Dont: feel guilty about relaxing, sweat the small stuff especially that you have no control over – it’s wasted energy that could be directed somewhere more worthwhile.

Learning to love yourself is a challenge but I think when you have nailed it you’ll be a lot happier in life. Self-scrutiny without limits can be more destructive than we realise. You are good enough.



Filed under Life, Life Lessons, Musings and Aphorisms, Personal Development

5 responses to “Silence the inner critic

  1. ikkenorskgirl

    You are so right on this, really nice entry!

    I’ve wondered as to why we judge ourselves so much more harshly than we ever ever would anyone else. When I think about it, the person we have the closest relationship with is ourselves; there are no planes/trains/buses to take us away from ourselves, no possibility of running away and shutting the door and blasting music to drown ourselves out… maybe it’s this…that we can’t get away. I think about when I was younger and had to spend so much time with my family, I’d get so unbelievably stressed out with them. Too. Much. Together. Time. But, at the end of the day, I could escape them and seek salvation in my room or in the garden. Yet, I don’t think I would ever be mean to their faces (oh some horrible names were muttered in my mind!)…so, why do we do that to ourselves? Can’t we treat ourselves with the same amount of decency and respect we would others?

    I remember getting a book on how to silence the inner judge from an ex boyfriend’s mother (she cared, bless her) and reading it made me realise not only how horrible we are to ourselves, but how frequently! We hardly ever give ourselves a break. We would never be on someone’s case every second of the day…

    You’re right on the giving compliments thing, people wouldn’t give one if they didn’t mean it. Swallow them and feel the sweetness of them 🙂

    One final thing on this gabble is that I like to remind myself when I’m feeling blue of something the same ex’s mother told me:

    “Few people in this world will love you. Few people will also hate you. The vast majority? You’re not important enough for them to have feelings about you.”

    At first, I was like 😦 what? but I AM important. Then, I thought…OK, they don’t think anything positive about me, but wait a sec: they don’t have negative feelings towards me! Isn’t it great that actually the majority have no negative feelings towards me! Something in my mind stupid that I’ve done won’t even be replayed in someone’s mind once we leave that room… hurrah! So, no need to judge myself, noone else will 🙂

    • I adore your honesty in this comment, and so glad to hear my post spoke to you. I was ummin’ and ahhin’ over posting it because it felt so darn exposing but I’m happy it’s out there. Especially if it means other people can relate and we suddenly realise we’re not alone in this.

      I’ve actually been doing a bit better about being nicer to myself. For a start I’ve got off my back about not having sorted my life out! I’m with you about the time to yourself thing to escape, I need to time to re-energise.

      I remember reading an article about how we only focus on what we perceived to be our bad points, but people look at us as a whole. So whatever we’ve been fretting over is insignificant or invisible to the person who gives us a quick gaze over in the street or supermarket queue.

      I will definitely be taking your words of wisdom and this post into account next time I’m beating myself up about something silly.

      P.S. Your ex has a very wise mother, I’m hoping she will get a book deal at some point in the future 😀

  2. There’s a line from a Nada Surf song that goes “to find someone you love, you gotta be someone you love.” That’s something I like to remind myself when I feel self-doubt and mental overload creeping up.

    It’s funny, because I was just thinking the same about my writing; how my desire to write is always at war, volleying back and forth between wanting to write for myself and to write for an audience. The magic trick is to somehow mesh the two, especially with a public blog. And you’re doing great, as far as I can tell, and that counts for something. The inner judge can’t argue when you speak the truth.

    It’s always enlightening to see others out there fret the little neurocities and struggle to not be at constant internal struggle. Reminds me that perseverance and greatness doesn’t come as easy as some would have you believe.

    Cheers Nikki,

    • Thank you Music Man Chris!

      Really really appreciate the blog (and perseverance/i am not alone) encouragement :). My mindset is write for myself and if other people enjoy it then I’m stoked! Meshing success. Whenever I read other blogs I’m often in awe of people’s style, content and writing and wonder how they get it all so right 99% of the time.

  3. Remember that time I said you should be in my blog posse cause I think we sound a lot alike? YA, here it is again.

    I almost felt sheepish even reading the part about overanlyzing tests. I was remembering myself in the same situations.

    For me it was just a few years ago that I accepted that I’m Smart, even though I’m not always knowledgable on what other people are talking about and think I should know. I’m going to make a blog post about it rather than make a HUGE comment, so look for it.

    It took time to accept who I am and I accept that I am a perfectionist in certain areas. I just have to work with that so I can get around it when it gets in my way. Like when I decide not to do something becauseI won’t be able to do it to my standards.

    Basically I can think of 2 or 3 things just in that one blog post that I could write a Whole Post about. And probably will at some point when it’s not 5:30am. 🙂 I can also think of so many ways I can relate to this.

    That was a really good post and really inspiring. I love self-reflection of the honest variety. I’m so glad you did decide to post it.

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