Years ago when Brene Brown first spoke on vulnerability, a friend sent me the video as inspiration. I regularly watch this 20-minute TED talk on shame, vulnerability, honesty, and growth because Brown’s words are poignant, powerful, and encouraging.
“the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they’re worthy. And to me, the hard part of the one thing that keeps us out of connection is our fear that we’re not worthy of connection,”
My inner critic is skilled at telling me I’m not worthy of the great things I offered or received. She’s also practiced at reminding me that I deserve anything (and everything) negative that comes my way. She’s kind of a bitch, actually.
So, why can’t I shut up the critic inside? Well, first of all she’s been a part of me since I was a child … it’s hard to let go of a life-long frenemy. Second, if my inner critic doesn’t tell me my writing is crap, someone else will have to. That means another human will know I’m not perfect. I can’t have that! Third, if I rid myself of my inner critic, might someone worse invite themselves in? Would I be able to handle someone who talked even more terribly to me?
I’m working on learning to live with my inner critic. I talk to her, tell her to shove off, to shut up, to jump off a cliff, and I derisively laugh at her when she’s wrong. (Yanno, she’s actually wrong quite a bit.) I’m working on asking her “WHO CARES?” when she talks shit to me. If I don’t care, does it really matter if others do? I’m learning to not care.
I’ve learned to notice when she pops into my consciousness, why she’s present, and I can almost count on the actual words that she says to me. I’ve realized that no matter how loudly she announces “You’re not enough,” I can stick my tongue out at her sassier, flip her the bird more fiercely, or kick her in the teeth even harder. When she plays a movie of my failures and mistakes, I can mute her, smash the speakers, or simply unplug the electricity. I’m learning to work around her.
If my inner critic were a solid-body woman in my life, I would flat out refuse to be her friend. If I spoke to you the way she speaks to me, you wouldn’t want to be my friend either. I’m learning to talk back to her.
“… these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.“
I am imperfect.
We are all imperfect.