Which best describes you: “I’m my own best friend” or “I’m my own worst critic”? If you’re more the “I’m my own worst enemy” type, stay tuned, there will be a theme for that coming up as well.
If you chose the critic, you’re certainly not alone. We all have an inner critic, and for some of us, that voice is louder and more dominating than it is for others. In a sense, it is our inner perfectionist pointing out all of our perceived inadequacies. How thoughtful of it to let us know the error of our ways, right?
Except when we consistently berate ourselves for making mistakes, for not being good enough, there is the potential for self-fulfilling prophecy to pay us a visit. As I’ve written before, our perceptions become our beliefs which drive our behaviors and frame our experiences. I call this the Mindset Feedback Loop.
Mistakes are gud.
There is growing sentiment across business, education
and self-help arenas, that mistakes should be welcomed and accepted and even sometimes encouraged. After all, there is much to be learned from mistakes, and when making them is grounded in a growth, rather than a fixed, mindset, a higher level of resilience upon making mistakes can be achieved.
This school of thought suggests that it is preferable to accept mistakes as a learning process than to avoid them at all costs, and I, for one, am a happy convert. Or at least I thought I was.
Accepting ourselves is not always easy.
Accepting that it’s natural to make mistakes, and that there is wisdom to be gained by making them, is a much welcomed and positive approach.
But achieving this place of acceptance nirvana can be a very difficult, up-hill struggle for those of us who were raised by perfectionist parents, work for a perfectionist boss, or who naturally have this perfectionist tendency within ourselves.
For this perspective is to not only strive for perfection, but to achieve it. And if we don’t succeed, we fail. And failure is bad. And so when we make mistakes, it means we are failures.
Thus enters our inner critic. The voice of perfection eager, ready and willing to let us know how flawed and incompetent we are, regardless of how many accomplishments we have, how hard we’ve tried, how often we’ve succeeded.
For this inner voice knows the truth about us; that we’re never good enough and probably never will be.
Pruning our inner critic for the greater good.
Writing this conjures up some pretty powerful emotions for me, because it represents much of what my inner critic has been touting for decades.
I have more recently discovered, however, that this inner critic is rooted in the past, and no longer represents my present or my true self.
And this is because I have consciously and intentionally pruned this inner critic and planted more positive and uplifting inner voices in my internal garden.
I don’t believe it was ever anyone’s intention to create this inner critic of self-deprecation, it just sort of happened as we learned, from parents, peers, teachers, other adults, the media, society and so on, how we ought to be.
And when we learned that we didn’t quite fit the mold of expectation, we began beating ourselves up about it, because, well, that’s human nature, when allowed to run unchecked.
But when we pay more attention to this inner voice and what it’s telling us, I firmly believe that we can offer alternative points of view. And that is the purpose of our current theme, Befriending Ourselves During Change.
The influence of our inner voice during change.
While the points within this topic expand beyond that of change and transition, it is especially important to tame our inner critic’s voice when undergoing change.
For when we’re in transition, everything is new, and it is when navigating the new and different that we are most likely to make mistakes along the way.
How we handle those mistakes will influence our perceptions and beliefs about the change, which will then affect our behaviors and subsequent experiences.
So nipping the cranky, nit picky inner critic in the bud sooner than later, is definitely to our advantage during transition and change.
The focus of this theme.
Here’s what will be explored in this theme, along with when you can expect to see it:
This is a much better feeling that worrying that we might (or have) messed up, and tiptoeing through self-imposed land-mines along the way.
So stay tuned for what I hope you will find to be helpful exercises and techniques for befriending, instead of berating, ourselves during change!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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