The potency of the internal critic/voice of judgment is insidious. It is a master chameleon showing up in many different cloaks, rending itself almost unrecognizable. It creeps up on you when you least expect it, plays havoc with your centre and your ground and runs wild until disempowered. It can be persistently in your experience and it can reappear after a long time away.
As soon as you try to debate it, convince it or argue with it, you engage it and increase its potency. It loves a good argument. It’s wily and it rapidly changes its stance to retain the upper hand. You could be arguing a point and as soon as you get close to “winning”, it will change its direction. Sometimes so much so that it now argues in the opposite direction and, if you are caught in the argument, you often miss the inanity of it.
My internal judge was running rampant yesterday but I didn’t recognize it until this morning – partly because it’s been awhile since it has been so present in me.
Yesterday I felt out of sorts, de-energized and unable to achieve any substantial progress toward my livelihood. Little things irritate me and make me impatient. I recently had a few days away on a little min-vacation. My dad had a medical appointment yesterday that I attended with him and then went for lunch – a beautiful little pattern we have. My son is now beginning March break and I am dedicating time to being with him in some small adventures along the way.
The internal critic is standing back with its arms crossed, shaking its head. “Yup. And just when are you going to get your work done? Your emails sent? Meetings arranged?” A little feeling of panic seeps in. When am I going to do that? There is no time! The panic rises up in me and now there are butterflies in my stomach and a promise of a headache in the offing.
“And, just what were you thinking, going off on a holiday when you have so much to do?” it asks.
“Because we all know that a break away is important to maintaining energy and reinvigorating mind, body and soul so work and life flows easier.” I respond.
“True,” says the internal critic. “But you know you couldn’t really afford it either.”
“I used points to fly. I didn’t shop. I shared accommodation. I had some money tucked away for this break.” I argue, beginning to spin. “And, in all that travel time, I did a full edit of my book.” I say, trying to find the positive, be appreciative, tune into what’s working.
The internal critic nods grimly, “Yes. And what’s happened to your since then? It’s been sitting beside your computer the last few days and nothing more has been done.” (This would be a total of two days, by the way.) “Just how long do you think it’s really going to take to finish that puppy and get it published? As if anyone is really going to read it. Well, of course a few people will, but not the numbers you are hoping for.”
Wham. Wham. Wham. Deeper and deeper in. Fighting with myself to find my appreciative state. To find my centre, my ground. Knowing in my mind I am my own worst enemy in this moment but not able to pull myself out of the spiral. Knowing I am out of my centre and it should be a simple matter to slip back in. It’s not what I do – my actions that are important now, it’s finding the right internal vibration in me. And my vibration is all out of whack which deepens my fear. Tears of despondency show up as I believe into judgment, after judgment, after judgment.
Exhausted I fell into bed and dreamed. I dreamed about flow. I woke up this morning feeling better, feeling lighter. Then the storylines began to filter in again. Then the bolt of realization. So self critical. So self judging. So the voice of my internal judge! Big sigh. Of course. How had I not recognized this insidious internal berating voice taking me backwards and forwards in my imaginings, giving me no peace in the present moment.
A lesson I learned before: whenever my emotions run amok, it is a good clear sign that my internal voice of judgment is lurking in the shadows of my mind, making me a crazy woman!
In simply recognizing it and naming it, its potency is released. Whoosh! I felt myself shift completely into the present moment, smiling at how this internal judge had found its way into my experience and rocked my core enough to have me questioning myself, my self worth and my path, once again. No longer fighting and resisting it, simply naming and noticing. Not arguing. Acknowledging the power of an adversary that has so much to teach me when I pay attention; even the not paying attention is teaching me. All it took to shift me back to my centre and my usual sense of joy, delight and calm was to pay attention, notice, name. Now I prepare to bake with my child and dance into this day in a whole new and renewed way thankful for the moments when I see the choices clearly.