Hands up who’s inner critic lives rent free in their heads?
I recently guested on the inspiring up and coming This is Life podcast, where I was asked a series of questions about approaching yoga as a beginner.
I felt prepared and excited at the chance and when the day finally came, the recording time absolutely whizzed by.
Once we went our separate ways, I paused to reflect and realised I’d been so in the moment it was almost like a form of black out. Soon after came the snide remarks from the inner critic – “you didn’t let her get a word in” “you were disrespectful” “who the hell are you to talk on that point anyway’”
The beast came to play! And when she means business, without a defense strategy in place and awareness of the intrusion, she will have her way!
I beat myself up for days, even considering contacting the host to suggest we redo or scrap the project entirely. I expressed to her how I was worried I’d tanked it and she reassured me in such a genuine way that it calmed me enough to wait patiently for the episode’s release.
When the episode came out, I listened alone and couldn’t fathom what all my fuss had been born out of, it was more than alright! I gave myself permission to be proud of my work and to be kind to myself. The whole process then inspired this investigation, in the name of Svadhyaya (self study) I had to understand what had happened and how to protect myself against it next time.
I wish I had had the insight then to stop the negative thought process in it’s tracks, combined with the sweetness to reassure myself that what had happened during the recording was that I’d entered a flow state, talking passionately without the need to self edit, about the topic that gives me life. It was alright that I hadn’t memorised every word spoken, I could have considered how that could add an element of excitement to hearing it for the first time. I could have called out the imposter syndrome, seen it for what it was and brought myself lovingly out of it.
Amidst this private pick on Dani party I was hosting in my head, we got a review at the bed and breakfast business that I run with my family and live in, about how as guests they were forced to listen to my yoga classes which disturbed their peace. This tipped me over the edge totally. I cancelled out the week’s classes and pretty much plummeted into the racket of my mind, playing tug of war with myself until the rope snapped and I reached out for advice and guidance from good friends and professionals. I eventually found the strength to reply to the constructive and fair criticism which instantly lifted some of the load. I weighed up this particular comment with hundreds of others and saw it for what it was. One person’s opinion. We took on my darling Mum’s B&B to honour her dream, I reconnected with that reason and made peace with the fact that reviews are a key part of how this type of business runs. My sensitive soul better strap in, because there are no doubt always going to be reviews of that nature. Our home isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. For some people my voice is soothing and for others they will just wanna stick a sock in my mouth! The same goes for this island I adore calling home, some see it as barren and bland and others are swept off their feet by its unique beauty. It’s all subjective, I don’t need validation from outside of me. I just need to not turn my back on myself when faced with the challenges of life. I have realised a massive contributing factor to this inner critic’s voice becoming louder than usual recently, is because my mum’s fog horn voice isn’t there drowning it out anymore, shouting from the rooftops that I’m all shades of brilliant. I have to be my own cheerleader now, in a way, my own parent.
Upon reflection, it actually makes me sad that I put myself through that turmoil. This inner critic, this version of me, she looks and sounds the part, but she is an imposter, a fraud, with no good intention, she is a corrupted file in my subconscious. I am inviting her in for a cup of tea in writing this experience out, I’m getting to know her. Simply recognising an issue isn’t enough to fix it, that’s just the first step. Unless we do the work to understand and interrupt the cycle, it’ll keep playing out the same. We gotta get intimate with these demons!
I’m making a pledge here today, that next time she rears her ugly head, I’ll refer to this experience, I’ll remember the podcast episode, this post. I’m making a proof list, I’ll keep bits of evidence, receipts of my hard work and collections of compliments, I’ll catch myself amidst the spiral and befriend the beast, look her in the eye and say pay up or get out. I’ll ask myself, what would Mum say? Thank you inner critic for the lesson. See you soon no doubt!