Friday, January 18, 2013

Die, inner critic, die!

Sitting in my weekly EFT tapping circle, I tapped as I listened to topics like family dynamics, self-nurture and the feeling of not being good enough. As I tapped, my feelings of not being good enough and being too fat, grew.

"I really hate myself," I thought, as I tapped.
"No, my inner critic really hates me," I realized a moment later.
"No, my inner critic hates everyone," I thought as I remembered that my mental criticism includes the whole world. I constantly have judgments about what everyone's wearing and what they look like, but I never questioned where those opinions came from. I'm starting to realize how completely I learned to be highly critical of everyone at all times, especially of me, but these aren't all my views. The critical voice in my head is probably a blend of every critical voice I've ever heard in my life and every critical opinion anyone has ever taught me, from "don't sit that way" to "too much salt will kill you."

Sadly, it's been damn hard for me to distinguish between the inner critic and my own natural opinions that are really me. When I start thinking "This is the fattest I've ever been," I believe I'm just being practical and honest. And I start feeling bad.

But I'm making a change. When I start thinking "This is the fattest I've ever been" I will identify that as the inner critic and I will step away from the sentiment. I am not my inner critic. I don't hate me: my inner critic does, and if I keep in mind that my inner critic hates everyone, I can stop taking it personally. There are plenty of people who love me no matter what my weight is. My inner critic cruelly hounds me no matter what my weight is. I've weighed 125 pounds and that critic still told me I was too fat, so screw it!

I've been working for decades on this concept of "negative thinking" and how I need to weed it out of my regular thinking. For decades I had no idea what any of that meant. I thought it was just me in my head, criticizing myself with statements ("my stomach is way too big") that were objective and practical and truthful. I'm only now, at the age of 46, starting to see that such merciless psychological flogging is not a natural or reasonable thing to do. This negativity did not originate in my mind, but was installed there by everyone who ever showed me judgment and criticism. It's time to stop this constant flow of internal nitpicking that's just plain mean.

These days I tap on: 1) There are many people who love me no matter what size I am; 2) I love me no matter what size I am; 3) My inner critic hates me no matter what size I am, so I'm done trying to please it. (There's also a dog that doesn't seem to care what size I am.)

I wish my inner critic would die completely because that just might guarantee me a happy life, but I know the inner critic also has its uses (sometimes I really shouldn't sit that way). But on body issues it hasn't done me any good at all -- not when I was thin and not now that I'm chubby. So on this subject I permanently dismiss my inner critic from the table. So there.

1 comment:

Rayfield A. Waller said...

Everyone has that critic inside them. She or He is not always fastened to a person's body image; sometimes, when it is a HE the inner critic (who will never be satisfied no matter what you do) judges you for your level of success, or your failure to have become as good a man as your father was, or for not being there, in the nursing home beside him at the moment your father died. Or for not always knowing exactly how to comfort your mother when she is going through one of her slightly mad phases pacing endlessly around her house fruitlessly looking for a pill bottle she swears she just sat down nearby. Or not knowing exactly what to say to a young woman who cries in your presence because she has been dumped from college due to lack of tution payments.

Even when you decide there is nothing to say, so you decide to do something instead--and you go to the financial aid office and you argue with them and somehow convince them to let her back in (she is your student, you don't want to see her disappear like dozens, hundreds of other young students all are into the maw of 'economic auterity'), and they actually give in and they let her back in, and she has another chance!

What does the inner critic say?

"Why didn't you do that for all the others who were lost?"

Maybe this bastard is somehow a curse especially for Colored people born in the sixties and seventies--the ones whose parents fought and struggled to get us into the middle class.

Maybe it doesn't mattter if we do, like you said, Regina, keep reminding ourselves that we matter, and that people love us, while the critic never will.