This blog is an excerpt from my new e-book “The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do The Same For You”. This chapter is taken from Part 7: Abundance Consciousness. The e-book can be previewed for free and purchased for $9.99 at Smashwords.com. Or $9.84 at Amazon.com.
Let me begin this post by differentiating between pointless and destructive self-criticism and positive and constructive self-discipline. Self-discipline is an excellent trait to possess and to develop. Self-discipline helps us to stick to the choices we make and see our decisions through, to be honest and ethical in our dealings and not slip into behaviors that we wish to avoid. Pointless and destructive self-criticism on the other hand has no value whatsoever. The critical voice in your head that always appears when you are at your weakest, only to compound your misery by reminding you of all your faults, “You’re an idiot, you are worthless, unlovable, a failure, why do you even try?”, is something that you do not need and can, if you so choose, be rid of.
Chances are that if you are a human being reading this you have experienced this kind of inner monologue at certain times during your life. I had a terrible time in my late teens and early twenties with these kind of self-destructive thought processes, it’s amazing how effective these thoughts can be at draining our energy and leading us into a depressive slump! Well let me just tell you now that through the process that I will be describing in this article I have, fully and completely, erased this kind of destructive self-criticism from my internal dialogue, that voice no longer exists for me, and I’ll show you how you can remove it as well.
Let me start by assuring you that it is in fact totally fine and good to remove it. Some of us might actually think that this critical voice is serving a function that once removed would allow us to slack off and become lazy, that this critic is actually just keeping us on our toes. This is absolutely not true, and I’ll tell you why. Unlike the other voice or voices that make up our internal dialogue (the voice that makes plans, the voice that ponders, the voice that day dreams and thinks up fun scenarios, the voice that solves problems) the critic voice is not original, it is not capable of creative and original thought. The critic voice is actually made up of criticisms picked up during childhood and adolescence from parents, relatives, teachers, siblings, the media and so on. Because at that vulnerable young age we are still reliant in the protection of our guardians, our mind, like a computer, catalogues these scolding’s and criticisms in order to stay in good favor with our providers.
Of course for those unfortunate people exposed to particularly cruel guardians and peers, the residual effect is a fierce critical voice that stays with them long after they have grown up and are no longer under the protection or influence of their original critics! The critical voice which states things like “I’m stupid, I’m clumsy, unlovable, a failure, I’ll never be happy”, is simply echoing the voices from the past. The critic voice, like a broken record, repeats the same unoriginal hurtful mantras picked up from others, but brings them into the present tense and uses the first person perspective to make it sound relevant and personal. The critic voice is neither! So as you can see you do not need this voice, it’s not your voice, it’s only function is to bring you down, once you get rid of it you will still have your capacity to solve problems and be self-disciplined, and all without the hindrance of the nagging and nit picking inner critic.
Creating an Observer
So now that we have defined and identified the inner critic, and have decided that it is something to be gotten rid of for the sake of our personal happiness and well being let’s find out how to go about doing just that. In the landscape of our internal dialogue most of us have two characters, the Critic and the Doer. The Doer is us, the character who tries things, who makes plans, who goes to work, who has relationships, who has needs and responsibilities. The Critic does not do anything at all except for picking on the Doer. I’d like you now to form the personification of these two characters as two young children playing in a room. The Doer child always does his best to play, build and have a fun and productive life, while the Critic child sits back and nit picks and bullies the Doer while doing nothing useful himself. It’s important to separate these voices and attribute all pointless and painful self-critical thoughts and beliefs you may have to the Critic child and to identify your true self with the Doer child.
This is what most people’s inner landscape looks like, but in order to silence the Critic child we must introduce a third character into this dialogue, enter the Observer. Imagine now that a kind and decent adult enters the room where these two children are playing on the carpet and takes a seat up on the sofa, with a good view of everything happening down below. As the children play and the Doer goes about his business, the critic begins to give the Doer a hard time; “You are doing it wrong, why do you always mess it up? Are you really that stupid?! You can’t do anything right”. The adult sees this going on and with a smile, calmly begins to speak;
“Hey now, the Doer only ever does his best, he doesn’t always get it right, but no one gets everything right all the time. And who are you to criticize? I haven’t seen you trying to live or build or take chances like the Doer does, all you do is laze around and nit-pick. You be quiet now Critic and don’t let me hear you again unless you’ve got something useful and constructive to say.”
This is your observer. Anytime you notice yourself spiraling into a whirlpool of self-critical thoughts introduce the Observer! The Observer comes in with the voice of reason, logic and compassion. For example, if I find myself beating myself up, my Observer might sound something like this;
“Rohan, Rohan, Rohan, come on, stop it for a second and listen. You know you did your best, and things outside of your power conspired to mess things up for you, so don’t be going on about how it’s all your fault and that you are an idiot, that’s irrational and not true. You have responsibilities and people in your life who need you to be a reasonable, rational and positive guy so stop going around in circles criticizing yourself when we both know that you are a decent human being just doing your best.”
This is my Observer, I use this voice when I’m stuck in a rut and need a little pep talk or wake up call to snap me out of a cycle of pointless self-criticism. These days I rarely need my Observer at all! It is just so rare that my inner critic even says anything, which is a drastic change from how my inner dialogue went only a few years ago with regular bouts of self-critical and self-pitying inner dialogues. So I would encourage you to employ this technique, whenever you find yourself beating yourself up or being down on yourself, introduce the Observer, let him or her bring some compassionate truth and reason to the conversation and silence the bullying Critic. Initially you may need to visualize the landscape of children playing and the wise and decent adult watching as they play in order to separate the voices and effectively introduce the Observer, but in time you will be able to quickly and effortlessly bring the Observer voice in to silence the critic, you may even find that the Observer’s rationality and compassion becomes your primary inner voice, wouldn’t that be wonderful!
Thanks for reading
If you enjoyed this excerpt from “The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do The Same For You” the full e-book can be previewed for free and purchased for $9.99 at Smashwords.com. Or $9.84 at Amazon.com.
- Delusion; A Strange and Powerful Master
- On Self Loathing
- All Women Are Real Women
- Mirror Mirror on the Wall
- Beating Myself Up Still
Click the book titles to visit their Amazon pages, read the reviews, and sample or purchase the books.