The Critic In My Head Needs A Muzzle
My friend calls the critics in our heads our ‘sh*tty committees’. I once heard a Christian author refer to her self-critic as “the b*tch upstairs”.
I just call my ‘critic committee’, “Dani". Because Dani is learning to love all parts of herself, not just the parts I like and would prefer to reveal to the world. But even the parts that I wish I didn’t have to reveal…even to myself. That is part of the journey to radical acceptance of myself and others the Lord has me on.
Here’s the bottom line, I am my worst enemy and my biggest critics have taken up residency in my head. And it seems they are ready to pounce on me at any given opportunity and push me off the ledge.
My bent towards anxiety doesn’t help with this process either. There are times when my anxiety is such a mean bully I regret all social interactions. And I’m an extravert. Actually, I am an introverted extravert. Yes, it’s confusing but there is such a thing.
I have really been battling my head lately. For some reason this head full of critics takes liberty to blast me at times, my head is something I battle daily. That being the case, I thought I would share a few thoughts on this subject because there may be a few more of us out there that often battle our heads. It’s good to know we aren’t alone!
Lately, the 'Dani critics 'in my head have had way to much control of my thought life. It’s time to revoke their voting rights. Actually, it’s time to tame that beast and to put a muzzle on her.
I sat with a friend yesterday who is talented, loving, smart and is in a role that she gets to use all of her gifts to bless others. And she is a blessing! The only problem is, she doesn’t see it or bless herself. She pulls the best out of others, yet beats herself up. Her critic in her head takes time every evening to remind her of all of her shortcomings and the things she ’should have’ and ‘could have’ done that day better. Can you relate? I can.
I was on a mission yesterday to help her see her self critical ways and the critics upstairs beating her down and defeating her. And now I am on a mission to beat that committee in my own head as well. It seems as though these voices in my head have free reign to say what they want and to criticize my every choice. Who gave them permission? I don’t know exactly where the voices came from or who planted them there. I can speculate but frankly, at this stage in my life it doesn’t really matter anymore. I would love to evict the critic upstairs, but I am not sure that is how it works. So I have decided I would like to talk her out of a job.
I have been working on ‘self talk’ a lot for the last several years. When my counselor first brought it up I thought he was a little crazy and needed therapy himself. I thought to myself, “Only crazy people talk to themselves!”. But the more I do 'self talk' in the right direction the more I realize how powerful it is. I can either steer my 'self talk' in a positive direction and speak truth or I can allow the bully upstairs to just continue to beat me down. Nothing is ever good enough for her.
I say things to myself that I would never dare say to another human being. Ok, if I’m honest maybe I would say them to my husband during a temper tantrum. Yes, grown-ups have tantrums too…at least this grown up does. Less and less though, thankfully! The only difference between my tantrums and when my children were toddlers in the height of their tantrum days is that I have never actually thrown myself on the grocery store floor in protest about something. Although I have wanted to. But the thought of all of those germs alone keep me from doing it. I can barely touch a shopping cart without thoroughly disinfecting it, so you can imagine the insanity of me on the floor of a store. But I have thought about it…
I hate that our human tendency is to hurt and ‘take it out on’ those people closest to us. And the reality is, if we are taking anything out on others, we are more than likely beating ourselves up inside as well. Whether we like it or not, we are our closest friend…
I am reminded often, God gave us ourselves first to steward. Sometimes my self talk is as simple as talking myself in to being more gracious, kind, forgiving and compassionate towards myself.
Matthew 22:39b Jesus said, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”—I realize some of us struggle to love anyone well. But there are some of us who are so good at loving others, that we forget the most important part of that verse says “as you love yourself”.
I have heard this verse quoted and have quoted it myself to encourage Christians to love others better. And good Lord, that so needs to happen. But the reality is, we are called to love ourselves as well. That doesn’t mean we are supposed to be narcissistic jerks and totally self absorbed. But we are called to extend Grace inwardly to our own hearts as well as to others. That means being kind, gracious, compassionate, loving and forgiving of ourselves and also being patient and understanding as we slowly change and grow.
I have got to get better at loving myself. And that means fighting that critic and committee inside. That means not taking what that committee says as ‘truth’. Not allowing the self doubt, and self sabotage it creates to take root. I want to quiet the critics and have more freedom to live my life. The critics inside have a crippling affect on me at times.
It’s time to muzzle them and let the truth of grace, love and compassion set me free…
John 8:31-31 Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Freedom comes when truth is revealed.
Brennan Manning says: “Real freedom is freedom from the opinions of others. Above all, freedom from your opinions about yourself. ” --Brennan Manning, "The Wisdom of Tenderness: What Happens When God's Fierce Mercy Transforms Our Lives"
To live free of judgements. Free from others opinions and judgements and FREE from our own judgments of ourselves…what a glorious day that will be to truly live free from all judgements!
I have heard that half the battle is won by just knowing the real battle we are fighting. So I guess I am half way there. Go me!
So if you battle your head, you are not alone! Don't give up the battle, fight it. Talk yourself off the ledge over and over again with grace, compassion and love. You are worth it!
“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” --Brennan Manning, "Abba's Child: The Cry Of The Heart For Intimate Belonging"
Daily Grace to you.
Big blessings and love to you all,
Ways to connect with Dani: