Did you know there’s a nasty little monster that lives inside of your head?
We don’t like to talk about it much.
It’s the voice that tells us that we are not good enough, should have done this or that. Sometimes the bully will make statements like you’re hopeless, lazy and useless.
Harsh and judgmental words aren’t they. Makes you feel like crap.
It’s your inner critic and we all have one.
What’s your inner critic?
Our inner critic is part of our ego structure.
Being blessed with the most kind and loving parents in childhood does not protect us from the pervasive and pernicious influences of parents, schools or religions. So we swallow whole beliefs, values and confusing messages about ourselves without stopping to refute them.
Children don’t know how to process so they can internalise even the smallest, flippant remark from a teacher, and then create a story around it and give it meaning.
The good news!
Now as an adult you have a choice to explore whether there’s any truth to the negative speak, and this can be done through understanding your critic’s roots and experimenting with disengaging from it and its effects.
Think about it. No baby is born lazy, clumsy or stupid. So if I bring to your awareness that you have picked up these messages along the way, there is already some relief at diffusing its message.
I encourage people to create a monster and make it really ugly. Then visualise it on your shoulder and saying nasty things into your ear.
Get a sense of your critic. Notice what happens for you as the monster speaks. Sometimes you can recognise the voice being that of a parent, teacher or a generic voice.
The critic is so powerful, but only if you buy into the silly speak.
Last month, my Lazy Bully popped into my head whilst I was engrossed in So You Think You Can Dance.
My Lazy Bully said: Why haven’t you cleaned the bathroom?
I said to my Bully: Look I’ve walked the dog, vacuumed downstairs, been to Coles, cooked a curry, but now I need to rest. Don’t bully me. I remember when I listened to you and that’s how we ended up with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for five years. We don’t want that again.
The trick is to dialogue with the inner critic and negotiate a peaceful truce. Well mine had a stroppy tone:
Thank you for caring about me so much so that I don’t turn into a fat slob or die from bathroom mould, but I’ve heard enough, and can assure you it will get done sometime tomorrow.
So next time you have a Bully on your Back try this:
1. Notice that it’s the bully talking to you and not you.
2. Muster the superhero strength inside of you to refute the silly speak.
3. Find a way of disarming him (or her).
Here are some examples:
That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
Oh really so you can do better.
What nonsense, I’m always considering the feeling of others.
When did I do that?
My son created his own worry monster and sometimes I notice him slapping himself on the shoulder when his bully gets in the way of having a good time.
So don’t let your bully get the better of you or stop you from feeling that you have to be something more (perfect) than you already are.
About The Author:
She has over 10 years counselling, coaching, and mentoring experience in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs working with women on wellness, personal, business and work-life balance issues.
Fiona is a member of GANZ (Gestalt Australia and New Zealand) a professional association for Gestalt practitioners who are committed to creative, competent, effective and ethical practice.
Fiona was a guest lecturer at UNSW on Gestalt Play Therapy to psychology students, given talks and concessional counselling to members of the ME/CFS society of NSW.
Visit Fiona’s site to book an appointment or a free 20 min Skype call.