I Am My Own Worst Enemy?…….BS!

14 Apr

Screaming Inner CriticWhoever came up with this quip clearly doesn’t understand how beating ourselves up is not only unhelpful and shaming, moves us further away from our goals, and demands a removal from what is  best in us, but also hasn’t paid enough attention to that inner enemy to recognize that it’s not our voice screaming at us.

I’m calling BS to the statement that I am my own worst enemy. “I” am not the critic. “I” don’t want to pursue my goals with the sinister voice of negative appraisal and toxicity shouting to be heard and demanding respect. “I” wouldn’t speak to myself in a way that causes me to cower and lower my head, hide, and begin believing that I’m not good enough to be authentic. And “I” am fully aware that the disconnection I feel and lack of compassion that I hear sometimes in my head does not lift me up, give me confidence, or support positive efforts to grow. No. In fact, that insidious, hateful inner critic causes me to shrink into myself, isolate, and question why I even try.

The Inner CriticSo BS that I’m my own worst enemy. That voice that says to me, “Kori, you have to push harder. Don’t let them see your vulnerability. If you don’t do _________, you’ll be rejected and ostracized. Don’t even think about earning that person’s respect!” Yes, that one. I can feel my chest tightening as I type this. That voice will always be there, but it’s not my voice. My voice wouldn’t tear me down. My voice rises up. My voice quiets itself to listen to my truth rather than talking over it, interrupting, and shoving its way to the front of the room.  The critic’s voice – the heckler at the front of the auditorium- rings loud and clear. But its not my conscience. I can listen to it, but I can decide how much attention to pay to it. I can hear it, but I get to choose how much power it receives.

So heckle away, inner critic. Do your thing. But you are not me. I am my own best advocate.

Vulnerability Just Ahead

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2 Responses to “I Am My Own Worst Enemy?…….BS!”

  1. Mari April 17, 2013 at 3:54 PM #

    Wow! Although, I used to have a habit of saying that I am my own worst critic (sometimes I still say that), I have thought of this before. I’ve often wondered if it really is my conscience speaking or the voices of other critics that have lingered in my head long after the critics have been gone. This makes so much sense!

    • kpropst April 18, 2013 at 9:01 AM #

      Mari, Thanks for your thoughts. We’ve all got stories that were written on our brains by the messages we gleaned from others growing up, from people who have influenced or impacted us throughout our lives, etc. Often the stories were helpful and caused us to act in ways that were self-protective and prevented us from getting into trouble or suffering negative consequences. But they stick around, and as we mature they may become less and less effective when we believe them and let them guide our actions. It’s time then to ask “is this something I want to give my attention?” We can’t stop them, and the harder we try the louder they’ll scream. Anyone who has tried thought suppression understands that trying NOT to think about something only exacerbates the thought. We need to acknowledge they are there, but then we have the option of deciding how to respond.

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