Our thoughts attitudes and beliefs are mirrored back to us by our experience in the world. Everything we see and experience directly relates to what we have allowed ourselves to believe, the attitudes we have adopted, and the way we think. If we aren’t aware of our thoughts, both the “good” ones and the “bad’ ones, they become our beliefs. The voice in our heads ends up running our life, and brings about both wanted and unwanted experiences. The object is to remain present in the moment and aware of the voice in your head. I call that voice that is constantly jabbering away in your head, the Critic.
We can’t turn the Critic off, so we might as well learn to listen to it consciously. Our lack of awareness gives the Critic free reign to add all kinds of judgments, fearful thoughts, and limiting misinterpretations that complicate our life immensely. The Critic and our Ego work hand in hand in producing a world of fear and separation. It takes the light of consciousness to snap us out of those dark interpretations that limit our experience of life.
For instance , I might be outside in my backyard reading or just being with the beauty I find there, when suddenly a thought crosses my mind. The thought is innocent enough, maybe a picture of something in the future, an audition, or a meeting with someone. The Critic immediately judges that thought and makes it either good or bad. Until that moment, the thought was just about a meeting with someone. The judgement the Critic puts on that thought can turn it into either a good thought or a fearful thought, a thought of how limited we are, or how successful we will be. If I don’t catch that thought, I am pretty much at the mercy of my inner critic. Unless I have built up a consistent belief in my ability to successfully meet with people, the thoughts about that meeting might very well turn to fear and insecurity. By bringing my thoughts into awareness, I put myself in a position of choice. I can either choose to buy into the fear, or choose another more successful thought that empowers me.
At the same time, I might become aware of my tendency to get negative or threatened about meeting with authority figures. Instead of beating myself up about that tendency, I can use it to discover where that limiting thought came from. I can get curious instead of regretful. As I turn on the light of awareness, the fear almost always becomes less intense. I am able to look at what my mind is doing to keep me in fear. I can release any regret or fear I might feel, and in that surrender, free my intuition to bring up possible links to my past. Maybe there was a three second moment in my past when an authority figure scared me, and in an attempt to protect me, my Critic decided that I would avoid authority figures or feel that same fear every time I actually had to meet with an authority figure again. That original moment has passed a long time ago, but by hanging onto the hurt I felt, it might remain very real for me to this day. And I’m the one who kept it real by hanging onto it. Understandably, it has limited me in my dealings with people ever since.
There is a way out of this kind of unwanted fearful reaction. The way lies in our awareness of the voice in our head. We can start right now by catching the voice in action. You might be doing the dishes, taking a shower, talking on the phone, or almost any daily task, and suddenly you’ll be aware of the voice in your head.
- What is the voice saying?
- Is that thought helpful or limiting, fearful of empowering?
Do I believe that thought?
- If not, say goodbye to the thought by planting a more positive thought instead.
- If so, where did that belief originate in my past?
Note: it’s not necessary to be able to define the exact moment or event. Just be curious until you are able to piece it together later.
- Has it limited me before?
- Do I want to change that thought?
- Say to yourself, “I release any attachment to that limiting thought.
- Say to yourself, “I now think this empowering thought instead. (name the new thought).
Another way of getting control over the Critic in your head is a technique a friend of mine calls Training Your Ego Puppy.
Start by visualizing what physical form that Critic/Ego might take. Give it a shape. It might be a monster, a critical teacher, a wicked witch, or even a blob. Whatever you picture will work.
Then give it a name, Nervous Nellie, Little Man, or even Shithead. Mine is Mr. Know-it-All.
Now attach a leash to the Critic/Ego, grab the other end of the leash in your imagination, and yank that Critic/Ego out of your head and tie it up to something in the area.
Say to it, “Critic, I don’t need you filling my head with fear. I see what you look like, and I’m on to your tricks. I’ll choose my own thoughts from now on. I know we have to work together, but know I’m watching you.”
Now watch as it tries to creep back in as you go about your life. When it does, just like catching a puppy doing what it shouldn’t, stop it in its tracks, Gently show the Ego/Critic the right way to think by replacing the negative thought, and go about your business again. If you keep practicing this technique, as silly as it sounds, you will train yourself to observe your thoughts and catch the negative ones before they take root.
Watch your thoughts. Watch the words you use. Start thinking empowering thoughts and speaking empowering words, and watch your life change. I guarantee it.