Maybe it begins as soon as you wake up, or perhaps she lets you drink your coffee first. On and off throughout the day, you hear the whispers of doubt. The yammering, nagging voice of inadequacy, the mocking reminder of all you haven’t done, the list-maker of the ways you still don’t measure up.
I don’t know about you, but my inner critic can be a real bitch.
The language of our inner critic is shame. Shame says “No matter what you do, you are never enough.” Shame says “if they really knew me, they wouldn’t love me.” When we experience shame, we feel the need to constantly hustle to prove our worthiness. Although shame is a universal emotion and all of us experience it to some degree, most of us are reluctant to talk about it. According to bestselling author and shame researcher Brené Brown:
Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love, acceptance and belonging.
As I’ve gotten older and learned more about what kicks my inner critic into high gear, I can sometimes recognize her shenanigans, call her on her crap and shut her down. However, there are seasons when she seems to gain the upper hand for a time and I need to get more focused on listening to the other voices in my life: the voice of God and the voices of the people who love me.
Here are a few concrete ways I turn up the volume on the better voices: Continue reading