“You’re not doing enough.” – your inner critic
My inner critic is not kind. She’s ruthless at best.
Always nagging, judging and critiquing moves before I even make them.
It’s been a week of making adult decisions, grappling with disappointment, having hard conversations with others. And, my inner critic is running full speed ahead.
She’s telling me that I’m not doing “enough” for the cause, that I’m not making an impact and that I’m no better a person than the day I started this journey of exploration and allyship.
See, I told you. She’s a beast.
But what she doesn’t know is that I’m coming at her ready to dispel all the lies.
Here’s 3 questions I ask to dispel my inner critic:
I use these in every area of my life- my work, life, relationships and that I’ve adapted to our shared pursuit of justice.
Question #1: What impact have you made thus far? Can I measure my impact over the last couple of months? What evidence of change can I identify?
I go for the jugular on this one and grabbing a pencil to jot a quick list helps to combat the false claims of my inner critic.
Change doesn’t happen without action. Looking at results is one very fast and honest way to determine if change is present. Is all change measurable in numbers or data? No. But can you point to a conversation, a noticed shift in mindset, or dollars invested in social change driven organizations.
Question #2. What issues have captivated your heart/mind/fears? What’s keeping you awake at night or sitting heavy on your chest? What are you learning or wrestling or pondering aloud with friends?
Simply acknowledging shifts in our culture and in our personal lives allows us to give space to what has our attention. For example, the constant stream of gun violence in America has my full attention, but my inner critic is telling me that I’m not doing “enough” when it comes to race and LGBTQ conversations.
While I see the intersectionality of the issue and its impacts, I also have a renewed heaviness when my partner and children head off to school in the morning. My passions for racial and LGBTQ rights & protections are still there, my brain is very focused on gun violence. Does it make my work toward justice any less impactful? No. But, it does change my personal learning, conversations and advocacy work and naming this dispels the lies that I’m not doing “enough”.
Question #3. What’s helping you be a better ally?
Are there practices (structured or organic) that have been life-giving or challenging? Think of relationships or “ah-ha” moments that have been beneficial.
It can be as simple as not watching TV or scrolling on social media, or a coffee check in with a fellow ally that was encouraging. It can be an “ah-ha” moment you had when listening to an Instagram story or a book you read that shifted your perspective. Naming what is contributing to your work as an ally helps us to remember to do more of what’s helping rather than constantly reaching for straws.
Each time I use these questions, I find freedom in naming what’s happening in the world around me, how that’s impacting my attention, and I find a fresh perspective for what’s life giving. And because my inner critic is non-stop, this reflection practice allows me to acknowledge my strides, the present challenges while also making space to own each season of life for what it is.
See, 1, 2 and 3.
I’ve settled her back into her rightful place…silenced.
In this with you,