I put on a pair of shorts yesterday. I have had them for a few years, but hadn’t worn them since last summer.
I love these shorts – they fit just right, they have a nice deep pocket in the back for my phone, they are just the right length, they dry quickly… you get the idea.
They’re THAT pair of shorts you’re happy to have and wish I had bought 4, in different colors.
I suddenly had different feelings about them when they didn’t slide up smoothly as before.
I mean, they still fit and I decided to wear them for most of the day, but I thought about them a lot.
Actually, I didn’t think about the shorts. The thoughts were more about the wearer of the shorts.
Maybe you’re familiar with some of these thoughts. They started out like these:
- What happened?
- Why are these shorts so tight?
- Oh, I know what happened.
- Why did it happen?
- Why did you let yourself get here?
- HOW did you let yourself get here?
- You knew better!
- You like these shorts… it would be sad to let them go.
- Really? Did this really happen?
- Let’s do something about this.
- Ugh… It’s too hard to do anything about it.
- When can I get out of these shorts? They are NOT comfortable. Oh, they used to feel so good!
- Let’s not eat dinner tonight. That will help.
- No, not tonight. We can start tomorrow.
This might seem like a lot of chatter, but it may have taken 10 seconds for all of these thoughts to swirl around in my brain – maybe even less. I was not aware of them as they were actively swirling until I noticed unpleasant emotions of resistance and deprivation.
That was when I “woke up” to the swirl.
With a few years of self coaching, being coached, AND helping coach others, I knew these emotions very well, and I knew how to stop the swirl.
It went like this:
- I acknowledged the swirl of thoughts – the same old ones every time I feel uncomfortable in my body.
- I recognized that the swirl is a result of my inner critic doing her ‘job.’
- I remember that she likes to stay busy, this part of me, and thinks she’s being very helpful. She thinks that the swirl of self judgement will make me change, give me motivation and do better.
Do you have an inner critic, too?
Most of us do – especially those of us who consider ourselves perfectionists or over achievers. We’ve got her driving the bus, or train or plane – whatever vehicle we choose to ride on along this human journey.
A few years ago when I was introduced to my inner critic for the first time, I decided to name her Margaret.
To be continued in the next blog post…