Name it to tame it

Berne Brown, the world famous researcher on shame and vulnerability says that a way to tame your inner critic is to giver her a name and begin to understand her as an entity.

Because the critic thrives on secrecy, silence and the perception of judgment, giving her a name and calling her out on her tactics weakens her power considerably.

Brown calls her critic "Gremlin", but personally, I'd like to think of something nastier. I have tried various names for my inner critic and these days I am calling her "Ms. Blah Blah".

I can always count on Ms. Blah Blah to let me know why what I set out to do is not a good idea or that it is not a good time to do it.

When I wanted to start the Daily Wisdom project, for example, Ms. Blah-blah gave me a hundred excuses why I could not – or should not -do this.

Here are only a few of them:

  1. You are not consistent – you will start and then it will fizzle out
  2. It is too big of a commitment – you don't have the time
  3. You are NOT a good writer. If you do this, everyone will find out!! There is no way you can write something that people will actually want to read every day
  4. This is called spam – don't fill everyone's inboxes with more junk
  5. All this stuff is SO obvious – why bother writing it down

As always, there were so many reasons not to do this.

But the commitment to service, the desire to share and build a community of fellow travelers on the path to self growth, and encouragement from you – won over the voice of Ms. Blah Blah.

Does she still nag me? To be honest, almost every day!

Sometimes, though, she does take a break.

Other times, I have learnt to let her do what she does . . . while continuing to do what I am called to do. . . .

So give your inner critic a name. Start visualizing what s/he looks like. Is she scary or scared? What (or who!) does she sound like?

It might be counter intuitive but when we make this voice more concrete, give it a face and a voice, we begin to realize that it is not so powerful after all.

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