The other night, my mother and I watched some documentary on television about kids who were geniuses, and they made a big deal about how special these kids were.
“We are all geniuses in our own right,” I said.
“You’re right,” mum said.
“Take you, for example, you make the best stews in the whole world,” I said. “In my opinion, that’s pure genius.”
Later while I was doing the washing-up I thought about all the wonderful ways I’ve experienced my mother expressing herself. When I returned to the living room, I said to her, “In addition to making the best stews, you are the most stylish person, I know.”
“Now you’re pulling my leg,” she said.
“I’m not. You’ve got excellent taste in clothes and shoes. You always look great,” I said. “You’ve got the most beautiful handwriting I’ve ever seen, it’s like calligraphy.”
I could have gone on but I could see she was getting very uncomfortable and even annoyed so I left it at that.
I once wrote a poem that was dedicated to my mother’s wonderful attributes. While she thought the words were beautiful, she couldn’t see herself in the poem. It was as if I was writing about someone else.
I believe what is preventing my mother from accepting her brilliance is the inner critic. I know that voice very well. The inner critic can be a real spoilsport.
For years the inner critic kept chipping away at my self-confidence. I didn’t like the way I looked. I didn’t like who I was. Nothing I did was ever good enough. It didn’t matter how attractive someone thought I was; nor did it matter how many times I read or was told how God loves me and sees me as perfect; how I am innocent; how I am blessed or whatever. Because I didn’t feel that way about myself, the words were just nice words and didn’t feel real to me. They were like water off a duck’s back. It was time to do something about the inner critic.
First, I tried to silence the inner critic. I got into meditation in a big way and even became quite adept at silencing all thoughts. I found that was only a temporary relief because the critic was always there waiting to strike at any given opportunity. The moment I wanted to do something, the voice would remind me how it couldn’t be done, I wasn’t good enough, etc.
Next, I tried using affirmations to replace the inner critic’s many opinions. For instance, when the inner critic said “I look awful,” I would replace it with “I am beautiful” and the inner critic’s comeback would be “No, you’re not.” And so the battle went on.
Finally I realised that instead of trying to get rid of the inner critic or change her, why not simply accept who she is and love her anyway. I then realised that she was a construct of past conditioning and beliefs I have about myself. I could see she was only trying to protect me from hurt in the way she knew how. I felt a lot of compassion for her.
As I continued to love her no matter what her opinions were, I started noticing a difference: she wasn’t as critical as she used to be. Then she changed her tune and became very loving. In other words, she’d gone from being a formidable critic to my PR (Public Relations) agent. She is now constantly telling me how beautiful and brilliant I am and how much she believes in me. Actually, she sounds very much like my four year old self. My mother tells me when I was around that age, I used to tell anyone who would care to listen that I was a beautiful and clever girl. I am that alright, and so much more.
So the inner critic is now my greatest ally. Sometimes she does go on and I have to tell her to keep it down.
“You don’t need to keep on reminding me, I know I am brilliant!” 😀
It’s good to know she is always there though to give me a boost when needed.
It’s so wonderful having the inner critic finally on my side.
Related articles: The Inner Teacher; Self-Respect; Limitlessness; Love Songs of All Time; My Ally; The Double; A Showcase for Greatness; Loving Myself; Beauty; Mirror Mirror on the Wall; My Vision; You are Beautiful; The Conference; It’s Like…I’m Possessed or Something