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While we humans usually know pretty well what’s good for us and what’s not, we are often doing bad in the department of knowing what we are ready for or not.
Yes, we’re quite good at knowing what lifestyle suits us, what foods give us energy, what exercise is good for us, hell we even know what relationships we thrive in. And we know this by our own unique blend of previous experiences, some sound rationalization and (more or less) acting on our gut feeling. All in all we know quite well.
There is one thing we tend to be bad at knowing though. And that’s knowing what we’re ready for and what we’re not ready for. It’s in this department of knowing that we’re often off base. Instead of using our unique blend of experience, brain matter and gut feeling, we let ourselves be reigned by our inner critic. Yes, that little voice side-tracking us by sprinkling confusion and fear in all sorts of forms.
It’s our sneaky inner critic telling us we’re not ready.
We’re not ready to start our business, go for our promotion, write our blog, finish our book, present our talk, exhibit our art…not ready to share ourselves with the world. Yes, our inner critic is having a great time entertaining us with all these stories. And in the meantime we’re hoarding information, honing our skills, perfecting our art to a T…and we’re hiding—all because we’re not ready yet.
But you know what? We are usually more ready than we think we are!
I’ve been hiding for decades while crafting my writing skills. For years I accumulated boxes of inspiration, attended countless writing workshops, wrote endlessly on stories, articles…only to return them back in my files. All because I was not ready yet—so my inner critic told me.
Last year I broke the destructive habit of obeying to my inner critic. I stopped hiding myself and my work and put myself out there. So what made me step up and step out? I got fed up with hearing the same old stories. I got bored to tears by the endless reruns of the same old soap in my head. I decided it was time to acknowledge the inner critic voice in my head, thank her for her feedback, and venture out anyway, putting one foot in front of the other.
Yes, acknowledge, thank and move on—that’s what I usually do with feedback I didn’t ask for anyway. It’s effective, it’s compassionate, and by doing this I experienced I’m so much more ready then I thought!
And I challenge you to do the same: acknowledge, say thanks and move on—three steps to deal with the unasked for feedback from your inner critic. So…
Get yourself a pen and paper. Sit down with your inner critic and spend five minutes writing on all the stories she’s telling you to hold on to, all the stories on what you are not ready for yet. Keep your hand moving, anything you feel you’re not ready for yet—professional, creative, personal, financial aspects, name it all! Write on!
There you have it. Your list of all the things you think are not ready for yet—all the stories, all the feedback your inner critic has been spoon-feeding you…and you took for truth. There it is.
Now, how to know what’s realistic and what’s your inner critic? No need to go there, no need to put your energy there. Why keep taking your inner critic so serious when she’s done nothing but discouraging you? Thank your inner critic—be kind, be compassionate, I’m sure she’ll mend well—and move on to get some real constructive feedback.
Where? Out there! Look at your list and act.
Pick one thing, the one thing that your heart is drawn to now and do it. I started by putting myself out there with a small article. So can you, go for it! Put yourself out there, if necessary step by step, and let the results, the feedback that you get back from the world help you. Yes, help you. Not to know whether you are ready or not, because you always are, but help you to find out where you need to grow some more.
Acknowledge, say thanks and act on the feedback of your inner critic—a sure way to grow into the things you are so ready for!
Author: Elles Lohuis
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Courtesy of Author