Dear Inner Critic,
You have showed yourself to me often throughout the years. I have come to give you an image recently, no name, just an image. You are a neutral colored block. And you happen to be living right around my solar plexus, around my belly, chest, and throat. You have become one of the parts of me over the years, emerging as different entities that hurt my true being.
I know, Critic, you did not mean to hurt me. You feel like your presence helps me. You supported me in keeping my apartment clean and paying my bills, but you also run my low points of life. I grew up as the girl who never fit in, who suffered from anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder (that I have worked damn hard to beat in spite of you). I feared the opinions of everyone around me, and the image of myself that never seemed to fit your standards. And it hurt.
It hurt when I was 10 years old and all I wanted to do was make friends and fit in, but you made me feel like I wasn’t good enough—that I was too shy to stand out. It hurt when my other classmates in middle school made fun of my pale, fair skin with acne. It hurt when I didn’t make the tennis team in high school. It hurt when I didn’t get accepted to my dream school.
It hurt when the one boy I had let myself think that I loved didn’t love me back. It hurt when I didn’t look like the other girls that, to me, seemed happy. It hurt when I was too weak to make it out with my friends. It hurt when I did make it out and felt the fear. It hurt when I was going through recovery. It hurt when I realized that I may not be living the life that I had always dreamed of.
Because you told me that I was not good enough.
Critic, you thought that you were keeping me safe, I understand that. You kept me in my comfort zone. Especially now, those feelings of anxiety, fear, depression, and insecurity are so damn heavy! And they became comfortable, cozy even. But, I mistook the coziness for constriction.
Being so wrapped up in the fear of the way the world react to who I really am, I constricted the flow for compassion and love for myself to come in. I deprived myself of the deep, fulfilling satisfaction that can come from giving myself a little bit of admiration for all that I have accomplished and all that I am in each moment.
I have deep desire for the passion that lives within me that is longing for me to dance! To be free. To take who I am and what I have learned up until now and be okay. Simply okay.
To be okay on the days where you may show up and try to beat me down for not getting the best grade, not going to the gym, and not saving enough money. Instead, I give myself some slack. Some TLC so I can get up, keep going, and learn for myself.
So thank you, Critic, for all that you have been able to teach me. I can pay my bills, clean, and do my homework on time because that is me now. I can do the things that I need to do without that voice feeding me fear. I can do the things I want to do. You may go into retirement, Critic, at a nice, lovely palm tree lined beach somewhere in Florida. And I’ll stay here.
I’ve got this.
Author: Olivia Allen
Editor: Travis May