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I. The exercise
Put the laptop away. Check. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Check. Put the phone away. Check.
I sit with myself for 10 minutes. I observe. Leaves move with the breeze, noise from the neighbors, birds chirping, the city buzzing.
Mind: Oh, I am gonna write about this.
Body: I am holding my own hand. My heart is pounding. I am feeling pressure moving from my solar plexus to my chest—up and down. It’s difficult to stay put, I want to move.
More thoughts. Then, she arrives.
Hello, darkness, my old friend…
It was a close encounter of the fifth kind with my inner critic. She came and shouted things at me—terrible things. The more I tried to shut her down, the louder she got.
So, I just listened. And once in a while, I asked, “Why?”
You’re not going to make it—why?
You don’t do anything right—why? (I do many things right, by the way).
I felt her going up through my neck and out the top of my head. It felt as if I had a pot of boiling water in my chest and all the steam was causing pressure in my body.
I had to have a nap right after.
I woke up refreshed and hopeful again.
I thought, “You’ll never make it if you are like this.” Like this? How?
Do you mean “like a child?” Do you mean interested in languages?
My inner critic speaks the twisted tongues of generations upon generations of people living in survival mode before me. These were my roots.
The voice in my head that told me I won’t make it was my father’s voice, trying to love me the best he could. The best he was taught to.
I actually can make it, and can honestly say I have made it and continue to make it. Every day a little bit more, in my own way and at my own pace.
My mother’s voice told me not to risk anything because I will surely lose—that was a loving voice as well. She thought it was. She was trying to be.
The bigger the risks I have taken, the bigger the rewards…at most times. The losses were always valuable lessons.
Some of these phrases were programmed in my head with the best intentions to keep me safe. It was the only way they knew how to love me.
It was the only way they knew how to be, sometimes trying to protect me, others projecting and inflicting their own wounds upon me.
A lot of pain was passed on because it was too heavy to carry. Hurt children will hurt their children who will, in turn…you get it. Until someone wakes up and breaks the cycle.
These phrases are now obsolete because I have a reason to trust myself and I know I always land on my feet.
The voice of my inner critic never had a good intention, she was only there to offend.
How can I be this girl’s best friend and help her heal?
How do you get on with yours?
How long can you sit with yourself in silence?