THE INNER CRITIC
My inner critic is a she-voice in my head, telling me that I (of all people!) can’t create what I want to create! She encourages me to be lazy and helps me think bad thoughts about myself, my life and my creative work. Mostly she likes to stand in the way of success and mocks me when I fail. Actually, her favorite thing to do is to remind me that I will never be a successful person and that I fail more often than not.
I learned of her presence a few years ago when Tine Wiggens of Studio Friday talked about sending her IC (inner critic) on holiday to get some work done. I too wish it would be that simple, but such a creature is a part of yourself and it is always so very difficult to get away from yourself! Most people would pay good money to never hear that voice again but no matter how many affirmations we say about our own greatness your own IC will come back and let you know: You suck! You should give up, you will never know what you want with your life anyway…
I detest that voice. Some call it gremlin. To me it’s a little monster with lots of black fur and eyes that can see through any darkness and find me, wherever I try to hide. She lives in my shadow and is never far away from me. The air she breathes is fear and self loathing, and she makes the happy dance whenever I cry or roll under a blanket to “rest”.
She often tells me how silly it is to appreciate toys, rainbows, twinkling pink lights, gingerbread houses and silly doodles. She wants me to grow up and stop playing, and I work hard to resist her demands.
When I was reading Diana Trout’s book I tried to imagine my Inner Critique (the IC) and how it would look visually, but it was hard.
I imagined her looking like me but more strict, slick and in an office suit. She was the grown up that couldn’t accept my inner child. She would, like an old school teacher, rise her finger at me and telling me to be a smart girl and stop dreaming.
I thought the IC would be a picture of me, because it is such a strong voice in me. But that did not work and I couldn’t draw the IC that way. Because I couldn’t step away from myself, and I am a grown up (who has come to appreciate office clothes; I started to dress in skirt, pantyhose and shirt last year) – sometimes looking more grown up than I feel. Was I then becoming the Inner Critic (or an image of her) or walking her errands? Can you turn into the Inner Critic you want to avoid? Now I know that the inner critic does not look like me. She may talk with my voice and use my fear for dinner, but she does not look like me at all.
My Inner Critic is a little monster living inside of me. She is the weak part of me that I can never loose, but I will stop listening to. I need to accept her. We all have some kind of creature like this living in our head/body. Some people work with it, some fight against it. Some people don’t listen and maybe they’re not even aware of the voice and that is probably a good thing. It must be nice to go about your business not hearing that voice. Some people start to accept what the IC is saying as the truth, and then they stop trying all together, and that’s the worst part!
I hear mine loud and clear. Often enough I listen, but I try not to! She questions all my decisions and sometimes affect them more than I wish for. She tells me to stay in bed, to stay still, to shut up, to procrastinate my Big Projects and to stop Dreaming. Every day she tells me:
You can’t write Hanna. You can’t even sit down to start, if you do you become to tired to write! You don’t make enough money, and you don’t even know how. You never have and you never will. You should be doing X but instead you are not doing anything productive. You are such a lazy person. There is something wrong with you.
My inner critic is called Icki, short for Icki-banna. And now that I made her into a paper doll, at least I can (symbolically) tell her to leave the room and let me work. I can put her under the table if I want to. Make your own as a paper doll!
Have you met your IC yet? How do you deal with her/him?