I have a little critic in my head. Actually, to be fair I live with 4 tiny little critics in my house, but they only like to be critical about the food on their plates and what one of their siblings wants to watch on TV.
The critic in my head covers deeper issues.
You look fat in these jeans.
You’ll never finish that half marathon you signed up for. (That’s a whole ‘nother post just waiting to happen.)
You’re really not a very good mom right now.
You don’t pay enough attention to your husband.
You’re so in over your head – you can’t handle this!
Your photography is lacking, and you shouldn’t be charging for it.
You’re a pretty terrible friend.
They’re not going to like you – you’re kinda weird.
And on. And on. And on…
Sometimes the little critic is good to have around. It’s like my little nudge to chill out with my kids, put the computer away for an evening so I can just sit, undistracted, with Nick, or to push through a run I really don’t want to do. While I know the critic is full of poo when it tells me I shouldn’t be charging for my photography, it is good when I can use it to push myself creatively and technically instead. Criticism can be good when I use it to power me on to greater things! It can be terrible though when I let it cripple me, and I miss out on life because of it.
A little insider secret here – I’m not as confident as I appear! That, my friends, is an amazing act.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke at a some local mom groups, and I tell you what, even though I knew I could I handle it, I could feel my stomach knotting up the closer I got to the church the groups meet at. The butterflies were insane, and I had to power through them with a lot of pep talks, to cover up the critical thoughts I could feel creeping in already.
The number of times I’ve chickened out of going to a casual get together, just because I don’t know many (if any) people is rather sad, but I did force myself to conquer that one just this weekend.
The appearance critic is the one that pops in most often, and I really dislike that one.
Sometimes it feels like I’m in a fog of self-criticism.
Have you ever watched fog “burn off”? You can feel it coming, because you can see the dim glow of the sun trying to push through. Eventually the sun wins out, and the fog dissipates!
I’ve learned over the recent years when I’m very intentional about letting the “sun” (joy & gratitude) into my life, I’m a far happier wife, mom, friend, and business owner. When I feel the fog creeping in (or it’s settled in for a couple of days of “fun”), I have to really focus on bringing the sun out to burn it off.
Feeling like a crappy mom? Bring on the time out for myself, and then spend some time looking at old pictures and videos with the kids – it always brings smiles to all of our faces, no matter what went down before hand!
Beating myself up over my looks? I spend a lot of time reminding myself of how far I’ve come, and then I make a plan for the next week, whether it be a workout schedule, meal planning, or trying on some clothes that are too big for me now.
Feeling bummed because my business isn’t exactly what/where I want it to be right now? Focusing on how far I’ve come, how things have exceeded my initial dreams by leaps and bounds, and then looking through old photos so I can cringe, and then remind myself how much I’ve improved, helps immensely. Then I can take the new fire and turn it into good things.
Hello sun, buh-bye fog!
Fog always comes back at some point – the key is remembering the sun will come out again too.