Thursday Thought #66: Our Inner Critic

The inner critic is always there. A homunculus hanging out in the hardest to reach
caverns of our mind constantly trumpeting the siren song of inadequacy.
Reminding us that someone else can do it better, someone else can get
there faster, someone else can be it easier.

The homunculus is born from the indoctrination of the belief that the tallest
blade of grass always gets cut down: that if we stand out,
we risk the danger of envy or isolation.
So if someone else does not cut us down, we serves the scythe ourselves.

But is this true?

If it is, why do we so often look longingly at the blades shining
brightly in piercing sun — getting a view of the world we so desperately wish for ourselves?

Why do we wish to silence the negative voice?

Quieting the homunculus is not about going to battle with it.
It’s about acknowledgement.
It’s about a acknowledging the fact that it’s there for a reason:
often doing its faithful job to protect us from pain or anguish.
For it’s often not fear itself that arrests us,
but rather the pain — or potential pain — of shame.

Shame is the greatest saboteur of creativity. Unlike anger or sadness, it cannot be transposed. It is simply immobilizing.

So overcoming shame means removing the conditions for its arrival.
This requires trust. It requires a trust in ourselves in
knowing that we only have to reveal as much
of ourselves or our work as we are willing to.

If we trust in ourselves to consciously expand
that willingness incrementally — just one extra inch, or one extra micrometer —
then those micro meters accumulate into miles
and those miles converge into a bridge to a braver self.

But this is some of the hardest, deepest work we can possibly do.
This is why incremental safety is so critical.
It builds our belief in positive outcomes and assuages the critic.

But we must return to the trust building with our saboteur —
every day, without fail. Until one day it learns to trust us.
And once that happens, we can develop a greater faith in our own origination.
Our own originality.

And we can actively rise; proud, exuberant blades of grass.
Enjoying our hard-earned moment in the sun.