Talk To Your Inner Critic

Yes, instead of “destroying him/her” because it’s a “villain” or just calling this part of yourself “asshole” or other bad names – try talking.

I noticed during the last months that a lot of people are having their shadow personas come up and the advice given in some groups like “always turn to the light” or “share your shame and it goes away” simply are not helping in the long run.

Which is a shame (pun intended) – because there are great tools for this work out there, in fact they have been out there since Debbie Ford published her ground-breaking book “The Dark Side of The Light Chasers”.

Until then people on the spiritual path or in self development where taught to turn to the light, always think positive, talk positive – and when this did not work, they were told “you’re not doing it right”. Almost nobody looked at the dark side, not until Debbie’s book came out.

These so called shadow parts – which are often created in early childhood – are parts of you, me, everyone. So it doesn’t help to just look at your beautiful parts like ‘the creative’, “the good mother’, “the lover’ – because “the ashamed girl”, “the inner critic” or like I called one of my shadow parts “the drill sergeant” don’t go away if you leave them in the shadows. They will cost you energy and show up when you at least expect them., like a ball that you push under the surface in a pool, they inevitably show up – and with a lot of power.

Also, you may have shadow parts that are positive, but where not accepted by your parents or teachers – so you hid those parts, too. Like the exuberant boy, the playful storyteller, like the joyful clown.

First a thought on why calling your personas, the ones that seem to keep you from getting what you want- love-success etc. – “asshole” won’t work. Because you don’t respect a part of yourself, a part that you created and – a part that has the job to protect you. It may seem misguided, but these personas are doing the job you needed them for. Fighting them is like fighting parts of yourself – costs energy, leads to nothing.

Instead give yourself time to look at them, invite them (that takes patience, because some of your parts may not come at first, they don’t trust you) – and talk to them. This dialogue often ends in them feeling acknowledged and very willing to take a new job that helps you both.

I’ll give you an example: my ‘drill sergeant”, who made me feel bad and useless, because I barely could deliver work in his tempo or good enough for his standards, I didn’t work enough, I always had to work more….imagine the guy from “Full Metal Jacket” yelling inside my head.

Yeah, that’s him:

I did a process from another brilliant book on this subject, “Insanely gifted” by Jamie Catto, and after thanking my sergeant I asked him instead of the drill, would he like to protect my boundaries? I mean he’s perfect for that – and that’s what he’s doing right now, and he’s quite happy.

Doing shadow work, talking to your personas, this does not mean you let them run the show. That’s your part, your responsibility.

Doing this transforming work means, you integrate your personas, one by one, and by this process you gain a lot of energy that was bound in fighting or ignoring your shadows.

For me it meant, after working on one part, that I created as a teenager, to protect me and help me when I lost a loved one, I was back in the flow. The brake was finally off. My creative energy was so high that I wrote poems at 3 am – I felt a lightness and joy – and I want you to feel this, too.

Dealing with this works from the inside out, a coach or workshop will definitely help (in the US: http://www.thefordinstitute.com, in Europe I recommend Jamie Catto, http://www.jamiecatto.com/workshops – he’s really good at what he does).

It is an ongoing process, like everything in life, but once you know how this works, you have the tools and can handle whoever shows up.

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