One of my new favourite activities is to Interview my Inner Critics. These are the Shadow People inside, the Gremlins, the nagging little voices that tell me that whatever I'm doing isn't any good, that no one will want to read what I write, and that I might as well give up now because it is a waste of time... you know... THOSE voices. I know that I am not the only one that with inner critics and that probably every one of you has some form or variation of these guys as well. In no particular order - here they are:
Common Inner Critics
3. Hopeless/ Helpless
5. Pusher/ Over Achiever
One of the cool things about this writing program with SARK is that I have learned that I can talk to these inner critics and ask them about their dreams and goals. I can ask them about their purpose in my life, make friends with them and if appropriate send them on vacation or assign them new jobs. All this is done so that they become less impact-ful in my life and in my creative pursuits. It feels good to acknowledge the "stumbling" blocks that hold me back and prevent me from being the most awesome me that I can be.
I would like to share with you today one of these interviews. This first interview was very insightful and helpful for me in moving forward with my life and my creative work. Timing must have been perfect because it was incredibly easy to sit in Starbucks with my laptop and ask these questions. I would ask inside myself and right away the answer would come. It was almost as if I couldn't type fast enough. Enjoy.
Inner Critic Care and Transformation
Interview and Tea with Polly Procrastinator
Me: Hi Polly, thank you for joining me here today in Starbucks. It is great to meet you and I’m so glad that you decided to be the first critic to step up to the plate. Now, I know that you have some concerns and I would love to hear what they are so that we can come up with a solution that works for both of us. Something that we can both enjoy. How does that sound?
P: (In a high pitched voice.) That sounds great!
Me: Now Polly, I know that you are a Procrastinator, so I find it very interesting that you are the first critic to join me for tea. Why is that? Why are you sitting here with me today?
P: Because I felt that I needed to be here today. No other reason. Yes I am “The Procrastinator”, but I too am a person who likes to be recognized and who enjoys feeling important. I am a big part of you and I have spent a lot of time and energy influencing you over the years that I really wanted to stand up and show myself to you. We have spent so much time together you and I without ever really seeing each other for who and what the other is that I was both curious and excited to meet you in this way.
Me: Wow. Well that sounds lovely, Polly! I’m so glad that we are meeting today and that you joined me here at Starbucks for tea.
P: You’re welcome.
Me: So Polly, I need to ask you why you are such a huge influence in my world. How did you come to be and what is it about Procrastinating that is so strong for me?
P: Well. That is a very good question. I have always been with you, even when you were little. My role and purpose in your life is to protect you from harm and embarrassment. I like to sit on your shoulder and watch your life. When I feel that you are walking into something new or different, something that might cause you embarrassment or critique I make my body get really really heavy. When I sit on your shoulders and get heavy then it is harder for you to move forward in doing whatever it is that needs to be done.
I do this because I care for you and I don’t want you to get hurt. You are a sensitive creature and it pains me when you are pained yourself. I only want the best for you and by preventing or causing you to procrastinate we delay the inevitable judgment, criticism and embarrassment. Also, by making myself heavy and causing you to procrastinate I am helping you to find the energy and power to complete what needs to be completed in a really good and well done way.
Me: Wow. Thank you for sharing all that Polly. I had no idea that you were trying to protect me. Were you then, protecting me from myself?
Me: What I don’t really understand though is that it seems like you are a bit of a hypocrite. On one hand you really want to prevent me from completing tasks or assignments, goals and projects so that I don’t get hurt or embarrassed. And on the other hand it seems you want to stop the flow of my creative river – like a beaver dam - until the pressure builds up so much that I can’t help but to produce the best work I can.
Me: Can you expand on that?
P: Yes. When you have a project or something to complete, you doubt yourself. You let our mutual friend and critic, Self-Doubting Sam, take the lead in whatever it is that you are doing. Simply said, when Sam is in the lead you are not doing your best work. When you are not at your best, then you are open to the criticism that hurts and embarrassed you, the criticism that brings you down and discourages you. When I sit heavy on your shoulders and prevent you from creating or moving forward with your goals, I am doing exactly as you suggested. I am stopping the flow of your creative and energetic river, building up the pressure so that you can move forward in a burst of delicious awesome energy. It is when you burst through this dam of mine, when you are held to a deadline or scheduled event that you do your best work.
Me: Oh. I see.
P: Yah. Now I really see that you do see.
Me: I never realized that was the reason why I have trouble getting started.
Me: So where do we go from here? How do we move forward as friends?
P: I think that this understanding, this Ah-Ha is a great start. What I need from you is recognition of my role and purpose. A recognition that my holding you back is both a mechanism of prevention and protection as well as a method for powerful forward moving energy.
Me: I can do that. I see that. I see what you are saying and I can see the patterns in my life of how this has worked in the past. I do often have very good creative output under pressure of deadlines and schedules. I had no idea that it was you that was influencing this. Thank you for your help and assistance.
P: You’re welcome. And thank you for recognizing me.
Me: You’re welcome.
(We are both smiling now, both of us full of greater understanding and peace.)
Me: So Polly. Where do we go from here? How would you like me to continue to acknowledge you and recognize your purpose while still being able to move forward with my creativity, self-expression, projects and self-care practices?
P: Hmm. That is a good one. I definitely do not want you to kick me out of your life. I feel that would be rude and unwelcome. I want to be your friend, not someone you don’t ever want to see anymore.
Me: I understand that. I hear you. Can we come up with a task or a job that you might enjoy? Something perhaps that will give you purpose and me the freedom to move forward without feeling so weighted down? It doesn’t mean that I am kicking you out of my life or my world, it will simply give me more freedom to flow with my Inner Wise Self and the creative rivers that starting to swell and flow more strongly while allowing you to do the same.
P: That sounds lovely. What did you have in mind?
Me: Something very relaxing. I can see you now in a warm tropical location. Maybe on a holiday? What do you think? Do you like the beach? I can see you there now. Reclining on lounge chair at the resort in Mexico. You are wearing a straw sun hat, a blue and white stripped one-piece, (You look very Chic!), with a romance novel and margarita resting on a table nearby. The breeze carries the sun’s warmth and smells of the salty ocean. I can hear children laughing and playing and muted conversations from others around you. I can see you taking a deep breath, settling a little deeper into your chair for a mid-afternoon nap. It looks and feels lovely!
P: Oh, My! It certainly does! That sounds wonderful! Are you sure that you will be ok while I am on vacation?
Me: Yes, Polly. I will be fine. In fact, I will be more than fine. Also – remember that I am only a thought away. If you want to check up on me you know exactly where I am at all times.
P: This is true. My dear. I think we have found an amicable solution. I would love to go on an extended vacation, you KNOW how much I love to relax and hang out. And it would be my pleasure to let you explore this “flow” that you so want to explore. I feel confident that you are now in a pace where I can let you run with it without so much concern about you getting hurt. I think, my dear that you are growing up. It makes me excited and proud to be a part of you and to have helped you get to this place of recognition and self-discovery. Great job my love!
Me: Thanks Polly. I love that you are excited and feel that I am ready for some freedom in this time of self-discovery. Thanks for your support and know that I do appreciate you.
P: You’re welcome!
Me: Ready for a holiday?
P: Don’t you know it! I’m so excited!
Me: I know. Off you go now Polly – I’ve packed everything you need for your trip, tickets and passport and sunblock and those romance novels you love. Have fun my dearest!
P: I will! I will! Thanks! Oh my goodness, thank you so much! I don’t remember when I last had a holiday! Holy Cow, I am so excited!
Maybe this will inspire you to look inside for your own Polly Procrastinator. Until next time.
Love and Light,