Do you listen to your inner critic or your inner champion?
When I began my latest entrepreneurial journey four years ago, my inner critic found her voice again. “Why would you do this?” she would say, given her inclination to think small, limiting thoughts and tendency to play it safe. “You are too old to change it up at this stage of your life and career.”
We all have an inner critic – that judging voice within our head that tells us what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the voice that holds us back from doing what we truly want to or are meant to do. Our inner critic puts us down, throws judgement on our self and others, and holds emotions and negative thoughts that might keep us from moving forward. ‘Happy dance’ is not part of the vocabulary.
This week I was reminded of the power of self-love and the possibility of joy when we transform our inner critic into an inner champion. Laila Ghattas calls herself a Happiness Specialist. As a Gestalt therapist and Reiki practitioner, she is an artist, writer, public speaker and the founder of Aziza Healing Adventures and Laila Goddess Comfortwear. She was also the keynote speaker this week at the monthly meeting hosted by the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough.
In her own words, Laila is “committed to helping us find the blinders within ourselves so we can be who we are meant to be.” She began her talk by sharing her own story of loss, love and transformation. Her latest venture, Laila Goddess Comfortwear, has given her a front-row seat for the change room performance of a myriad of clients’ inner critics. “I hate my body” or “I’m so fat” are often part of the script.
She noted that we often speak to ourselves in a manner that we would never use with a friend, loved one or co-worker. She invited us to be kinder to ourselves, suggesting that the most important relationship is the relationship you have with yourself.
“Self-care through language is the road to self-love. Your unconsciousness so wants you to love yourself,” she said as she led the group through an activity designed to take those negative, self-critical thoughts and neutralize them.
Coincidentally this was also the week that we explored our inner critic and our inner champion with the young women participating the latest offering of Building Internal Resilience Through Horses. We began our session with an invitation to draw a self-portrait of our inner critic and one of our inner champion. We also noted three things that each might be telling us.
It was interesting to note that for most, our inner critic was sad, small, closed and even angry. The language she used was hurtful and demeaning. We felt her in our belly – cold and fearful. Our inner champion was standing tall, open to possibility and filled with joy. We felt her in our heart – warm and loving. “You’ve got this,” she sang.
Typically horses avoid working with us when we are being driven by the messages of our inner critic. This negative energy repels them – it’s not safe. They are more likely to create a relationship with us when we approach them with an open-heart and with confidence. It’s positive energy that invites them in to create an authentic connection.
When you are at work or at home – who do you want to spend more time with – your inner critic or your inner champion? We all have the power to transform our inner critic into an inner champion. When we become aware of our thoughts – we can change negative thoughts by replacing them with neutral or positive ones.
“What a liberation to realize the voice in my head is not who I am.” – Eckhart Tolle
About the Author: Jennifer Garland is the Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent, offering Health and Wellness Workshops and Individual and Team Effectiveness Coaching. Jennifer’s intent is to bring horses and humans together to explore new possibilities, getting you out of your comfort zone and giving clarity of voice to your leader within. She has over 25 years of leadership experience in communications, cause-related marketing and change management. As a strategist, facilitator and effectiveness coach, Jennifer has provided counsel and support to senior leaders from all walks of life to build productive relationships, facilitate learning and to embrace change. She is a ‘socialpreneur’ who values the art of living life fully with intent.
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