I was recently listening to The Tapping Solution to Create Lasting Change by Jessica Ortner and she was talking about silencing the critical voice in our heads. The voice that keeps telling you you are too old, you are too fat, you are not smart enough, just to name a few things.
As I was listening to her talk about the critical voice, I was wondering what my critical voice has told me and other than you are too old. I am not certain that my critical voice has held me back like Jessica was explaining. Where I think my critical voice has held me back is to make sure I have conformed with what I believe society wants to see from me. In reality, it is how I have limited myself and nothing to do with society. My critical voice has been telling me follow the chain of command, do not rock the boat, you should take this "management" job, because that is what you should do, you need to wait for guidance from above on what you are supposed to be doing, you should be married and have a family.
In my case, the critical voice is not always wrong. Being married and having a family has brought a lot of joy to me. My critical voice is there to keep me safe as it does not like change. In my case, my belief is that rocking the boat might cause me to lose my job, which would make me not safe. My critical voice in keeping me safe has probably kept me from really enjoying life and growing.
Like anything in my life, I need to notice and be aware when my critical voice is speaking up and then be with the critical voice and really feel into do I need to listen to it, ignore it, or see if there is more information that I need before proceeding. For example, if I am going cliff jumping and my critical voice is bringing up fear about getting hurt. Ok, let's be real here, my critical voice starts down this road and usually ends up in me not just being hurt, but dead. It is like watching a train wreck in my mind.
So, when my critical voice pops up, I need to feel into what is coming up for me and then the greater situation. May be I need to ask myself some more questions, instead of just listening to my critical voice. For example, am I jumping in a new area, are others jumping in this area, is there somebody here to guide me on how to jump in this area, or do I already know what I need to do?
I did have the opportunity to practice this in real life. I went on a rafting trip a few years ago and at one of the stops, everybody on the trip was offered a chance to jump off a 40 foot cliff, or a 10 foot cliff. In the moment, I decided if I was going to jump, I was going to jump off the 40 foot cliff. To prepare us, the guides walked us through the process. They explained how we would walk up path to the jumping point. They explained where they would be if we needed them. They explained what we needed to do when we jumped. They explained what it would be like when we got in the water and how we were to signal them that we were ok. It was exciting, but of course, when it got to be my turn, my critical voice was there loud and clear telling me that this was too scary and that I shouldn't do it. At that moment, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and really felt into whether I should jump or not. When I got clarity, I jumped! It was amazing!
So, notice the next time your critical voice is speaking to you and then decide, is it time to listen to it, time to ignore it, or just be aware of it as you proceed. Make that choice with the full information of your whole self and not just listening to your critical voice.
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