We all live with some version of an Inner Critic. I’ve dubbed mine “Helga” because that name brings to my mind a tough prison guard, which Helga likes to think she is. (My apologies to anyone named Helga!) She likes to think she’s in charge of keeping me safe. If that were true, she would be valuable! When she’s in control, however, potential growth is met with resistance and any risk is fought with fury. She has a long list of “shoulds.” Helga likes things to stay the way they have been. In her mind, it’s the only way to be safe. Managing my Inner Critic is a challenge!
Where the Inner Critic Comes From
Our Inner Critics are mind-constructs (thought habits) learned at an early age. If you grew up in a family that communicated well, thought you were awesome, encouraged inner and outer challenges, then your Inner Critic’s power is probably limited to reminding you to brush your teeth or pay your bills.
But what if you grew up with expectations that you fit within your parents’ safety margins? Were disagreements with their beliefs met with horror? Did you have any experiments or relationships that ended badly? Failures? Then your Inner Critic, like my Helga, may exert a LOT of pressure to “color within the lines,” and “don’t rock the boat.”
Managing the Inner Critic
Barbara Stanny in SACRED SUCCESS, says “In the Heroine’s Journey, you must commit an Act of Disobedience–by breaking the Ego’s rules, (read Inner Critic) defying its authority, adhering instead to your Soul’s directions.”
I’ve been learning to listen more carefully to my inner prompts, recognize inner guidance, take risks based on my inspiration, rather than always trying to play it safe. I moved to Murrieta thirteen years ago. The first several years were spent developing my backyard from dirt and rocks into something with order and loveliness. I imagined it full of people having a good time. Maybe I could teach relationship classes here. But that didn’t happen.
Then I thought I might rent out my yard for small events, such as showers, birthday or anniversary parties, small weddings, etc. I began buying used tables and chairs from the Salvation Army. Playing it safe would have been to leave them bare wood, or paint them white, but that would have been so boring. Eventually I had six tables that each seated six, and 36 chairs painted red, chartreuse, peach, turquoise or purple. I loved stepping into the barn where they were stored and looking at all the colors!
Failure or Guidance?
But when I listed my “venue,” people who inquired also wanted me to cater their events. No thank you! So I sold the furniture to buyers who wanted to add brightness to their kitchens or dining rooms.
Was this a failure? Helga thought so. And I was tempted to believe her. But eventually I realized that exercising all that colorful creativity had freed something in me that had been caged. I felt more daring. I felt more alive.
While doing all that painting, I also contined coaching of couples to help them learn and practice behaviors or skills that would give them a happier marriage. One couple made enormous progress during the twelve sessions I spent with them. A few months later they called in trouble again. Threatening divorce again. We made the appointment, but I wondered, “What can I give them that I haven’t already taught them? What do they need?”
I grabbed a notepad and while praying, began writing down any ideas that came to me. Within a few minutes, a deluge of ideas came for an online streaming course that taught all the skills including a module to examine a person’s beliefs about their partner’s gender and marriage in general. I wondered how this couple’s unconscious beliefs influenced their lack of success in applying the skills they learned from me? How much would it help to have ongoing access to an ongoing course to review the lessons? What if this online course could multiply the reach of my coaching to hundreds? or thousands of couples rather than just one at a time?
When I met with this couple I challenged them to examine their beliefs about each other. What was the origin of those negative thoughts? What gave birth to their Inner Critic that assumed such damning things were true of each other? The sources of their negativity were exposed and debunked. They both had a major breakthrough that day. They each recognized the negative beliefs they brought into their marriage that doomed it to conflict and eventual failure. By learning how to manage their respect inner critics, they regained their love and confidence that they could make this marriage succeed. (I heard from a mutual acquaintance recently that this couple is still happily married.)
Millionaire Marriage Club is Birthed
All of the above happened in 2016. Within a few halycon days of that inspiration, the online streaming course was outlined and named. I began writing the lessons and hired artists to design a logo and a set of PowerPoint slides.
Then, I spent two weeks watching movies on T.V. My Inner Critic was terrified of trying to learn how to record the lessons on Camtasia. I finally decided that they paid technical support to help ignorant users like me. I beefed up my courage and called asking them for help! The day I got off of the sofa and called for help was one day I won the battle with Helga.
But she wasn’t through with me. Whenever I sat at my desk to work on this project, her voice repeated these taunts, “You’re too old to do this! No one will buy the program! It’s not good enough! Who do you think you are?” These doubts hounded my thoughts. Finally one day, I jumped up from my desk. While stomping around the house, I began yelling aloud, “I’m not going to quit! I don’t care what you think, I’m not going to quit! Even if no one buys it, even if it’s no good, I’m not going to quit! So shut up, Helga! You might as well give up because I’m not going to quit!”
Helga’s voice was never again that loud or persistent. She didn’t entirely give up, but her criticisms were easier to over-ride. Millionaire Marriage Club was completed and launched in 2017.
Module Seven Teaches the Importance of Beliefs
Recently a couple spent two weeks delving deeply into Module Seven. They each separately unearthed their core beliefs about their role in the relationship. When they shared what they’d learned about themselves with each other, light bulbs went on! They recognized that their respective limiting beliefs has been the cause of the painful, recurring conflict throughout their twenty year marriage!
Mistake? or Preparation?
So was the summer I spent painting furniture bright, bold colors a mistake? Was the idea of turning my beautiful yard into a venue for celebrations a waste of energy? Yes, I was disappointed at the time that the idea didn’t pan out. But, I believe that there are no mistakes…only opportuities for growth that we may not understand until later. I believe the daring, creativity and boldness that I nurtured by working toward that goal built up the daring, creativity and boldness muscle I needed to launch Millionaire Marriage Club.
Now I am grateful that I had the strength to grind my way through to the completion of Millionaire Marriage Club. So far the Club has benefitted a few hundred couples. Recently a group of women who believe in the Club and believe in me, have joined their unique skills to mine in promoting Millionaire Marriage Club to a much wider audience.
Disappointments & Failures as Future Blessings
I believe that someday, when I can see the totality of my life from a higher point of view, I’ll understand every disappointment. I’ll understand how every painful failure fit into the grand plan for my life.
What is your Inner Critic telling you about yourself? About your partner? About your relationship? Are you in one of those discouraging, disappointing times when you can’t see your way through? Are you unhappy with the quality of your love? Do you need help to find solutions to issues that seem to be hopeless? Could it be that this time, this condition, is meant to be a blessing?
If you’d like help exploring that possibility, set up a complimentary appointment with me using one of these links: https://calendly.com/nancylandrum/complimentary-first-appointment or go to https://nancylandrum.com/1-1-coaching/ I’d love to explore the options with you!
You have my love and support,