I suspect I’m not alone when I confess that I have a critical voice that loves to tell me everything I’m doing wrong.
How my ideas suck, ways I’m a bad friend, a terrible parent, and so much more. In the past that voice was so much a part of me that I believed it was me. I didn’t know how much my life was ruled by this inner voice until I joined a writing mastermind. This group was a supportive circle where we met, wrote and read our words aloud together. Within that environment, I learned to receive the feedback of others, and hear what they found beautiful or powerful in my writing. What my mastermind friends were saying did not sound like my inner critic at all!
It took some skillful coaching and time in the group for me to start believing I have powerful words to share. There are times when I still doubt my skill with words even though I have written and published a book, AND I am supporting others to develop more nurturing relationships with their writerly selves. So recognizing the inner critic is an important skill, in order to be able to move past the voices that can stop me in my creative tracks.
Does your critical voice say things like, “That’s already been written, don’t waste your time.” Or, “What you just created is pretty awful. What makes you think you’re a [writer, artist, photographer, ______]? Or, “There are already enough words, why bother writing anymore?” Maybe it’s more of a feeling in the body, a sense of heaviness in the gut, a slumping of the shoulders, or a sense of defeat. Whatever signals to you that the critical voice is alive and well, pay attention, and then say, “Thank you for sharing.” Carry on anyway.
Take the time to get to know that voice a little better. Give it a personality. Mine is a very suspicious, bitter woman who chain smokes, doesn’t leave the house, and peeks out at the neighbours from behind closed curtains. This energy is anything but joyful. If you want to learn more about my Inner Critic and how I work with her, check out the following video:
Remember to lean into your supportive group, surround yourself with people who see your gifts and talents, and reflect them back to you. Celebrate each step you take as you continue to write, to make art, to pursue your creative dreams. That is the bigger life you are meant to live. If you have any questions or comments regarding this topic I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me at www.mariemaccagno.com/contact.