Did you grow up with critical parents? What were the comments that you heard? Did you get:
- You look fat in that
- Nobody cares if you are here or not
- You always make mistakes
- You are so clumsy
- You are just not very smart
- You did that AGAIN?
As children, we internalise how our parents feel about themselves AND what we are told, or what is implied in their behaviour. It can feel like you have your mother or father walking around inside your head.
𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐬, 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐧𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐝𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤.
My favourite question in this moment for myself is:
“𝐈𝐟 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐦𝐲𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟, 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐈 𝐝𝐨, or think 𝐧𝐨𝐰?”
My brain has to do a complete re-wire to answer this. The last thing the critical voice is is gentle. It is harsh, pushy, aggressive and demeaning. When I ask this question, it pulls a DIFFERENT part of myself to the fore. A part of me that can be gentle, a part that knows what ‘gentle’ is.
Here’s an example:
- The guy you are dating hasn’t called you back yet. You find yourself spinning out, wondering what is going on, feeling insecure.
- The critical voice says, “Well, of course, he is not that interested. You are overweight at the moment and not that interesting. I’m sure he’s met someone else. And this is pathetic, sitting around waiting for him to call.”
- You hear the voice. Ouch. That hurt!
- You ask the question: “If I was gentle with myself, what would I do now?”
- A softer voice comes in to answer: “I get why I’m feeling insecure. If I were being gentle with myself, I would call my girlfriend and have a giggle, then take a bath.”
The whole scene shifts. When we choose to bring in gentleness, the whole energy changes.
🦋So…if you were being gentle with yourself, what would you do right now?