I haven’t gotten to that step, but I sure know what she likes to wear: tiaras. And I sure know what she likes to throw: tantrums.
My inner self-saboteur is about two years old most of the time. Sometimes she’s 13. Either way, no matter her age, she’s got her tiara on. It’s a bit dented, because she wears it all the time–even to bed. Also because she throws it when she hits the fan. Which is often. Pretty much daily. Especially since I started doing Martha Beck Life Coach Training.
“Who the heck are YOU to think you can be a coach?” “Who the heck are YOU to think you’ve got anything to share with the world?” “Who do you think you are, launching a lifestyle company?”
She’s kind of a spoiled brat. On the outside, anyway. Inside? She’s a wriggling, seething mass of fear and insecurities. And the only way she knows to try to deal with them is to duck and hide from the fear. She thinks that staying invisible is a much better choice than walking out on a limb, heart in hand.
Sometimes I don’t manage to calm her down. Sometimes, I dive under my duvet and pull the covers over my head and wish I could stay there. I dream of coming out after everything is settled and I’m uber confident in everything I do. So, never, basically.
But other times I recognize she just needs a little love. So I let her have her tantrum, throw her fit, launch into doubt and worry and fear, try to tell me I should hide. And I don’t judge her for that. I just sit on the sidelines, centered by my breath, my connection to the earth as I anchor down through my feet, and the boundless love we all have access to right in our own hearts. I talk to her in soothing tones the way I would a baby. “I know you’re scared. It’s a lot. I understand.” I don’t try to get her to zip her lip, or stop feeling that way. I just let her go to it. And, soon enough, tempered by love and compassion, she quiets down and goes to sleep.
And I make the choice to keep on walking out on a limb, heart in hand.
TEMPERING OUR INNER KID-CRITIC
1. What does she or he tell you, over and over again?
2. Is it true? No, really, is it true? (Ask Byron Katie)
3. What does she or he look like? Maybe they’re not a she or a he, but an animal?
4. What’s their greatest worry?
5. Is it true? No, really, is it true?
6. Can you let them be, screeching and everything? Can you practice loving-kindness towards them?
7. Can you see them as a part of your socialized, pressurized self–and not a reflection of the essential you?
8. Can you still let them be, screeching and everything? Can you practice loving-kindness?
And THEN: Can you make the choice to keep on walking out on a limb, heart in hand?
I believe in you.