I was speaking with a colleague the other day who seems to have it all. Whenever I teach with her, I am always completely smitten by her eloquence, warmth, humour and breadth of knowledge and understanding. She rang me to discuss some work issue and within our conversation she said to me, ‘You make it look so easy’.
I was shocked. Taken aback. I think I actually laughed outright. I then went into a tirade of telling her all the ways that I am ‘not good enough’.
And in her truly insightful way, she recalled a proverb:
We often compare our back stage chaos to others’ feature performance.
It was such a moment of relief to connect with my colleague in this way. The two of us witnessing the beauty that each of us offer to the world, while also acknowledging our vulnerability as a shared experience.
This vulnerability- this tirade of ‘not good enough’ often surfaces as the self- critic or that little voice that responds to a compliment with an internal ‘Yeah, but they don’t know the real truth. They don’t know that the reality is that I am shaking like a leaf’ or ‘they don’t know that I don’t meditate all day’ or ‘they don’t know that I refer to YouTube tutorials far too much’, etc….
Again, this self critic surfaced in our Weekly Sit last week. Taking in the Good was the practice that we engaged with (for those of you who missed it, you can find it uploaded to our membership site). We discovered that the self-critic can derail our ability to take in the good.
One member shared that her moment of good was a compliment, however she immediately heard that internal ‘yeah but…’. Thankfully, she was able to see the ‘yeah but…’ due to her mindfulness practice and she was then able to smile at the ‘yeah but…’ and get into contact with the felt sensation of warmth and joy in receiving the gift of the compliment.
So how do we do this?
Well, we can set an intention to notice whenever our self-critic steps up to the plate. Once we notice, we can move towards bringing in our compassionate self to meet the critic with an acknowledgment and a soft, compassionate encounter- perhaps even moving into a self-compassion break.
So this week’s challenge is to see if we can notice when our self-critic appears and to see if we can meet the critical voice with our compassionate self.
If you want to join us to explore the self-critic a bit more, I will be leading a practice on the self-critic this evening at our Weekly Sit.
Not a member? No problem- sign up here.
Or, you might like to join our training pathway. We explore the self- critic in a detailed way in our Compassion programme. Find out more about or training pathway by watching this video, or visit our website to book a course. We have a new Level 1: Being Present mindfulness course starting in Ireland next month that I will be teaching on- I’d love to see you there.