Moving Beyond Your Inner Critic: Freeing From Yourself!




Every single day we have new opportunities to pay attention to life in a different way than the day before, picking up some of the insights that we had and using what happened to fuel the present moment, envisioning a new future and creating a different canvas to thrive!


Stress, emotional conflict, excessive stimuli, past behaviors, examples and the simple flow of a conditioned mind, starts creating an inner critic voice that is mainly led by disempowering context, constant flashbacks of other’s people labels, failures, toxic examples, etc. All that internal turmoil triggers a threatened response inside of you! That signals your body to create a more discordant biological, chemical, and if sustained through months and years, even genetical impact within you that will literally set your default mechanisms to be activated at the least motive!


This is the story of the vast majority of people, they become trapped in those stressful and emotionally charged environments, that are just supported by an ego, critic voice developed through years of experiences and domestication. Nevertheless, when we were didn't have all that load of disruptive chatter, influenced expectations or labels, i.e. being a child, we had one of the most amazing experiences, being just guided by a voice that was more inspired by our inner source to ourselves!


All that energy, freedom and joy that most of children show, is just part of that virgin connection that they still have with that higher power, that you can label God/Universe/Higher Self, whatever it is the title that you choose to recognize that energy, doesn’t really matter! The key message here is going back to those freer experiences, learning to be the witness of the inner critic and simply let stress, emotions or excessive stimuli to dissipate, pass through and flow out of our inner system.


What can we start doing to empower a more flowing experience rather than surrender to the programmed beliefs?


Every time we choose to simply experience the emotion without becoming attached to an outcome, we’re experiencing freedom, you’re letting the emotion flow in its natural course, and you’re acting from a higher set of vibrations that are giving you the most meaningful context to witness what happens when you decide to allow life to flow and become at peace with consequences!


We all have read about resistance, limiting beliefs, blocking experiences, etc. Well, they’re more present in the simplest course of action that we choose to experience, rather than just in bigger experiences. For instance, just remember how when you decide that is time to take a change, to step aside from that comfort zone or to try something new in your life! It is in those moments, when that critic voice starts to be awakened, becomes louder and it just seems as if it is trying to access your most shameful and painful experiences to remind you that you won’t be able to do certain things, that you should be afraid of failing, that many people will laugh at you or to make you feel as an impostor!


Therefore, one of the most important things that you can allow when all those set of limiting patterns activate, is taking a deeper breath and step back to become the listener of the voice, the observer of the experience and simply question that voice, without expecting an answer, just acknowledging that it will be there along the process, but now you’re aware of its presence, you recognize that it is just a playlist of toxic emotions, examples, behaviors, expectations from many people from your past and maybe it also has some of your failures saved to discourage you!


The use of active coping strategies such as problem solving and planning has been linked to improved well-being and a greater capacity to handle stressful situations in diverse populations, ranging from trauma-exposed to medically ill individuals. Active coping with stress requires an individual to face their fears, and resilient individuals exhibit lower levels of denial, avoidant coping behaviour and behavioral disengagement. Resilient individuals are also characterized by dispositional optimism and high positive emotionality. Positive emotions promote adaptive coping and openness to social support, and are associated with greater flexibility of thinking and exploration, a broadened focus of attention and decreased autonomic activity. Resilience has been linked to being able to perceive stressful events in less threatening ways, promoting adaptive coping strategies, such cognitive reappraisal allows individuals to re- evaluate or reframe adverse experiences in a more positive light (1).


Heightening your awareness, enhancing it and making it your ally, whenever these kinds of struggling experiences become present, is creating an internal active coping mechanism, that gives you power over the experience that you’re living! Makes you the director of the movie, instead of the actor, your mind together with the critic chatter voices become now the erratic behavior, that is just reacting towards a similar environmental cue from anyone or anything!


In this context, practicing meditation, mindfulness and having those peaceful moments through your days where you allow your mind to relax and become more peaceful, will give you more stamina, practice, repetition, strength to identify yourself with that higher true self within you! Instead of being just the trained actor that is following a script, that is not even the one he/she consciously chose!


In addition to that, what happens biochemically inside of you, is that you create a space between your signaling mechanism to simply let the stimuli, struggle, emotional experience to create a momentarily disruptive sequence that will flow faster through your inner adaptive mechanisms, without having time to activate a sympathetic nervous system response that creates more incoherent consequences.


Just remember that if we allow stress, emotional discomfort or excessive stimuli for a prolonged period of time, and we even make it worse by allowing inner critic voices to be played as the narrative we want to follow, we are sending internal signals to our body to start a threatening response that is going to be filled with stress molecular chemistry and will have a more draining, disruptive and incoherent expression within ourselves!


The other path that several individuals follow when being primed by these kinds of experiences, is to neglect or avoid what is happening, meaning that you really don’t pay any attention to the emotion, or you become apathetic. And as seen by research, this is also giving a more incongruent internal signal in your body and mind, as it is a mixed-up message that your body will build up, in case a threatening response is needed in a future scenario.


Behaving in any of the aforementioned ways will also have a long-term effect of having a resentful reservoir, which is what starts making us more reactive towards what happens externally! However, we’re oblivious to all of these molecular mechanisms, because in the moment, you might think you’re getting away with “controlling” the situation by stuffing the response inside of you, trying to appear “cool”, being pleasing to what others might expect or want! But in reality, it is not what will allow the emotion to move forward, it will just create a bigger pool of chemicals as well as raising the probable response that you might have in other type of triggering experiences!


Hence, the best path to follow, is becoming aware, feeling the emotion and let it pass through, as a response that has also being conditioned by the vast majority. Alternatively, you can also play a questioning, envisioning role to quickly layout the scenarios of responding with anger, fear or any other negative emotion, what would happen if you follow that course of action? Are things going to be fixed? Will you feel better after the excessive demonstration of the emotion?


It is not becoming a frozen individual that is not responding to anything, it is more about finding an active mechanism that serves you internally and externally to process the situation, giving yourself permission to find a meaning, allowing yourself to be a higher vibration vessel that is more connected with a source of energy, that it is usually filled with love, compassion and grace!


Studies have shown that certain forms of psychotherapy can enhance psychological attributes associated with resilience. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy can enhance optimism and facilitate reappraisal of traumatic events in a more positive light. Other forms of therapy can promote meaning making and help to preserve a person's sense of purpose in the face of trauma. Interventions early in development are likely to maximize stress resistance (1).


Whether you need and are able to look for support, or you find alternative ways to develop these coping mechanisms such as cognitive reappraisal, finding meaning and enhancing optimism, there are several options that will lead you to create a more supportive environment, designing a routine practice of meditative practices, journaling exercises, having time to prime your awareness through mindfulness or even connecting with nature are some of the multiple options available for you!


Of course, that if you have a person that has more background and preparation to guide you in the process, such as a therapist or a coach, which will also depend on your particular needs, it would be probably a more complete, whole and faster experience than doing it alone.


Just keep in mind that it is understanding that we were thought to play a game of life, full of other’s people rules, expectations and we have been filling our minds with narratives, examples, and labels that are completely reflecting the same victim modality that just makes things longer, worse and more internally disruptive than if we start learning a new set of rules, designed by us, connected with our divine nature and free for any constrains or limits that the external expectations constantly tell us!


References.

  • Feder, Adriana & Nestler, Eric & Charney, Dennis. (2009). Psychobiology and molecular genetics of resilience. Nature reviews. Neuroscience. 10. 446-57

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