Everyone has an inner critic. It seems baked into our very DNA.
For many of us, this interior monster-like voice is debilitating. It's as old as our very selves; it goes all the way back to early childhood, and we're as intimately familiar with it as we are with our own limbs. It comes out of nowhere and, usually, leaves just as suddenly, in an amorphous, shadowy exit. Its very power is our inability to control its entrances and exits. It just seems to show up randomly, but especially when life doesn't quite roll our way.
It's hard to communicate with it -- we're basically petrified of it and its power. Even looking at it momentarily is a frightful prospect, as if simply taking a pause during a self-critical episode is somehow dangerous for our health.
This hideous creature has staying power if nothing else. It seems embedded in our interior conscious experience, sort of in the same neighborhood where shame, inadequacy, deficiency, incompetency, and phoniness live.
The British creativity expert, and improv maestro, Steve Chapman (long-time friend of all things Breakaway) has taken his personal critic for a deep and fascinating ride, in the belief that, the more light he shines on it the less powerful it becomes. Light begets not the final eradication of the beast but its taming into something utterly boring and, ultimately, irrelevant, even it if it does stick around for the long haul, which it well might. His brief talk on how he defanged his demon is marvelous, and well worth watching.
Personally, I sometimes make matcha for mine. If great matcha can't quell him, what can? He has to drink it in the light though, not slurp it WHILE letting loose with the latest barrage of criticism. I'm a little freaked by him in the light, and he's a little freaked by the light and the invite, and there's nothing normal about it, but ... it sure beats the alternative of letting him soldier on the deep recesses of my brain.
Shining a flashlight in its face is the only thing you can do, and no, it's neither easy nor comfortable. Parts of the critical creature melt when met with the flashlight, and it might not be pretty. But neither is the alternative.
by Eric Gower