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Building Extraordinary Relationships

podcast May 12, 2020

Can't listen? Here's the transcript:  

Hey Dethroners!  Today I want to talk about how to build extraordinary relationships, even when your loved ones are letting their Inner Critic’s run their lives.  Now, if you have been listening to me for a while, you know that  it is our minds that determine our entire world. And this goes for everyone. So, any relationship can go south very quickly because when it comes to conflict, you are NEVER fighting about what you think you’re fighting about.  So, all of our relationships are really opportunities to expand into our fullest potential, or to stay stuck.  

Our Inner Critic is the voice in our mind that talks to us all day, every day.  It is not just the voice of criticism, it is the voice of almost every thought we have.  It is actually our MISTAKEN IDENTITY that we have thought for much of our lives to be our true selves, but it is anything but.  And when we mistake our identity for our automatic thoughts, the area of life that is most impacted is our relationship with ourselves.  When we are not truly at peace within ourselves, it impacts relationships.   

Who you think you are is really a mini-me that is located in your head and looks through life from your eyes.  We cling to that identity and we think that is “I”... we think we are the voice of our Inner Critic.  Our Inner Critic is the main character that creates our personality. 

It starts first thing in the morning where we judge ourselves and our circumstances.  Mistaken identity causes shame because we don’t feel ok about some part of life.  We think we are in some way not good enough. This mistaken identity began a long time ago, and you have spent your life trying to get life to fit all of its pictures.

Why? So you can feel good. And one of the ways that we try to feel good is by having the people in our lives always act in a way that makes us feel good. But, because most people are caught in their mistaken identity, they have a lot of demands about how other people should be. And we think we are right! We think we are justified in our frustration, our criticism, and our demands about how others should act. 

But we have absolutely no control over anyone but us. We only have control over our thoughts. So when our mistaken identity Inner Critic says that your spouse should be less critical of you, or your child should listen to you more, you are susceptible to suffering when those demands are not met.

And so you react. Which causes the other person to react.  And before you know it, your mistaken identity is in a battle with their mistaken identity. Most people think that the way to a better relationship and feel the love we want is either by willfully restraining our Inner Critic thought, or to in some way transform our thinking, emotions, attitudes.  But that is not possible.  The only way we can really have the fulfilling relationships we want is when we do the work to wake up and get clarity about our MISTAKEN IDENTITY that is nothing more than a conditioned set of thoughts. 

No one who is controlled by their automatic thoughts can live a truly happy and fulfilling life. If we don’t wake up to this, we will experience perpetual dissatisfaction. It is dangerous and difficult to hold it all together and do the best we can from the demands that our Inner Critic makes on us about who we are supposed to be, the lives we are supposed to be living, and how other people are supposed to be.

When our mistaken identity is that we are not good enough unless other people value us, respect us, love us, or make us feel important, our emotional lives are at the mercy of all other humans. If we are not judged or criticized, if we are loved, if we are important, we feel ok. But if we perceive anything in our interactions with other humans to be anything less than what our Inner Critic demands, we are completely off center.

This is when we act out, shut down, shut others down, or break down.  And when we are overly identified with our Inner Critic mind, we can’t even use that mind to get out of this trap.  Because that is only our mini-me self--the one that was created from fear and emotional pain from our past.   

The only way to create truly fulfilling relationships is when you see who you really are when you drop away from your mistaken identity created by thoughts of shame, fear, and inadequacy. That is the only way to break your addictions to how other people interact with you. 

Your Inner Critic has A LOT of judgments and opinions about you, your life and everyone in your life. And those judgments and opinions have been with you for your entire life. 

Think about how much of a role those constant judgments and opinions play a role in your relationships. I know when I am witnessing my Inner Critic mind speaking, it is creating worse case scenarios left and right about me, my kids, my husband, my business. It creates all sorts of scenarios that are not even happening. And when I am swallowed by those scenarios, I am controlling, cranky, demanding, judgmental, dissatisfied, ungrateful, tired, shut down. I am trying to control or change everyone around me so that I can feel peace. 

In other words, I forget that I am watching a movie that my Inner Critic has written, directed, and starred in. The only way my relationships work is when I shift my awareness, and see the movie she is creating. If I am not watching the movie, I am stuck IN the movie. And when I am IN the movie, the script goes something like, “If only he would stop laying around the house. He is so lazy.” And then I react to my son with frustration, and try to force him out of the house by saying, “It’s beautiful out and you haven’t been outside yet. You need to go outside!” And that is often met with an attitude, or an eye roll, or an “I will MOM!” 

And my frustration is not his problem. It is mine. I can suggest that he go outside, but my anger or frustration about it is because of my Inner Critic’s commentary that he is lazy, and it’s up to me to make him not lazy. Our Inner Critic actually convinces us that we have control over other humans, especially our kids.  

I am particularly passionate about our relationships with our children, which can be our greatest teacher in our journey to clearly see our Inner Critic in action. So as parents, if our Inner Critic is ruling our lives, and we are living in a world of fears and anxiety, we are all about control. If we are free from listening to the non stop running commentary in our minds, then we are able to remain in a space of peace and love regardless of how our child is behaving or the choices she is making.

So it is actually our minds that create our relationship with our children which is a scary thought for all of us! I know that when I was unaware of how my Inner Critic was controlling my thoughts, feelings and actions, I tried to control my children’s happiness. I wanted to make sure they were social, happy and well adjusted. After all, I am a therapist!  I thought it was my job to make them happy humans. And oh boy was I wrong!!  That actually backfired.  The more I tried to control their happiness by telling them what would make them happy, the more they resisted me and thought I was nagging.  

When our Inner Critic thoughts are in charge of our emotions and actions, we become very robotic in our parenting. We say things like, ‘I have told you a thousand times!  Why don’t you listen’ or ‘If you do that one more time!’ or ‘you need to be a better brother to your sister’ or ‘a better student’ or ‘a better daughter’.  Our Inner Critic uses blame, shame, preaching, accusing, guilting, threatening, judging and labeling. 

And this is what drives our kids crazy, because this is what drives US crazy when someone does that to us! If you pay close attention to the automatic demands of your thinking mind, that is the mind of the Inner Critic, you will find that the demand is that they need to stop this behavior, and it is up to you as the parent to figure out exactly how it needs to be stopped.

And all of those thoughts are future based. We are not actually responding to what is actually occurring here and now. We are reacting from fear, because we can’t control how their lives will unfold. We want to figure out how to get our kids to be the way we want them to be, so that we can feel calm and secure. If they lie, we need to figure out how to stop them from lying. If they don’t care about their school work, we need to get them to care.  And the truth is, we can’t.  We can instill consequences, but not because we are punishing in an effort to fix.  That won’t work.   

My frustrations with each of my kids has allowed me to observe my Inner Critic’s demands. When I stopped blaming them for my fears, my frustrations, my feelings of being unimportant or not validated, or not doing a good enough job as a mom, it allowed those painful parts of me to start to heal.  

I can also see how my Inner Critic tried to control my husband, too. I used to give all sorts of suggestions to him. Funny how he always heard my suggestions as criticisms.  Because even when we think we are acting out of love, our Inner Critic is still attached to fixing or changing someone else. Our life always gives us continual opportunities to see whether we are reacting from our Inner Critic mind or whether we are responding from our Authentic Self, the part of us that lies beneath all of our automatic thoughts.  When our Inner Critic mind is dominant, our internal peace is constantly being threatened by other people’s behavior, attitudes and choices.  

If we are using criticism and judgment to try to change someone, then they will use judgment and criticism in their interactions with us. Everything that we get upset about with regards to our loved ones is just a mirror for what our Inner Critic’s are demanding. 

It is not our child’s responsibility to make our Inner Critic feel safe and at peace. It is our responsibility. It is not our spouse’s responsibility to make us feel loved and valued. It is ours. It is not our boss’s responsibility to make us feel valued. It is ours.

The goal in all of life is to access our Authentic Self. That is the part of ourselves that has always been there, but lies dormant underneath our Inner Critic mind that has been operating for most of our lives.  Our Authentic Self is who we were before our Inner Critic took over control of our minds.  Our Authentic Self doesn’t operate out of fear, and then try to change, manipulate, predict or control so that it can feel at peace. 

Our Authentic Self already is at peace.  It doesn’t demand that we are valued or loved by others, or that we appear successful or that we reach an arrival point in our lives.  Our Authentic Self looks only at the here and now, and can therefore respond from a place of peace and love.  Our Authentic Self perceives EVERYONE, including ourselves, as human beings that are on a  journey which includes pain, mistakes, failures, insecurities. 

Our Authentic Self has unconditional love for ourselves and for everyone else, so can see behaviors like lying, tantrums, meanness not as threats that need to be eradicated, but as opportunities to connect with our kids and talk with love and calmness about their pain that they are acting out. Our children have automatic Inner Critic minds too, and when they are acting out it is from a deeper pain. 

When we react from our pain, we feed their pain. When we are doing the work of no longer looking at any parts of our lives through the eyes of our Inner Critic, we can remain more loving and centered within ourselves, which then allows us to do the same with the people around us.  

If we are reacting to our spouse, partner, parent, sibling, friend, boss, coworker because we are convinced they are wrong, or they are making me feel negative, we will continue to be trapped in the vicious cycle of automatic thought leading to automatic emotions leading to automatic reactions, which causes problems in our relationships.  It is up to us to use these feelings as the opportunity to rewire our mind. 

You do this by watching your Inner Critic in action, drumming up all of the thoughts and assigning all of the meaning to the current situation. You resist the urge to react from those thoughts.  Your experience of peace and love doesn’t have to be jeopardized by your Inner Critic’s demands. 

When you can continually practice being in the here and now, and interact with situations only as they are right now, rather than responding to your Inner Critic’s commentary, you will begin to see shifts in your relationships. It is a gradual process of awakening when you continue to practice separating yourself from your Inner Critic on a daily basis. This can’t be done in the moment you are upset. Because when you are reactive, you have already been swallowed by your Inner Critic. 

This separation involves a daily practice of clearly seeing the automatic thoughts of your Inner Critic. There are a lot of tools that I teach my clients to do this. And when they engage in the practice daily, they are able to witness the drama going on around them and remain inwardly calm. And this is all because when you know the difference between YOU and the voice of your Inner Critic, you are living your most powerful life.  This is how we rise above the emotional and personal issues that we think are so real.  

What would your relationships be if you stopped demanding, judging, expecting, criticizing? What would happen if someone you love were having a bad day, and you just let them have a bad day and remained loving? What if we remained untriggered if we are judged?

What is required here is that we actually grow up emotionally. Because when our Inner Critic thoughts are in charge, we are triggered into pain that has been around us for so long, that our Inner Critic thoughts mimic the thoughts of a young child.

Think about that for a minute: When you are yelling, or frustrated, or criticizing or scolding, is your way of being consistent with a wise, centered and balanced person?  Or is it more like an 8 year old demanding that other people give her what she wants?  It’s the messy mini-me self that keeps us stuck. And we can’t use the mini-me thinking to rise above our emotional programming. We need to wake up to who we are when we are NOT our thinking mind.

Once we wake up, we are able to grow up. And this growing up from the inside is what is truly fundamental in fulfilling relationships because it’s not about them. It’s about YOU! When you grow up, some of you might find out that your Inner Critic has been holding onto an unhealthy relationship and it is time to let go.  But letting go from peace is way different than letting go from your Inner Critic’s reaction to feeling wronged or victimized.  

My entire career is helping people grow up emotionally and recognize that they are separate from their thoughts, and so they are also separate from all of their suffering, addiction, fear, self-loathing, depression-- Most of my clients are by all accounts are incredibly successful. They have huge careers, have reached top levels of their organizations, have achieved incredible things. They have done meditation, self-improvement, psychotherapy, but they can’t figure out why they are still so unfulfilled and miserable. They hit the emotional ceiling, where they can’t grow anymore. 

Even the most successful people feel dissatisfied because they are not living a full human life. When you try to fix the problem of dissatisfaction by changing thoughts, attitudes, external situations you can’t do it. You reached the limit because your current operating system is your Inner Critic based identity. 

If you don’t wake up out of your Inner Critic identification, you can’t grow up emotionally and psychologically.  This is a mid-life or can even be a quarter-life crisis.  Research shows that children in their 20’s are experiencing depression at higher rates than ever before. We need to shift out of our Inner Critic identification and grow up into a new identity of our Authentic Self, or we are settling into a false persona and will feel continually overwhelmed or shut down, and use adolescent coping strategies to deal with these feelings. 

We need to shift out of our Inner Critic identification and shift into our Authentic Self before a crisis occurs in our lives.  When we do this, we can then experience circumstances that our Inner Critic might have thought of as a crisis, but are actually necessary parts of our growth.

Thank goodness I had this work when I split up from a business partnership years ago.  I was able to witness my Inner Critic’s thoughts without getting sucked into them and could go through all of the parts of the process with inner peace, calmness, and clarity.  Not only did I not let it take me down, but I can also actually see that the awakening this experience created skyrocketed my business. 

Seeing our Inner Critic thoughts as separate is the emotional detoxification we need in order to rewire a new mind. My clients’ shifts happen in front of my eyes, they transform into new people because they are letting old patterns of thoughts and the personalities that result from these thoughts die off. They allow a new sense of being to emerge by taking a leap into the unknown and letting go of whatever they have been holding onto and continuing to show up and grow up in their lives.

Is Your Inner Critic Keeping You From Success?

Find out what your Inner Critic is saying to sabotage your success and how you can move past her limiting beliefs. 

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