I’m a HUGE fan of Brené Brown. I love her authenticity and the way she speaks as if she’s peeked into my head. If you haven’t read her work, a great starter Brené Brown book is The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.
Or watch any one of her videos HERE
I recently ran across one of her quotes about the inner critic, “When I started writing I would picture my critics and try to please them. It was a total disaster. I was afraid to take a stand and I spent way too much time in the middle of the road. As my grandmother used to say, ‘Ain’t nothing in the middle of the road but white stripes and dead armadillos.’”
Like Brené, I grew up in Texas. You may not know that armadillos are kinda famous for getting run over on the highway. And there are many, many bad jokes out there about eating armadillo road kill. Texans call them speed bumps.*
If you’re standing in the middle of the road about something, what’s holding you back from taking a side and walking forward?
Chances are that you, like Brené and like me, have a voice in your head that tells you, “you’re not experienced enough” or “you better get your masters before you make your opinion known” or “you better not speak up or you’ll get called out.”
He may not pop up his ugly head every day, but he whispers in your ear often enough to keep you playing safe.
Why this happens
You brain is wired to look for danger and protect you at all costs. When a conversation starts to feel risky, your brain throws you into your automatic response to danger: you go into fight (where you get defensive), flight (where you back down and get quiet) or freeze (where you’re so surprised that you cannot respond).
Combine this automatic brain reaction with your inner critic whispering in your ear and you can be immobilized or say something you regret.
What you can do about it
There have been whole books and classes written about your inner critic, so I won’t pretend you can solve this in one short email from me. (I wish!)
In fact, I’ve got some amazing exercises in my class Fearless Mindset: Increase your confidence so you can take the next step that helps you tame that critic.
And one simple way that’s been proven to help you deal with him is this: know that you cannot talk over him, yell him into submission or ignore him. You must look him in the eye and acknowledge him, like this, “Hey, I see you there smirking at me, telling me that I’m not enough.”
And then correct him, “I see you but you’re not in charge right now. I can’t make you go away but I can tell you calmly and clearly to sit down and shut up.”
It’s incredibly empowering to take that control back.
Try it out and let me know what happens!
*I did a search for Armadillo road kill jokes so I could share one with you and found there’s a whole genre of road kill plush stuffed animals out there. It’s just so weird that I had to share that with you. I appreciate how weird and funny and creative people are!
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