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The Inner Critic: Transforming Negative Self-Talk

By angela
February 14, 2024

During my freshman year in high school I was enrolled in Geometry Honors. I had aced Algebra during junior high and this class was the next in line for my academic journey.

I detested math. I found it boring as hell, despite my good grades. (Let’s just ignore the fact that I now earn my living as a bookkeeper. The Universe laughs and laughs…)

My geometry teacher also taught basic mathematics. They called it “remedial math” (what a troublesome label!) and my best friend was enrolled in it, under this same teacher.

One day my friend and I were walking through the hall near his classroom, holding hands and laughing as young teens do. He stopped us in our tracks and, after giving us each the once-over said to us, “What are YOU (pointing at me) doing with HER (my friend)?”

Oof. He was implying that given the disparity in our math skills we should not be hanging out together.

My friend and I just looked at him, looked at each other, then back at him and with a shrug in our voice said, “We’re best friends!” and skipped away, still holding hands. We brushed it off, acknowledging his cluelessness.

He didn’t know us, our passions, or what truly connected our Souls. He shallowly determined our value based on a single school subject. “Whatever!” exclaimed our 14-year-old selves. “We don’t care what he thinks!”

Yet something stirred inside of me that day. My young heart wanted to protect my friend from internalizing this toxic, negative assessment.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this man handed me what was to become one of my bigger life lessons in non-judgment and self-limiting beliefs, all wrapped in one flippant sentence.

Flash forward a few decades. I find myself pondering just how powerful our internal dialogue can be, whether originating from within or via outside sources. How do you speak to yourself, Dreamers? Are your words loving? Overly critical? Or maybe, like most of us, a little of both?

At any given time, the conditional thoughts in my head can resemble a washing machine’s spin cycle. Here there yes no up down in out good bad, omg can someone turn that thing off? This symphony of internal messaging can be relentless, unless or until we realize that we are the conductor.

You know the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy?” I recognize how potent this statement is. Comparing ourselves to anything or anyone can knock our energy down a few levels. Whether we’re telling ourselves we’re “better than” or “not measuring up,” it takes us out of our truth. It can either result in feelings of superiority and arrogance, or inadequacy and unworthiness—all of which result in a departure from our unique Soul journey.

Shifting away from our center in this way creates an opening for our inner critic, who thrives on our vulnerability. We have the power to say NO to the pessimism. We are the conductors. We hold that baton.

I invite you to take charge of your minds, dear Dreamers! Let’s all make a vow to ourselves, in honor of my arithmetically challenged high school buddy: When comparative thoughts arise, take a few breaths. Reach for a more expansive thought, striving to keep your mind pure and in absolute presence. The rigid, binary way of thinking can be released, one reactive thought at a time.

This week’s Soul Guidance Reading leads us toward adopting a relaxed and refreshing outlook that is free from judgment. Let’s get into it!

watch the reading here

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