Inner Critic: Taming the Writer’s Nemesis with Self-Compassion

Inner Critic: Taming the Writer's Nemesis with Self-Compassion

TL;DR

Massaging self-compassion, I wrote this letter to my nemesis —Poindexter, my inner critic dude. Writing by hand reinforces. Result: tamed!

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

Overview of this Article

This page begins with the typed version of a handwritten letter delivered to Poindexter, my inner critic. I left the journal pages open, placing the book on my desk minutes before I climbed the steps for night-night. Seeing it the next morning triggered a sloppy grin, matched with an internal victory lap.

Resources grace the closing sections: quotes and videos.

Through this page I tackle a specific goal: share my seat-of-the-pants learning experiences to assist others . Poindexter slapped me until I learned to massage compassion, turning its power on me. That was then. While I still don’t welcome Poindexter, I expect him. And I’ve conjured assorted tools to defang him.

Grammar niceties? Puhleeeease! Substance rules, not form. No cussin’, though a direct result of Mom’s old-school training.

In a nutshell, my secret to taming Poindexter? Incorporating joyful obsessions!

Yo Poindexter,

Taming Poindexter, inner critic dude
Taming Poindexter, inner critic dude

Yeah, “yo” not “dear.” You’re near, but the polar opposite of dear.

I comprehend your superpower, two to be precise. First, you play shadow, despite all efforts to banish you —forever.

Second, you borrow bravery from a turned back, sneaking in under the radar as fear, rank castigation, and other woe-inducers.

I write to assure you: I’m on to your bag of tricks. As usual, knowledge instills the lion’s share of cure.

Inner Critic Poindexter, you use comparisons to wound my spirit.

Nope, won't work, inner critic dude
Nope, won’t work, inner critic!

You insist everyone else is better, and I’m the lone fool. You want me to believe I’m a fraud, a poser, a know-nothing pretender. Here’s the deal, fool.

I’ve learned to treat you in the same manner as a bloviating brain-challenged poisonTician who lies persistently and consistently. That clown speaks to those anxious to swallow a gullibility pill.

That.
Ain’t.
Me.

Read: I revoked your blank check. I demand absolute beyond-a-reasonable-doubt proof of each and every one of your declarations, period. Where your words don’t fit, I acquit. Turns out, your declarations wither under the glare of scrutiny.

Inner Critic dude, you inflict flea-like harassment to stall my progress.

I'll scratch your itch, Poindexter, but MY way
I’ll scratch your itch, Poindexter, but MY way

I’ve noticed: you scurry around the periphery of productivity, dedicated to derailing me. While I agree to scratch your itch, I respond in Frank

Pause? Maybe. Stop? LOLOL
Pause? Maybe. Stop? LOLOL

Sinatra mode, doin’ it ♫ my way. ♫

You’ve schooled me. Now, I realize the magical prowess of my eyes. Simply switching gears sends you crashing off the track.

You harass. I find some physical item within view, focusing with intensity. I might create a mental story about the folks who created the comfy chair I enjoy. Or, I may count the varying hues and colors peeking in from the window showcasing my tree-lined street. The technique gifts relaxation throughout my body, then permeates my spirit. Translation: your muscles shrivel.

In short, you no longer hold center stage. I no longer focus on you, knocking my head against the brick wall of unringing a bell. Experience confirms: losing center stage forms your kryptonite. Indeed, you are—first and foremost—a punk, Merriam-Webster‘s shorthand for a “petty gangster, hoodlum, or ruffian.”

You Poindexter, simulate a maggot —crawling from graves.

The lingering gut-hole from my munchkin days after dad died, I thought, gave me nerves of steel. Yet decades later, you tested me on a near-daily basis as I played 24/7 caregiver for Mom.

Every time this Life’s greatest cheerleader failed to recognize me, you had a field day. But then her specialist expressed surprise: no hint of a bedsore appears in the 5 years of medical records. Proof: Love overwhelmed my lack of medical know-how. That reality extended a shield, holding you at bay.

And then I lost her.

You accelerated into overdrive.

And. I. Lost. My. Spirit.

You had me believing I failed to do something vital, proving fatal. After all, we’re talkin’ ’bout a woman who earned her eat-o-matic nickname, Lady PacMan. Good genes — remaining a size 6 throughout her moving-around adult life, despite her ravenous appetite. Her abrupt refusal to munch spelled her doom, you thundered.

You succeeded. I believed she committed slo-mo suicide to escape my pitiful unschooled level of care.

Months passed. But when I finally peeked out from that dark cloud, I absorbed one salient fact —you grasp ANYthing as a weapon to conquer. My psyche, at long last, accepted what all told me: loss of appetite constitutes the last hallmark of severe dementia. On the day objective and rational thinking returned, the seeds of my recovery took root.

Buried emotion — wounds too deep for tear ducts to touch— left me ripe for your odious touch. But here’s the thing, Poindexter: I survived one of the deepest cuts Life thrusts into the heart. Net result: you’re mojo lost its punch, sucka!

Mr. Inner Critic, get this → you ain’t &%#@!. You lack common decency, proving you stand unworthy of the great importance I unwittingly assigned to you. You’re a chump, incapable of flirting with the concept of elementary decency. This too I now know.

Check out my wicked Karate Kid 2.0 moves, Poindexter
Check out my wicked Karate Kid 2.0 moves, Poindexter

Your dirt gifted nutritious soil. As Maya Angelou insisted: still, I rise. Stand back and watch my Karate Kid 2-point-oh-yeah moves, you sorry piece of donkey dust!

Guess what, Pointy baby: Self-Compassion gifts its own bag of tricks!

You’ve trained me. Maintaining a sitting-duck posture fuels you. Fighting back, in my own special way, drains your tank. You’re choking, little varmint!

Resilience, you SunnuvaWitch

I. Can. / Will. Climb. Back.
I. Can. / Will. Climb. Back.

G’on, dude, gimme your best shot. We both know you’ve gut-punched my a– to the canvas on more than one occasion. But your ThrillaInMeKilla routine won only a few rounds.

I bounced up off that canvas, courtesy of my fat round derrière —complete with an Ali uppercut to your throat and a Frazier nose-flattening punch dead center in your hideous face. I destroyed your ability to breathe with ease in my mighty presence. (Yeah, I said it!) I hobbled your thrill in speaking pure unmitigated nonsense. Dude, I know what time it is! Oprah said it best: your time is up!

Eschewing your words, I played Energizer Bunny ’til pretense strolled into the factual realm. How ya like me now, you short-handed orange-headed Mental Midget?

Bottom-line: you can pause me, but your days of skidmarking Da Kidd live only in my rear-view mirror. The Universe gifts a subtle reminder every time I slide into the driver’s seat of my birdmobile: the windshield dwarfs the side and rear views — for a reason. Shout out to my magnificent Creator!

10-year old birdmobile, WITH CarPlay! Yeah babeeeeeee!
10-year old birdmobile, WITH CarPlay! Yeah babeeeeeee!

Silly rabbit, Emotional Intelligence rules.

You: a punch. Me: a passion. No contest!
You: a punch. Me: a passion. No contest!

Your “dummy!” routine now invigorates. You persist in highlighting what I don’t (yet!) know. I’ve flipped that switch.

⭐️ Leaving my comfort zone triggers resistance. Resistance manifests as sitting in neutral gear, e.g. procrastination. ⭐️ Because I realize this, I’ve conjured a few mechanisms designed for gentle self-accountability. My dual time blocks, combined with the 5-Whys Technique, continue to educate and empower me, unveiling —and ultimately resolving— your sneak attacks.

Every time you call me a dummy, my renewed perspective energizes.

The “For Dummies” books remain ensconced on best seller lists precisely because new ventures = new things to learn, new skills to master. A permanent coward, masquerading as arrogance, never touches those books. This scared-to-death woman gobbles every dang page, moving forward, despite the fear. No chains, Poindexter. These days, fear merely seasons my reasons.

I gotta learn those foreign skills awaiting me. Thank you for confirming my goal merits the dummy label. Today, I submit my Tina Turner-ized admission: ♫ rolling … rollin’ … rollin’ down the river ♫ of fear = movement, sufficient to permit one-footstep-at-a-time ascension from the low end of the learning curve.

I “get” the Rule of Five: persistent chops of the mightiest tree brings that bad boy crashing to earth. So rock on, DuhBoy! This Lil Momma relishes the challenge of stretching into new territory, while waving BuhBye! to the increasingly distant shore of my comfort zone.

You may pack a mean punch, but GirlFriend packs a clean passion. I converted your jeers to cheers. Your words provide a security blanket, proof positive I’m poised for take off.

The inner critic gets loudest when his target is poised for takeoff.
The inner critic gets loudest when his target is poised for takeoff.

Inner Critic Dude → → Bye Felicia!

Poindexter, we both know your visits remain impervious to every door I think I’ve locked. Yo, makes no diff, son! I’ve earned and learned the fine art of compassion, extending from me to me.

When you speak, a knee-jerk internal question kicks my senses: would I tolerate the words if directed to a friend?. The standard answer: nope! Result: I remind myself of

  • the smiles I’ve coaxed from others
    writesquire.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/image-1-11-18-10-26-am.jpeg" alt="My spirit soars, courtesy of self-compassion over-powering Poindexter! [BlueBird]" width="415" height="277" /> My spirit soars, courtesy of self-compassion over-powering Poindexter! [BlueBird]
  • those with whom I’ve maintained deep friendships for decades
  • the quality people comprising my inner circle

My track record underscores: I. Am. Worthy. I. Am. Capable.

I am not perfect. I am determined.

I sometimes procrastinate. I always try, again.

What I lack in native intelligence, I smother in grit.

I kicked pride to the curb, enlisting reinforcements. A 5-star general leads my army! His name: music!

This is my goal. My plan to achieve it. My world.

Dude, yoe a–? Evicted!!

Yours no more,
Dat writesquire woman

My Slick Trick for Conquering Inner Critic Dude

And at the end, there was/is peace
And at the end, there was/is peace

Those closest to me know: I assign nicknames to those within my inner circle. I don’t plan it. I may be washing dishes, running ’round a (seriously loooong) country block, or… Whatever, wherever —the term of endearment pops, then nestles within my being.

Here’s something no one, not even hubby, knows —til now. (Yes, hubs reads this blog, cuz, well, love.) An old-school R&B tune also attaches. I hear it when thoughts of the loved one hit my brain, or I see the person approaching. Hey, what is a loved one without tailored background music? ♫ 🤗 ♫

Pointy, you, of course, refute the “love” requisite. But let’s face it. You appear on my mind’s doorstep with such dastardly regularity, you too merit a tune. In fact, with a nod toward your extreme persistence as well as your twin BFFs —Murphy’s Law and sneakiness— I assigned three tunes.

Cliff Notes reminder: this is MY Empire, chump! Admit it: Didn’t I blow YOUR mind, this time?! Add: the musical homage to every backstabber: smiling faces tell lies. I’m here to tell ya, Mr. Inner Critic, I’ve Motowned yoe sorry butt into the netherworld of rank ineffectiveness.

You squawk. I sing. Literally! My version of meditation.

No self-lecture. No woulda, shoulda, coulda. No reach for a list of affirmations. No homminna homminna. I employ a decades-beloved joyful obsession —old-school music— to restore my senses which, in turn, mutes you, Poindexter. As you’ve observed, this stands as the singular technique —for me— conjuring a 100% success rate.

When I feel a need for that good ole church vibe:

We all make mistakes

You might fall on your face

Don’t ever give up!

I’d rather stand tall

Than live on my knees

‘Cause I am a conqueror

And I won’t accept defeat

Try telling me no

One thing about me

Is I am a conqueror

When I wanna blast you with my resolve:

Ten times or more, yes, I’ve walked out that door

Get this into your head, there’ll be no more

Didn’t I blow your mind this time, didn’t I

Didn’t I blow your mind this time, didn’t I

Yes sir

Dancin' away Poindexter, the (now-muted) inner critic
Dancin’ away Poindexter, the (now-muted) inner critic

When hips wanna sway as my mouth does its say, I indulge a 💃🏾 boogie 💃🏾 party:

Smiling faces sometimes

Pretend to be your friend

Smiling faces show no traces

Of the evil that lurks within (can you dig it?)

Smiling faces, smiling faces, sometimes

They don’t tell the truth

Smiling faces, smiling faces tell lies and I got proof

Oh, oh, yeah

Last point: → bring it on, DudeMan! SistahGirl is ready for ya!!

Thoughts about Self-Compassion, the Inner Critic, and the Comfort Zone

And if you think whisperin’s got power, duuuuude, you ain’t checked out my  Aretha warblin’  vibe!

Listen About Self-Compassion, Conquering Fear, and the Inner Critic

✦︎ Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk — Danielle Krysa

TEDx Brentwood College School
14m: Being bullied is awful, especially when that bully lives inside your head.

✦︎ Dancing with my inner critic — Steve Chapman

TEDx Royal Tunbridge Wells
13m: Shining a light on the inner critic.

✦︎ The Critical Inner Voice

Whiteboard Animation
5m: Learn about the inner critic leading so many of us to sabotage ourselves.

✦︎ Overcoming Bad Inner Voices

6m: Wisdom involves learning how to replace those crushing nags with more benevolent guides.

✦︎ Self Compassion — YouTube

4m: How to tame the inner critic’s voice

Call to Action

The good stuff lives beyond the comfort zone. Moving from here to there mandates navigating the treacherous waters of fear, where Poindexter wears the captain’s hat. Understand that fact. Embrace it. Then massage to convert this enemy into a buddy.Adopt the Rule of Five and the 5-Whys Technique. Buffer that knowledge with a joyful obsession. You’ll be hard-pressed to pinpoint a more efficient and comprehensive group of friends as you continue to strive …

 

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