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What if I Feel Like My Inner Critic Helps Me Succeed in the World? Is That Bad?

Mark Coleman






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What if I Feel Like My Inner Critic Helps Me Succeed in the World? Is That Bad?

Mark reflects on the power of being motivated by inspiration and purpose rather than shame and criticism.

Hello, it's Mark Coleman here.

And I've been asked to answer

the question, what if I feel

like my inner critic helps me

succeed in the world, is that bad?

So thank you for that question.

I think it's a really important and

common one because many of us feel,

and many students I talk to feel,

like if I didn't have a critic, if

there wasn't something nagging me,

bashing me, cajoling me, bullying me, I

wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.

I wouldn't work so hard.

I wouldn't get anything done.

My house would be a mess.

The dishes would be piling up in the sink.

I wouldn't be such a good parent.

I wouldn't be taking care of the

things I need to take care of.

That without that voice,

I'd be lazy, I'd be a slob.

I wouldn't get anything done.

I wouldn't care about anything.

So I often hear from students, oh

the critic is what gets me motivated.

And I think that can

be true to some extent.

And I can look back at my own life

and see, Oh yeah, that voice at times

had a place in cajoling me or guilting

me or pressuring me to do something.

And I can think about something as

simple as cleaning my house and how

the critic would often have a lot

of thoughts and ideas and judgements

about how the house should be.

How clean it should be,

how tidy it should be.

And this is a small example, but I think

it's indicative of how the critic works.

And so sometimes when I was living alone

and I'd wake up and the kitchen was a

mess, the dishes unwashed, or the house

disorderly, my critic would have a lot of

ideas about that and judgments and views.

What if somebody comes over?

What if people knew you

were living like this?

Sometimes I could hear my parents'

voice, you know, as if I was

still a teenager being told to

pick up my clothes and whatever.

The problem with listening to the

critic, as I've talked a little

about in the course even though it

can seem like it's motivating us,

usually by judging or pushing or

bullying, being a bit of a taskmaster

or a tyrant as some people call it.

When we listen to that voice, when we're

motivated by that voice of judgment, it's

usually pushing us in a way where we do

those things, but we feel contracted.

We feel pushed, we feel compelled, and

there's often a tinge of fear in it.

Fear of the critics, wrath, fear

of disappointing the judge or

whoever the judge represents.

And the main thing is that each time

we listen to the critic, each time we

give it's words value and importance,

we strengthen that mechanism.

And as I've discussed the critic,

not just judges us, in my case for

having a messy house or not doing the

dishes, but it also has an implication.

If you don't do those things, if

you fail, if you don't follow my

words, therefore you're a failure.

You're hopeless, you're

worthless, you don't have value.

And so the more that we listen to and

give the time of day to the critic,

the more we put our fundamental

value and worth on the line.

And you might want to ask yourself

as I did, do I want to have my

judge, my critic evaluating whether

I'm worthy as a human being?

And yes, maybe I can be successful and

do certain things, but the problem with

that, if it's motivated by the critic, if

you don't succeed, if you don't do those

things, if you don't achieve what you

intended to achieve, then the critic, you

can be sure, we'll let you know about it

with judgment, with shame, with criticism.

And so we need to find within

ourselves much more healthier,

kinder, more wholesome motivations.

For example, when I remember that I

actually really enjoy living in a tidy

house, when I remember I really enjoy

waking up in the morning, making my

cup of tea and the kitchen's already

clean, then that becomes a motivation

for me to do the dishes at night.

Not that I should, not that I'm a slob

if I don't, but because I actually

really enjoy waking up to a tidy kitchen.

I really enjoy having

some order in the house.

It's more restful.

So that becomes a healthier motivation.

In the same way during this period of

the pandemic and I'd lost a lot of work.

A lot of my schedule got canceled

and I had quite a bit of free time

and very little income coming in.

And my critic, you know, could very

easily have a lot to say about that.

Why don't you work harder?

Why don't you hustle?

Why don't you try and

generate more work and income?

And I could listen to that voice because

it has a point of view, but it's not

where I want to be motivated from.

I want to be motivated from inspiration,

from passion, from purpose, from meaning.

And so I began to reflect about, well what

do I have to offer during this pandemic?

Well, I'm a meditation teacher

and been teaching a long time.

People need support.

They need courses and

teachings and classes.

And so I began to generate work from

a place of inspiration and service and

helping rather than I should, because I

don't have money and blah, blah, blah.

And so that became a much healthier,

more wholesome form of motivation.

One that doesn't have at the end result

if I fail to achieve what I set out,

doesn't have judgment and blame from

the critic coming quickly on its heels.

So you need to ask yourself what

other sources of motive mo,tivation

do I have other than judging myself

other than beating myself up.

Other than listening to a tyrant or bully.

What inspires you?

What deeper place of motivation can

move you to make action, to engage

in the world, to listen, to purpose

and meaning, and what really is

important to you and let that wholesome

motivation inspire you to act.

So thank you for this question.

It's really important that we learn to

notice where our motivation's coming from,

how we, how we encourage ourselves to

succeed and excel, not through criticism

and judging, but through inspiration,

through a more healthy motivation.

So I wish you well with reflecting on

this theme, what allows you to succeed?

What allows you to take

positive action in the world?

And again, remembering to be

kind and gentle with yourself.

Please enjoy your practice.

Thank you.

Included in

Q&A on Negative Thinking null Playlist · 5 tracks

Q&A on Negative Thinking

Playlist · 5 tracks4.9

More by this teacher

Where Does the Inner Critic Come From?Talk by Mark Coleman
Mark Coleman
Mark Coleman

Where Does the Inner Critic Come From?

Talk · 8 mins4.4

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