Check out this post by Denise Jacobs author of Banish Your Inner Critic
This has been an exceptionally turbulent time. Over the last few months, collectively, we’ve been experiencing a series of traumas that continue to build.Most people worldwide are in at least the 10th week of sheltering in place and social distancing to stop the spread of Covid-19, and are having to reconcile the travails of working from home, managing children and families, and may be dealing with economic repercussions and adverse effects on mental health.Then, here in the US, over the past several weeks events involving racial violence have exploded, culminating in the murder of George Floyd, which sparked not just countrywide, but worldwide continuing protests over the last week. Disturbingly, in response, the US “leadership” has only taken actions that serve to exacerbate and divide rather than those that acknowledge and unite.The pandemic alone was enough to put us in a place of VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. But the heightened awareness of how much racism needs to be addressed and eradicated has also resulted in FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.Because of the combination of these two states, we’re all now particularly susceptible to the inner critic. That’s right: our inner critics are working on overdrive in our heads because what’s going on outside in the world is so, so much.The problem is that now is the time when we need to think bigger and envision what a better world looks like. We need to be open to learning new information. And we need to take all of that, creatively problem-solve, and determine which steps we’ll take to make the world a better place.
What can we do to keep ourselves sane, manage anxiety and fear, so that we can then feel empowered to step up and start to create the world that we want to live in?The answer lies with compassion: compassion for the self, and compassion for others.Practicing self-compassion helps us to maintain emotional equilibrium and build emotional resilience. Self-compassion decreases insecurity, lessens anxiety, and helps us to believe that we are worthy and capable. It helps us to feel more secure and accepted by activating our built-in care-giving system and encouraging the release of oxytocin.How do we get to self-compassion? The first step is to acknowledge trauma. The second is to consciously work to stop self-judgement. The third step is to actively comfort ourselves.
Here’s where compassion – sympathy, empathy, caring and kindness towards others – also comes into play. How would you treat someone that you cared about and whose well-being was important to you? That’s what all of us who are experiencing the trauma of the times need.
In Whitney Johnson’s April newsletter, this passage resonated deeply with me, “Psychologists have said that for people to heal from trauma they need others to bear witness to their loss. There is trauma to spare right now and many who need to have their losses acknowledged and validated.”We all need to extend compassion to others, AND we need to turn that same loving kindness and caring toward ourselves. Practicing self-compassion enables us to bear witness to our own trauma. Through exercising compassion, we bear witness to the trauma of others.
But we shouldn’t just stop there. Brenda, I invite you to put compassion into action – to acknowledge and validate losses – by using your voice. Words have the power to heal: to build bridges of understanding over chasms of historical hurt. Your words have the power and have the capacity to influence people. Start to speak up and use your voice as an agent for change.Remember that your inner critic will try to hold you back: it will try to tell you that it’s safer to stay where you are. But think: what you would do if your inner critic was silent? Imagine how you would show up if you weren’t afraid, if you didn’t have self-doubt. What would you do? Who would you help?
What I’m after, and what I think we’re all after on some level with doing whatever work that we do is this: everlasting impact with compassion and kindness.
Ultimately, the goal is Love over Fear. So let’s give ourselves love AND give love to others people in concrete ways through our actions.
Let’s start effecting positive change on a grand scale by exercising both compassion and self-compassion, so that we can apply ourselves to bringing a better future into being now.
I know that we can do this – together.
Silence the Voice of Self-Doubt to Unleash Your Creativity and Do Your Best Work
Are you ready to boost your personal productivity—minus the fear and loathing? Are you ready to Banish Your Inner Critic and unleash the creative ideas and personal productivity within you? Help is on the way!
If you’re a fan of books such as The Artist’s Way or The War of Art, you should read Banish Your Inner Critic.