Hi. My name is Lauri. I am a perfectionist, driven by my addiction to my inner critic. I admit that I am powerless over my addiction to rejection and that because of this addiction, my life has become unmanageable. I believe in a power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity. I turn this addiction over to the God of my understanding. And this is when true miracles happen!
The Demons of Self-Rejection and Self-Loathing
All of my life, I have been plagued by a voice that seems to come at me from both directions – both from inside of me and from outside of me. This is the voice of the Inner Critic – that big, mean, Lauri that stands outside of me wagging the finger of blame and speaking within me eating away at my self worth. “It is all your fault. There is something wrong with you. If you aren’t perfect, people won’t love you. If you work really hard, you might be loved. If you aren’t loved, it means you aren’t enough or your efforts weren’t good enough.” This is the inner critic that for my whole life has told me that there is something wrong with me, that I am not enough and that I am not good enough. This is the voice that compelled me as a child to embrace the compulsion of perfectionism – I had to be the straight A student, the top achiever, the teacher’s pet, the star, the best…at everything. This voice served me well in academics where I naturally thrived, but beyond that, that voice was a B.I.T.C.H. When I couldn’t throw or catch a ball, she said, “I told you there was something wrong with you.” When I couldn’t draw, “I told you you had no talent.” When I forgot the second movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata at my senior recital, “Who told you you could play piano?” When no one asked me out for prom, “I told you you were ugly.” When the people around me were hurt, angry, depressed, scared, the voice told me, “It must be your fault….something you’ve done.” ARGH! I hate that voice and all the ways she has made me feel like C.R.A.P.
Origin of the Voice?
Psychologists would tell me that this voice of the Inner Critic came about through my childhood – an overly critical or overbearing parent or something like that. The Enneagram, however, offers a softer and kinder possibility. The voice of the Inner Critic was something that I was born with. While the development of its shadow side may have been supported by certain family of origin dynamics, the Inner Critic’s source of origin (according to the Enneagram) is the unique lens I was born with and through which I perceive my world and my life experiences. Hidden within the voice of the critic is the gift that I was born to share with the world. The trick is to find healing for the spiritual wound of separation (for more on that, see my book Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy), so that the shadow side of the gift may soften and relax and the gift may emerge.
I have worked for YEARS on trying to heal that wound of separation and quiet the voice of the Inner Critic. While my perfectionist has relaxed and I am WAY better than I used to be, I have still found myself plagued by that darn Inner voice wagging the finger of blame at me. With the recent end of a love relationship, that darn Inner Critic has gotten especially loud and annoying. As I have been moving through the expected faces of grief, the Inner Critic has been beating the crap out of me and on Monday, I finally realized how mean she really is and how much I no longer want her to be a part of my life. For the first time, I PRAYED for healing and asked God to take this burden away from me.
Ask and it Shall Be Given
As I finally collapsed into a helpless heap of frustration and admitted I was powerless over this darn Inner Critic and finally asked for God’s help, miracles began to happen. Through a series of experiences, I found the Inner Critic began to become quieter. I re-discovered some meditation tools that helped me to further calm that inner voice and allow myself to remember a deeper state of peace and love. Then something AMAZING happened – three separate individuals (spiritual teachers) in three separate conversations offered similar advice, “Give love to yourself. Shower yourself in love. Tend to your own need for love.” It wasn’t until the third offering on the third day that I GOT IT. And this is what I saw:
Standing outside of me was me. At first the outside me was the Inner Critic, wagging her finger of self-hatred at me. Then, she suddenly changed. She lowered her arm, turned to face me, looked into my eyes, embraced me, and loved me.
The Inner Critic was now the Inner Lover. Holding me. Loving me. Supporting me. Adoring me. For the first time in my life, I received the love that I so generously and freely give to others. And that was an amazing thing.
Authentic Freedom Ministries