That ever-present voice.
How many years have I listened, now? About 40+. I think that's long enough.
It goes something like this: I glance at myself in the mirror as I step from the shower, reaching for my towel. "Wow," says the voice. "Where did that come from?" I see a deepening crease in the roll on my back. "Good job. That's a prize-winner."
Unrelenting. Snarky. Cynical. Accusatory. Mocking. If any of those overtones show up in the voice you hear in your head, I encourage you ignore it.
Here's the thing: One comment does not a downward spiral make. It's our response to the initial Inner Critic comment that opens the door. We can choose to board the chew-chew train or turn away. Just know that if you decide to enter the conversation, you risk spiraling out of control toward further damage. (And the creepy thing is, I.C.'s voice sounds oddly like you talking, so you feel justified in listening.)
If you battle with your Inner Critic, here's a little something to help you. A picture is more powerful than preachin' in some cases, and I nabbed the above photo of my Inner Critic so you'd know what an I.C. looks like.
Buff, toned muscles that have their own muscles, tanned, and literally pulsing with life. Why? Because I've provided my Inner Critic with more exercise and nourishment than I've offered myself. Every time I engage, I help I.C. pump those biceps. When I take the downward spiral out for a spin, I help my Inner Critic run a few miles like a marathoner in training. And when I roll I.C.'s comments over and over in my head, wondering about them and then believing them, it's the same as feeding I.C. a steak dinner with a protein shake chaser.
My Inner Critic is in excellent condition because I've given him a workout every single day for years.
Well, I've had enough. If anyone is going to have a killer body, it's me. It someone around here is going to eat steak, it's me. And I'm over the snark, the mock, the cynicism and the daily doses of tearing me down while I.C. gets the toned and nourished.
I wasn't created for this. You weren't either. We are one-of-a-kind gems created to shine, to fly, to have a full life, abundantly blessed with every good thing God has provided for us. Why trade that in for a voice that lies and tears us down?
So, here's the deal, I.C. -- You're fired.
If a voice in my head needs to provide me with correction, teaching, guidance, or even conviction, I trust God to do a much better job than you. He's NICE! And He actually wants me to succeed. AND He has power to help me redeem my stupid choices, and forgives me when I am genuinely sorry for messing up. You? You just turn the knife and enjoy watching me bleed.
Yeah. You're fired. You haven't helped me. As if I didn't have enough trouble dealing with my own mistakes -- you not only point out my error -- you tell me I messed up AND call me a total loser. Poor form, I.C. Poor form.
And no, you don't get a severance package.