Many of us have developed the habit of not expressing ourselves creatively for fear that we won’t be understood. We harbor feelings of being weird, irregular — even unacceptable.
Our inner critics reject us before anyone else can. So the question is, what does your mind say when you are beating yourself up? What does your mind tell you is ‘wrong’ with you?
Whatever your answer is, keep in mind that any ‘irregularities’ you perceive in yourself are just preferences you have that may be outside the ‘norm’ — whatever that is. They are a part of what makes you, you. These things will actually make you more powerful if you learn to love, understand, and accept them.
“Weird” is an identity I embrace, haha, though I tend to call it quirky. I like weird people, people who feel like they’re on the fringes/at the margins of various groups, people who display more complexity than is “regular.” But “unacceptable” is a word that I throw at myself more often that I should, probably.
I beat myself up for being “too much”: feeling too much, saying too much, wanting too much, doing too much. I beat myself up for feeling dependent. I beat myself up for needing things, especially attention. I beat myself up for making mistakes, for imperfection. I beat myself up for feeling like a burden or a stressor to others.
Sometimes I think I’m wrong for not being interested in things that a lot of people I care about, admire, and respect are interested in. Some days I look in the mirror and think my body is wrong, but those days are increasingly fewer and farther between.
My inner critic often portrays my feelings as wrong or unacceptable. My inner critic is a big fan of the word “should,” how I should feel or act or be. My inner critic doubts, capitalizes on my insecurities and those the people I love have expressed to me and presents them as truths in trying times. My inner critic tells me not to say [thing], that [person] doesn’t care or doesn’t want to hear that. My inner critic tells me I am bad at relationships, and especially at polyamory. My inner critic tells me that I am uninteresting and unattractive and undesirable and wholly unremarkable. It tells me that I am the problem in the things I worry about.
I used to listen to that voice of criticism a lot more. These days, I am occasionally overtaken by it for a few hours, during which I’ll have a good cry, but afterwards I write things out to get my actual thoughts and feelings in order and then start to try to address the situation at hand. When I start to hear the criticism, it’s time for a check-in with myself and possibly others.