As we work with the stories that make up our inner critic, it’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer we peel away the untruths, the expectations, the shoulds, in an effort to uncover our internal wisdom.
As you peel away layer after layer, you will begin to move deeper into some of the stickier phrases on your name web. Here the work becomes a little more intense. Some of the most cruel and destructive energies are jealousy, shame, and invalidation. They hide behind the judgment and value statements that others, either consciously or unconsciously, throw at us. These are the “shoulds” of life: “I think you should be this” or “Why aren’t you more like so and so?”
When parents are teaching a child to be safe in the world, they often inadvertently send this energy toward the one they love most. Parents may say, “We want more for you. We want you to be better than we are, smarter than we are, or richer than we are. We love you and want more for you.” While parents’ intention is one thing, their message may be another. The energy being transmitted to the child is: “You are not enough,” “You need to change,” “My love is conditional love,” “If you were different, I would love you more,” or “You are damaged and we need to fix you.” Shame is a result of not living up to this sort of expectation. You feel small, less than, unworthy. You don’t belong to the group.
I know you know this feeling.
In working with some of these deeper issues, it’s important to give yourself permission to find outside help in the form of therapist, energy workers, or healers to monitor you as you do your inner work. They can act as a neutral bystander gently reminding you to keep your distance from the emotions so they do not overwhelm you as you work to unravel some of the more difficult parts of your inner critic.
As I work with clients, I often choose to use a technique called Tapping. Tapping is a simple, effective tool somewhere between hypnosis, meditation, and acupressure that was first used by Roger Callahan, PhD, in the early 1980s. Callahan called it Thought Field Therapy (TFT). One of Callahan’s students, Gary Craig, developed a similar system of tapping that he called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Since then, tapping has been widely recommended as an effective technique to remove energy blocks. Recently the American Psychological Association (APA) granted continuing education credits for psychologists to study tapping, also known as energy psychology. Tapping is widely used by energy medicine practitioners such as Donna Eden and other professionals, including Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician (DO) and natural health practitioner.
Tapping moves the energy associated with a belief, releasing it from the body. When you tap, you say the belief aloud to bring up the corresponding emotion in the nervous system. Then you tap what we call “meridian points” to reset the system. Each meridian point is at the end of a nerve channel in the body. Tapping sends a shockwave down that channel that clears out the emotion residing there. When the emotion is gone, your mind no longer attaches to the belief. Suddenly your mind is free to re-process your emotional response, turning a negative into a positive.
In this video EFT Practitioner, Julie Schiffman, of Dr. Mercola’s Center for Natural Health demonstrates Tapping. You might want to view the video as you think of a phrase of your inner critic.
This is one of my go-to tools to help me keep my inner critic under control. I hope it works for you too.