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Why can't my inner critic be an introvert like me?

There she is. Right in the middle of this meeting, telling me she does not think my idea is good enough, telling me to be quiet, telling me I am not worthy to be in this group of people. Other people have better ideas she says. No, this is not some obnoxious colleague or boss who is giving me feedback. This is the brutal message I tell myself. No one can tell - I hide it well - at least I think I do. But I stay quiet, not saying what I am thinking. Even though there is an inkling of an idea there. A kernel that could grow into something. A lost idea that will never be germinated and grow. The energy will go elsewhere - both mine and the group's.

Why can't my inner critic be an introvert like me? Why can't she be quiet and hold her voice? She doesn't have good ideas. She is a Debby Downer. Rationally I know she is not right - I do deserve to be in this room. But what if she is right? Even if there is a slight chance, maybe I should stay quiet. So why can't SHE be quiet?

Maybe we should change places - maybe it is opposite day. She becomes quiet, biting her tongue, questioning her opinions. Other's ideas are probably better so she is not going to speak up. She would fume under this censorship. But let her fume.

And I would state my idea - heart pounding, palms sweating, thinking this may be the moment before everyone no longer thinks I am smart. But I would jump in. Like letting go of the slide rails and realizing it is too late to stop myself going down the slide of sharing my perspective. I state my idea. A few head nods. Nothing earthshattering. But I stated my idea. And no one said it was a stupid idea - at least not out loud.

And of course my inner critic can't hold herself back any longer and says "Now you have done it". That was a stupid idea and they all think you are stupid. And I will analyze this moment in bed at night - not being able to go to sleep. "Have you learned your lesson now?" she will say. "Yes I have," I will say. I should say something only if I am really confident that it is a good idea.

The next meeting I am quiet. I learned my lesson - thank you inner critic. Although rationally nothing negative really happened from sharing my idea. But a colleague notices I was quiet. "Are you OK? You didn't say much in today's meeting. Is everything ok?" he asks. Yes I respond. "Well I'd love to get your ideas on this project. Can I get some time with you later today?" he asks. Of course I say - with a warmness in my heart that I am valued and appreciated. I know it is like a drug to be so hooked on being valued by others but I can't help feel better about myself and my ideas. Will I feel this way later today when sharing my ideas with him?

How can I hide my inner critic from myself? How can I make her an introvert just this one time? How can we play opposite day and she is quiet and I speak my mind. Breathe! Put her in the place she loves - judging the country fair contest of prize chickens.

So speak up I say to myself from my inner wisdom. There she is - my true self. I tell my inner critic to be an introvert today - she can speak up but only in a productive, thoughtful and brave way. And I show up with my more true self - Introverted all the way through from my inner critic to my true self. But how can I convince my inner critic to be an introvert next time?

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Mar 15, 2021


Thank you for highlighting this situation. This happens more often than I'd like. I often wonder how many outcomes of meetings would have been different if I only had to the courage to say what was on my mind. I'd like to silence my inner critic too! Once and for all.

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