But I have to be true to the reality of my life. And life got in the way yesterday. I found out that my beloved Luna the One-Eyed Wonder Dog has malignant, aggressive oral cancer. I’m devastated. Crushed. Unglued. She’s had a tough doggy life, and she doesn’t deserve more pain or fear. She’s my little rescue pup, and I’m lucky I found her.
Back to the inner critic: I’m not buying into any optimistic takes on the inner critic. Inner critics don’t deserve to inhabit our heads. Everything that we do that aligns with our best selves comes from the parts of us that are passionate, competent, responsible, compassionate, caring, and so on. The inner critic’s only goal is to make us miserable.
And here’s a prime example: What did my inner critic say when I found out Luna’s diagnosis? It reminded me of my weak moments, when I wished I didn’t have a dog or hoped that Luna wouldn’t live to be 18 years old. Because, yes, owning a dog can be trying, and it definitely does — if you’re a good dog owner like I am who also happens to be single — impact your every day freedoms.
My inner critic went on to say: “Well, you got your wish. You won’t be ‘saddled’ with Luna for too much longer.” It went so far as to tell me that my very thoughts had caused her cancer. There’s a part of me that listens to the damned inner critic, that gets sucked in. Could this be true? And therein lies the deep, dark abyss that could lead to months of self-recrimination and guilt.
The inner critic is great at twisting the mantras we grew up with and using them against us. I grew up in a New Agey household. Even so, hand it to the inner critic to take what were meant to be positivistic mantras and warp them out of all proportion. Mantras likes, As you think, so you manifest. Or, Your thoughts are powerful. It’s insidious and irrational, yet here I am, feeling horrible because maybe I caused Luna’s cancer with my thoughts!
I want to murder my inner critic. It’s a waste of space in my head. No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
But I can’t. So what to do? I honestly don’t know. This weekend I plan to write a short story in honor of the Halloween season. Maybe I’ll murder a character. That might help. (All this said, you can probably imagine what my writing life is like at times!)
How harsh does your inner critic get and what do you do about it? Any advice appreciated!