A Restraining Order for Your Inner Critic
The little girl in me was never told that it wasn’t okay for people to be mean to me. Growing up, I was given the clear message that I had to earn love and that I “deserved” to be punished if I made mistakes. Just being me wasn’t enough for the people and the culture around me. I witnessed and received both physical and emotional abuse for many years. I didn’t know another way. As a result, I developed a harsh inner critic that judged and criticized myself and others for a long time. I’ve let go of criticizing others and have developed a lot of compassion for humanity through years of therapy and inner work. It’s only been recently that I started really giving myself the same kind of love and compassion.
Recently someone that I love very much has been spitting judgment on me because he is in pain. I didn’t conform to his idea of how one “should” be, he felt hurt by it and then turned hot/cold, love/hate, beautiful/ugly in a repeating cycle. He called me names, used profanity with me and did everything he could to get my attention in a very unhealthy way. I finally had to tell him that if this behavior continued, I would have to file a restraining order against him. Finding this firm boundary with someone that I have such deep love and compassion for was not easy but it was necessary. I don’t judge this beautiful person; he has had his own journey with being judged and shamed. We are all products of our environment until we choose a different path. I love him but I love myself too much to continue being treated this way.
Realizing that I deserve to be treated with love and respect is an awakening for me. Despite the fact that that is what I give, I have had a hard time receiving this. Until now. I have cried many tears as I’ve realized that I’ve always believed that I deserved to be punished or rejected. I don’t parent my children this way and yet I have done this to myself over and over again. I don’t feel victimized by him or by my own upbringing because I have learned how to support that which leads me to love, growth and empowerment. These days when something hurts me, I stop doing it.
My wonderful friend, Trina, pointed out that all of the things this person said are the things the “critical parent” or inner critic inside of me says. A brilliant lightbulb went off in my head (and heart) when she said this. I have a little quote on my desk that I picked up along my path. It says, “The people and things you come into relationship with challenge or entice your inner being out into manifestation. Thus, every relationship reveals you to yourself and brings your talents to the world.” The word, “Namaste” loosely translates to “the Divine in me honors the Divine in you”. This is also true of the frailty of being human. This dear soul was merely reflecting back to me what I still believed to be true on some level. At the same time, I have many other dear souls who are reflecting more positive messages. I had a choice to embrace the positive reflection or the negative one. I finally chose the positive. I have learned to quiet my critical parent and listen to the voice inside that says, “You are beautiful and worthy of love. All parts of you are beautiful and perfect. There is nothing but grace.” The benevolent parent inside of me speaks louder these days and knows how to take care of me and tells me what I deserve. I am so grateful. I know that I deserve LOVE, COMPASSION and GENTLENESS. We all do.
People who have been harsh and judgmental to me in my life have been excellent teachers on this road to empowerment. I honor their place in my life even as I say goodbye. I see their potential and beauty. I also honor the many people (which seems to grow in number every day as I embrace it) who remind me of my worth, forgive my mistakes and see my potential and my beauty.
Life sends us nothing but angels. To all of them, I say Namaste and thank you.