Ravenstone Retreat Centre
The Flip Side of our critical voice
When you first hear that-the flip side of our critical voice-it sounds like that’s a good thing. Most people have a critical voice that tells us what a failure and a loser we are and how we will never amount to anything, etc. And is that a fun world to live in? No, it’s not.
And when I talk about the flip side, it’s not a fun world to live in either. It’s what I call the “better than” voice. Some may not be able to relate to this as it’s common to be hard on ourselves. For those that can relate, you understand what I’m talking about. It’s a world of comparisons, a world of always striving because you must prove that you’re “better than.” It’s a world of having to look perfect, to never letting them see you sweat, and never letting your guard down. It’s a righteous stance with a bar of behaviour that we must live up to and anyone else not stepping up to that bar is clearly sub standard. The people around us always get to feel “less than” and certainly like they are not measuring up. That doesn’t sound much fun either, does it? It doesn’t have us feel connected to those around us and it doesn’t allow space for them to feel connected to us.
The “less than” voice and the “better than” voice are essentially opposite sides of the same coin. They come from defense and they don’t allow anyone to get close. I know. This is the voice that for years kept me guarded and not able to connect in any meaningful way. It took me until I was forty-eight years old to finally find love and marriage because of this voice. I was so hard on myself and the people around me that I kept running away from relationship after relationship until it finally brought me to my knees in despair. I didn’t know what was keeping me stuck as the “better than” voice can be a bit blinding. What’s tricky about it is we run around the world doing great stuff for everyone in order to look better than them and people may look up to us because our lives look so good. But inside it feels like a hamster wheel and we most often feel exhausted and empty. I know I did.
So, what’s the solution? How do I do something different? First off, ask yourself this question as I had to ask myself. Can I forgive myself? We all grow up with the voice in one direction or the other, no one is exempt from it. Can you finally let yourself off the hook for not knowing any better? Or are you at least willing to see it differently? If so, that is the first step. Then, every time you hear the voice, better than, less than, whichever one it is, start to notice when you do it and then ask yourself if that is what you really want. Do I want to believe this voice, or do I really want true peace and connection? If you decide the latter, then the solution will start to come your way. Like attracts like. And not because of some magic secret, but because once you start to identify which way your own critical voice leans, you will become more aware of it in others and won’t feel all that attracted to hanging out in that world anymore.
Is this simple? Yes. It is easy? No. It takes paying attention to your thoughts, so you can start to train them in the direction you want them to go. It gets easier the more you do it as you will start to create new neural pathways in your brain that will help your progress. If you do this for a year or even a few months, it will make a difference for you. What have you got to lose? You know that if you don’t try it you will be in the same position that you’re in now. Is that what you really want?
Give it a shot. I have faith you can do it.
To your peace of mind,
Marion Baker, RTC