Hi and welcome. You’re listening to The Stories From a Quest to Live Happier podcast, and I’m your host, Nancy Jane Smith. I’m a licensed professional counselor, and in this podcast, I share my stories and lessons I’ve learned, and I keep learning on my quest to Live Happier. This is episode 42. Tips for Channeling Your Biggest Fan.
Hi there and welcome. I’m so excited to be here. I’m sorry I missed last week on the podcast rotation, it just kind of got away from me, and it just didn’t happen. I’m very excited to be here recording this one as tomorrow I’m headed out to Seattle to go to a continuing education conference and have the joy of hearing Kristin Neff talk for a few days out there. Hopefully, I will gather a bunch of information that I can share with you guys here on the podcast, in blogs, newsletters and all that good stuff.
So, let’s get to talking about today’s podcast topic which is channeling your biggest fan. The term the biggest fan comes from a couple episodes ago. In episode 37, I talked about quieting your inner critic. The key point of that is channeling your biggest fan. I’ve had a number of clients, I’ve gotten some e-mails and a couple of phone calls from people asking, “Okay, I need some help. How do I actually do this biggest fan thing? I get the idea, I just don’t know how to do it.”
I want to start by doing a quick refresher on what it is I mean by your biggest fan. The biggest fan, like I said, is something I use in dealing with the inner critic. I think, we all have countless voices that are playing in our heads all day, but for the most part we have three voices. One of them is our inner critic. It’s constantly telling us how terrible we are and how much improvement we need, etc., etc.
The other voice is our best friend voice. That’s usually the voice we’re encouraged to channel when we’re working on self-compassion or liking ourselves. We’re encouraged to channel that loving, kind, best friend voice. What I’ve found in my work is that sometimes that the best friend voice also gets us in trouble in a different way.
What we really need to do is start channeling our biggest fan. I’ll give you a quick example of this. Let’s say you want to start, I had a client recently who wanted to start getting up earlier in the morning. She is retired and she kind of wants to start her day earlier, not sleep in, but really get going. Her inner critic voice when her alarm goes out says, “Get out of bed you lazy idiot. Get moving.” Her best friend voice says, “No, sweetheart, stay in bed. It’s so cozy and warm and you’re retired and you deserve this.” Her biggest fan voice says, “Come on, if we get out bed we can get a lot done today. We can go for a walk and do all of the stuff that you really want to be doing. You’re worth it, so get out of bed, we can enjoy it and have our coffee before we have to head to our next appointment. We really can enjoy getting up.”
That biggest fan voice is the voice in the middle there. It kind of runs the middle ground. It’s kind and compassionate but also has our best interest at heart and wants us to keep moving forward. It’s not the best friend voice because a lot of times the best friend voice can also be the same voice that’s like, “Go ahead. Have that extra glass of wine. Go ahead. Have that extra cookie”. It’s the biggest fan voice that is the one saying, “Really, if we have another glass of wine we’re going to be hung over tomorrow, or you’re just going to get silly if you have another glass of wine. Let’s really pay attention to what’s best for us right now.”
Our biggest fan has our back and really wants us to do what’s best for us. For those of us who have lived in an inner critic world, where the inner critic is constantly hammering us, this channeling the biggest fan is really kind of a new idea. What would my biggest fan even say to me? How does this even work? What does that voice even sound like?
Some tips I have for channeling the biggest fan, one is to just on a neutral day when nothing’s happening and you’re not getting accosted by your inner critic, just kind of channel yourself to come up with what would my biggest fan say right now? You can journal those or say those out loud. Just kind of generating that voice and kind of tapping into it in some ways. Do that at a time when you’re not getting hammered by your inner critic, or your best friend; it’s just a neutral kind of day.
Something that really worked for me, and this sounds so simple, I think I’ve talked about it in other podcasts are just signs. People have the What Would Jesus Do bracelets. Its kind of in the same vein, they would say, “What would your biggest fan say?” Have those posted around your house. You can make it your screen saver on your phone, “What would my biggest fan say?” To kind of get your mind kind of thinking of it at random times. A great way of doing that is to set a random alarm on your phone, set an alarm for random times. When it dings, the name of the alarm would be What Would My Biggest Fan Say? You can start generating and strengthening that voice. It’s not like that voice isn’t there or I don’t have a biggest fan. We all have a biggest fan but I think for most of us that voice just gets really, really diminished.
It’s about channeling the biggest fan on off times. Another thing I would say is to really pay attention to when your inner critic is hammering you. I talked about this last time, you know that warm, cozy affect that our inner critic has on us, of making us feel like it’s a really comfortable sweater that has our back, then it just starts to itch, scratch and really get under our skin. When you’re at that point with the inner critic, where you’re just starting to recognize how annoying this inner critic is and how it’s showing up and driving me crazy, that’s a time for you to start practicing, if you could ease in a little bit of the voice of, “What would my biggest fan say right here?”
Start reminding yourself that the inner critic, there can be some wiggle room there. There can be some. It doesn’t have to be hammering us all the time. We choose to listen to that voice. I remember hating when people would say that me, “You’re choosing to listen to that voice.” I really didn’t really think I was choosing because who wants to listen to the inner critic voice. You know, like blah. We do choose it in the sense that we don’t choose not to. The idea of, “I can choose my thoughts and I am choosing to take the one that is hammering me the hardest and let that one stick around,” instead of saying, “You know what, inner critic? I appreciate you showing up today or I realize you have a message for me, but what would my biggest fan say? Let’s let her talk for a little bit”.
Then, channel your biggest fan. Have her kind of speak up and say what she would say. The only way we’re going to start getting the biggest fan voice to be louder is if we start really paying attention to it and allowing it to show up at other times. Whether at times when we’re not getting hammered by our inner critic and are kind of neutral times. And then the times when we are getting hammered by our inner critic. So to really start paying attention to those times when we’re getting hammered by our inner critic, “What would my biggest fan say here?” To kind of add some space in there for the other voice to show up. We’ve got to allow some room in our heads for the biggest fan to come there.
Another thing that I just wanted to say that’s an aside and something that I did for a really long time when it comes to inner critic stuff, is I convinced myself that if I was good or if I did it right, then my inner critic wouldn’t show up. Back to the client of mine who wants to get up really early, in the part of our discussion about her wanting to get up in the morning was the idea that did she want to get up at 7:15 because if she got up at 7:15 then she was doing the right thing. She was being a good person and then her inner critic couldn’t hammer her all day long, because she got up at 7:15, she did the right thing.
You’ll notice, if your motivation is that I want to do it right or I’m trying to be good or whatever those mantras are for you, the perfectionism piece, a lot of times we’re doing that in an effort to stave off the inner critic. It’s like, “If I do it right, then my inner critic won’t have an argument here. It won’t be able to step in.” The problem is, your inner critic will always have an argument. If you get up at 7:15 and you’re being a good person, you’re a bad person because you didn’t get up at 7:00. Or if you get at 7:15 and you’re being a good person, your inner critic will tell you you’re being a bad person because you didn’t get up at 7:15 and workout. We’re never going to live up to what the inner critic is telling us to do. That’s why if our mentality is, “I’m going to be a good person” to keep the inner critic away, it is a losing battle.
The only way you’re going to get rid of the inner critic is by really channeling that biggest fan. That’s just an aside that came up recently, and I wanted to touch on it. I think a lot of us live your lives trying to keep the inner critic at bay. It’s never going to be at bay until we directly confront it. Our inner critic will always find a way to tell use that we’re doing it wrong. It’s kind of its job.
Weekly Ritual Segment:
One thing that has really helped me Live Happier is adding regular ritual practices to my daily life so each week I am going to be sharing a ritual with you and challenge you to complete it
Select Your Way of Channeling a Biggest Fan and Practice.
Okay, this week’s ritual, is going to be to pick one of the things that I just suggested as far as dealing with the biggest fan and use one of those. Decide if you’re going to channel your biggest fan when you’re inner critic isn’t talking, or decide if you’re going to start channeling your biggest fan when your inner critic is talking. Try some of the strategies I talked about today and use those throughout the week.
That’s the show. Thanks for listening. The Stories from a Quest to Live Happier podcast comes out every week. Questions? Please e-mail me at Nancy Jane@live-happier.com. I absolutely love hearing from you. Until next time, here’s to living happier.
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