I have written quite a bit on this blog about dealing with mongers. Monger’s is my name for the inner critic. You know, the negative voice in your head that just tells you how awful you are and how much you basically suck. When we develop a conscious practice of healing our inner critics we can radically change our lives.
The challenge of mongers is that we get comfortable with them. We get so comfortable we don’t even know that they are talking, we don’t even know that slowly over time they are chipping away at our self-esteem. We just assume that voice is our own and we swallow it hook line and sinker. Therefore the challenge to dealing with mongers is to separate their voice from your wise voice. What is the wise voice, you ask? I believe we all have a wise voice, a soft gentle whisper of a thing that is patiently and quietly telling us how amazing we are, how gifted talented and awesome we are. Unfortunately, the louder, more persistent monger voices tone this voice out. But when you get quiet, and listen you can her that calm loving voice saying “you got this, you are beautiful keep going”.
I wanted to share a personal story from my recent past about how my mongers (one in particular) came out to play and how I was able to deal with her. As you know, recently I had surgery. My body image has never been stellar but being inactive, feeling not 100% and generally in recovery mode my body image has taken a beating. I noticed that I had stopped getting dressed up and if I wasn’t going anywhere had a tough time getting out of ‘my uniform’ of yoga pants and a t-shirt. Absolutely nothing wrong with yoga pants but when they become a symbol of how much you hate your body it is an issue.
Once I realized that I was entering this downward spiral of body image hell I started paying attention to what I was saying to myself and man was I nasty!! I then started paying attention to what that voice sounded like, looked like and over time I completely personified her. I called her Joan. Joan wears a tracksuit, she is very fit and skinny and she is driven to stay fit and skinny. Joan doesn’t tolerate being overweight; no matter the excuse Joan thinks it is weak and pathetic and isn’t afraid to use some pretty nasty tactics to get that message across. Over the next few days I started noticing how often Joan was there. Let me tell you, Joan was there A LOT in the bathroom after my shower, as I was getting ready for bed, anytime I changed my clothes or looked for something to wear. Joan was just chatting away about how awful I looked and how lazy I was (I told you, Joan is pretty nasty)
Over time I noticed when Joan would show up and I would quietly tell her to step aside. I would put my hands over my heart and ask to hear from my wise voice. I would patiently listen for my wise voice to say, “you are beautiful, just as you are”. Sometimes I had to stand their for 5 minutes, sometimes for 30 seconds but inevitably the more I asked Joan to step aside the more Wise Nancy stepped forward. After practicing this for the past few weeks, Joan’s voice has become smaller and smaller. And I have gotten better at recognizing her. So now when she pipes up I know what to do. I am proud to say I have purchased new clothes and have a renewed energy around getting ready each day. My yoga pants have been retired for only special occasions.
I wanted to share this personal story here because so often you read these techniques or hear about them and they sound hokey or too difficult or just plain ridiculous. And I admit as much as I KNOW this technique works it does sound hokey. But I PROMISE, and even GUARANTEE it will change your life. Putting a face on your mongers and giving them an identity outside of yourself will radically minimize your inner critics.
I would love to hear from you: Have you tried this technique? Does it sound hokey to you? What do your mongers look like?
If you are interested here are a few posts I wrote on dealing with your mongers.
I love this! I’m so going to do it! I have been listening for “my Inner Nancy” so I’m not too cool to name my inner voices. (Yes, right now my wiser self is named after you rather than me, but I’ll get there!) I love the idea of figuring out “who’s talking?” when the nasty self-talk begins. I read (somewhere? Brene Brown?) that the self-shaming voice is never your “authentic self”–it’s always someone else. Something you picked up somewhere.
I love how, in the Joan example, you actually came up with a whole persona, because it seems to me like Joan is probably not someone whom you would befriend in real life. I think it’s a great way to separate out those thoughts that aren’t from our authentic self.
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