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You get an alert on your phone, and you realize you have overdrawn your checking account due to a recent Target shopping trip. The minute you see the alert, you heart sinks. You know you have money to cover it, you know it will be ok, and yet your Inner Critic starts chiming in:
“You are just an idiot with money I am mean how could you have thought buying THAT was a good idea!! That was just STUPID. You will NEVER get ahead when it comes to finances. Your husband should just leave you now and then where would you be.” —Love Always, Your Inner Critic
This dialogue is a small example of an Inner Critic attack. A vicious, just want to crawl in a hole because you are the worst person in the world attack. These attacks can be debilitating! I mean, how are you going to come back from those words? According to your Inner Critic, you are a stupid loser who is never going to get a grip on finances and will end up a penniless divorced loser all because you spent too much at Target.
When we are in the midst of these attacks we want to do one of two things.
- Crawl in a hole and hide forever.
- Lash out at our Inner Critic a.k.a rationalize with it so it can see our side.
Sadly neither of these will work. Your Inner Critic is irrational; you will always lose a rational argument. OBVIOUSLY, you aren’t going to end up a penniless, divorced loser because you overspent at Target but if there is one thing Inner Critics love it is absolutes.
You ALWAYS overspend.
You are a TERRIBLE wife.
You will NEVER manage your money right.
You will NEVER get a raise.
So the key is recognizing this absolute thinking. Recognize that you are being attacked by your Monger. (Ideally, you will do this before you crawl into bed with your covers pulled over your head. But honestly, it doesn’t matter when as long as you do it)
Notice the absolutes and ask yourself: “Where can I add a little wiggle room?”
Wiggle room is that place where you Inner Critic gets softened. Practicing wiggle room means you give yourself some grace, some softness around the messages of the Inner Critic.
When you add wiggle room step away from the absolutes:
FROM: You ALWAYS overspend
TO: I did overspend this one time, and I can cover it so it will be ok.
FROM: You are a terrible wife.
TO: Actually I am a kind, loving wife who made a mistake.
FROM: You will NEVER manage your money right
TO: I have come a long way when it comes to overspending, this was a big problem, but it isn’t anymore. I made a mistake that is easily rectified.
When I catch my Inner Critic speaking to me in absolutes, I will literally wiggle my body around to remind myself that there is room for grace and compassion here. Absolutes are the #1 sign that our Inner Critic is running the show and that we need to step in and make some wiggle room.
Our inner critics leave us anxious, angry and unmotivated. Do you want some help quieting the inner critic? Let’s see if we would be a good fit, sign up for a free 30-minute phone session