Posted on October 25, 2016
The Art of Reframing
We all have self-limiting beliefs. Perhaps you can recognize a few of these: “I am not good enough.” “I don’t fit in.” “I’m too fat.” “I can’t get my act together.” These beliefs hold us back and prevent us from fully engaging with life. We unconsciously feed on and buy into these negative thought forms. As we do, we engage more with our suffering than with our brilliance. By colluding with our self-limiting beliefs, we give away our power. We feel drained, are unable to meet expectations, and lose motivation. We don’t take responsibility for our potential and full capabilities.
We feed our self-limiting beliefs by listening to the persistent voice of an inner critic in our heads. That voice can sound like our mother, father, teacher, coach, older sibling, and/or our cultural mandates. We feed it ourselves by repeating the “story” that supports our suffering rather than the truth that reflects our strengths.
We feed the Inner Critic in a variety of ways. We can over-identify with our idealized self. But we can never be the incredible person that our idealized self wants us to be. That sets us up for failure. We feed the Inner Critic by living in duality: either or, either I am good or bad; I am either a bestselling artist or I can’t paint at all. We can find the middle ground and also the truth of both ends. We feed the Inner Critic by comparing our challenges to someone else’s strengths, and naturally we bring ourselves down. When we believe our own excuses, “I am late because of ‘unexpected’ traffic,” we are colluding with our Inner Critic that says we can’t get our act together.
The Inner Critic serves us by pointing us to our unmet needs. We may have a need for better time management. We may need more support, or a need to be heard. The Inner Critic reveals our shame, fears, and perceived inadequacies. It also serves to show us where we are unsuccessfully striving for our idealized self at the expense of abandoning our authentic self.
Dismantle the Inner Critic
We can liberate ourselves from the self-imposed limitations of our dysfunctional beliefs and stand more fully in our radiance and brilliance by dismantling our Inner Critic. We release the suffering to find the gems of our unique self underneath. The voice of the Inner Critic isn’t permanently silenced, but when the voice shows up again, it doesn’t have power over us. When we hear that voice, we don’t need to identify with it, nor do we have to go into a helpless reaction. Instead, we can respond with wisdom and compassion for ourselves. We come to an understanding that the Inner Critic wants better for us, and we show the Inner Critic that we can choose love and self-acceptance. Remember: the kernel of wisdom under the Inner Critic is its ability to point us to an unmet need.
By dismantling the Inner Critic, we take the charge and power away from it. We reconnect back to our authentic self. We recognize our challenges and shortcomings with compassion and love, and then we can reconnect to our gift sets that we overlooked, dismissed, or put into hiding.
When we take conscious steps to dismantle the Inner Critic, we reduce anxiety, depression, and fatigue. We are able to access more energy, confidence, and vitality. We uncover our hidden gems and allow ourselves to step fully into our brilliance and radiance. We increase our ability to create, manifest, and collaborate.
Joy Caffrey has been an energy medicine practitioner for over 20 years. She is a certified E-RYT 200 yoga teacher. Joy has her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and is an accomplished visual artist. She currently lives with her husband, Tim, in the very green Ozark town of Fayetteville, Arkansas.