Sometimes I feel like I am going mad!
There are so many people living in my head telling me how to live my life that I feel like I will go 'unquietly' insane, and for the grammar police out there, I realise that 'unquietly' is not a word ok?
Their voices are often loud and demanding my attention and they even gang up on me sometimes. Their point of view, has for the most part, run my life and discouraged me from any kind of self-love.
For over 4 decades I had no idea how to deal with these voices in my head until I read three books. Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck, Finding Your Own North Star also by Martha Beck and Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss.
I discovered that these people living in my head are a cast of larger than life characters whose purpose is to protect me from getting ideas above my station, imminent death in almost all situations, having any kind of confidence in myself, following my heart, and for many years going to my mailbox or washing line, or anywhere outside of the inside of my house.
The contents of these three books really touched my insides.
I could identify with my fears, phobias and self-deprecation being these OTT characters who had been running most of my life.
I have an overactive imagination, or so my mother told me, not sure she thought it was a good thing, but it has given me the gift of seeing these voices for who they really are. Most importantly, that they have no power over me at all.
It is also divinely synchronistic and in line with my passion and love for characters of all kinds and no coincidence that I spent many years in theatre playing, directing, writing and creating characters. So I set about getting in touch with my inner cast of fear filled, doubting Thomas's and naysayers.
I thought you might like to meet mine as I have no doubt that some of their relatives might be camped out in your head, sharing their fears, doubts and unqualified advice with you.
The Critical Critic
Being more of myself has been the MOST challenging thing I have ever done and I chose a life full of challenges this time around.
I have received brickbats and bouquets in equal amounts and the brick bats really hurt. I am told you have to grow a thicker skin. Mine is still thin and I bruise easily, but I am not going to grow a thicker one, because that will mean that I have to be someone I am not.
The world is full of critics. I learned about the critic archetype early on in my life. Then I joined the theatre fraternity as an actor, then as a Producer, Director, Choreographer & Writer. Being critiqued is an integral part of the journey. I have also been the critic and dished out my fair share of brickbats and bouquets. Those on the receiving end were either dashed to the ground or buoyed by my comments.
The external critics are pretty easy to spot. The Inner Critic - I call her the Critical Critic - is the one who has the most to say and does the most damage. I have a pretty active one of those myself.
She is part of a troupe of archetypal characters who play out in my psyche daily, dishing out their brand of 'words of wisdom' to me through their authoritarian personalities, resulting in my feeling crushed and ready to give up, give in and run for the hills.
One of my earliest critics was my Mum. She believed she didn't receive much praise in her early life from her mother either and so she transmuted her experience on to us.
When I would tell her about how I felt or what I saw, about my dreams and fantasies, she would tell me with her tone of derision, that I had an overactive imagination, which meant that she didn't believe me and that I was being stupid.
Bless her for challenging me in that way. Her actions just made my imagination grow even bigger and brighter. It has guided me through some seriously daunting passages so far and still serves me today.
Through my overactive imagination, I began to see Critical Critic and her ensemble cast of naysayers, as characters who operated either as individuals or banded together as a team.
They took shape in my mind as larger than life characters strutting around in my psyche having their say whenever they felt like it, at their most satisfied when I gave them attention and completely justified when I gave them my power by believing what they said about me.
When I allowed this to happen on the inside, then I would manifest someone externally who would reiterate what they had been saying to me. Spooky aye. At first I would be floored, shocked and hurt and then I realised that these willing souls were just playing their part too, by delivering me the message from the outside so that I could feel it at a conscious level. What was really spooky was that it was always what one or more of my inner troupe was saying to me about myself.
What does my Critical Critic say to me? Firstly she doesn't talk to me in the first person, only in the third. She is talking about me not to me. That really pushes my buttons because it is as if she is gossiping to someone about me and running me down behind my back. I really dislike that.
This is the kind of thing she says, "She will never amount to anything. She has had so many opportunities in her life to do something with her life but she always blows it."
"She is a has been." "She has not credibility."
I can see her in my minds eye. She is average height. Average build. All around she is pretty average. Looks like your typical 50's housewife. Goes to all the right groups, clubs. Is in the clique of all the other average people in the world. She fits right in. She is not liked or disliked by anyone. Conforms to everything and everyone. Has little ambition and most certainly wouldn't step outside the norm.
If by now you Googling psychology 101 to see what kind of kook I really am, you can save your energy. I am not your average person on any level and am most certainly certifiable. But through my madness I know who and what she represents for me. Critical Critic is who I have felt I 'should' have been so that my life would be easier and supposedly happier.
But you know what; I would have really lost my mind being her and it wasn't in my soulology to be her. Doesn't mean she didn't try her hardest to live through me.
That brings me to the word 'should'. Ban it from your vocabulary. It is filled with obligation, regret, conformity and blame.
Where did she come from? She is a manifestation of the era I was raised in. My parents and grandparents mantra was 'what will people think.' They all judged each other on so many levels. Women knew their place and weren't encouraged to be anything more.
I believe women born in 50's 60's & early 70's are the bridge builders for the new generation of women who are now offered mostly unlimited opportunities to live their lives however they wish. When I was at high school, my option subjects were Home Economics - that is cooking and how to run a household - for those who don't know. Clothing which was sewing. Shorthand Typing. Typing on its own. Bookkeeping and French for those who were really bright.
We were being funnelled into office work, homemaking, teaching, nursing and shop assistants.
That was until we were either married and or pregnant, preferably married first. That didn't happen for me. Then we left the workforce and became the homemaker. Women didn't have ideas above their station as my mother would remind me with regular monotony, and yet she was far from the norm herself.
So how did I deal with Critical Critic? I talk with her now and tell her that its ok to truly be her.
If she is happy being her average self that is ok, but not to try and change me to make herself feel better. She told me that she wants to be more like me! Can you believe it!
The rest of the troupe are all sitting in the corner tut tutting calling her a traitor, but we will work on them too.
I will introduce you to another one of them next time. Until then, be kind to yourself and make friends with your 'inner critic.' Doesn't mean you have to agree with them or like what they say or do, just try to see them as someone you have created to teach you something very important about your inner self.
Until next time, this is Critical Critic and me signing off. We are going to do some out of her comfort zone. That'll get the tongues wagging.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT BELOW. I LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK.
Olwynne is a Soulologist and Life Coach, Teacher, Speaker and Writer who specialises in the soul's journey through the fields of reincarnation, past lives, life between lives, life after death, human consciousness, intuition, spirituality, health and well-being. She has studied and practised for 28 years in these fields.