In the many years I've worked with people who are going through a traumatic relationship breakup, I've discovered that everyone has an inner-critic. Sometimes the critic can be helpful, but all to often it's a destructive force that needs putting in its place.
If you let your inner-critic have its way, it will eat you alive. The critic can be relentless in blaming you for your breakup. You can recognize an out-of-control-critic if you hear messages like these running through your head:
- If only you had…..
- It's all your fault!
- You’re so _____ or too ______!
The out of control critic will beat you down by telling you that you're not enough — not good enough, too much, or too little. Letting the critic go on and on will eventually lead to depression. It's common to examine what went wrong when you're faced with a breakup, but if you're wallowing in self-pity and helplessness, you're doing yourself no good.
It's okay to take the time to be sad. You should take time to evaluate, assess, and examine, but if you find yourself engaging in this behavior from a disempowered place, you're likely to only create more suffering for yourself. Without limits and boundaries, the voice of your critic will only get stronger until you feel like you are worthless and there is no hope for your future. You can stop the downward spiral before it takes you down by taking out your sword!
I discovered this very effective exercise when I was in the depths of despair myself. It's the only thing that worked to get me out of the depression I found myself in, and it's helped countless clients as well. It works, but only if you are willing to set this very strong boundary with your critic. Here's what I recommend:
- Draw a large circle on a piece of paper.
- On the inside of the circle, write all the things you will allow into your presence. Include things like kindness, love, and care. On the outside of the circle write all the things that you will not allow into your world. Include things like judgment, meanness, blame.
- Now draw an imaginary circle around yourself and say this outloud to your inner-critic: These are the things I will allow in my inner circle (list them). If you are (insert the qualities you expect from your critic), then you are welcome here. If you are (insert the qualities that you no longer allowing into your world), then you are not welcome.
- Show your inner-critic your sword and let it know you will cut its head off if it doesn't respect your boundaries.
- The moment your critic crosses your boundary, chop its head off!
Some people have a very difficult time being ruthless with their inner-critic, because they don't want to be mean. But, if your critic has abused you, then the only way you're going to get it to stop is to make it stop! Don’t worry about hurting your inner-critic because it's not concerned about your well-being. Mine grew a head back every 15 seconds for three months, but today it keeps a healthy distance from me and is very kind. Its head is now the size of a golf ball and it speaks in a high squeaky voice that is difficult to take serious. And my critic is just fine. It has the power to deliver messages in an empowered and respectful manner, and if it doesn't then it knows the consequences.
Divorce Recovery is expedited through clear boundaries and expert support. One of the most powerful things you can do to expedite your divorce recovery is to set clear boundaries with what goes on inside your mind. Instead of an uncaring inner-critic, you will need a strong inner-compassion guru. A part of you that will be kind and gentle with you and help you through this difficult time.
Schedule some time with me today to explore what kind of divorce recovery support you need to move you powerfully into your new life in empowered and emotionally healthy ways. A study of Spiritual Divorce is starting soon and has helped many people infuse their life with hope and possibility in the absence of a critical voice.
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