inner critic Archives - Dr. Mary Pritchard

Dealing with Your Inner People Pleaser

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Last Fall, I found myself facing one of my most difficult semesters. Yes, I had a few challenging students at the time, but they weren't the culprit: I was. You see, I had said “yes” to too many things and was finding myself feeling bitter, resentful, overworked, depleted, and, quite frankly, exhausted. 

This year, I promised myself I wouldn't over-commit again. And yet, I did. Not as bad as last Fall, but I certainly am feeling a little depleted right now.

As we approach the seasonal shift (Summer to Fall in the Northern hemisphere and Winter to Spring in the Southern), I feel that now is the perfect time to re-evaluate what we've got on our plates. But that means, you're probably going to run up against your inner people pleaser/ inner critic. In today's podcast episode, I talk about how I deal with my inner people pleaser and how I learned to say “no.” I hope it serves you. 


Download this episode (right click and save)

If you want more, I invite you to join me for The Well-Nourished Goddess telesummit – 21 experts getting real about how they deal with their own inner critics and make time for themselves when they have so much on their plates. 

How to Handle Your Inner Mean Girl

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

Several years ago a good friend confronted me about my dirty little secret: I had an eating disorder, one I had been in denial about for over 2 decades. After a week of arguing with him, I finally admitted that I had a problem. It was time to face the facts: not only did I not love the woman in the mirror, I flat out loathed her. I felt betrayed by my body after decades of battling endometriosis and osteopenia (a side effect of one of the treatments for the endometriosis), and four failed rounds of fertility treatments. I had desperately wanted the “American dream” – 2 kids, a dog, a beautiful home with a white picket fence – but my infertility had put a severe damper on my plans. So I had been subconsciously punishing my body for her perceived betrayal by exercising too much and eating too little.

After finally admitting I had an eating disorder, I threw myself into healing with a fervent passion. I was determined to “beat” my eating disorder. And I did. But it wasn't easy and it didn't happen overnight. Why? I kept self-sabotaging. At some level, my inner mean girl (aka inner critic) didn't want me to get better. It served her to believe that I would never be good enough. After all, if you set your expectations really low, and you fail, you haven't lost much…

Yet, I was torn because I wanted to heal so I could help other women heal their relationships with food, their bodies, and themselves. I wanted to be a beacon of hope, not a beacon of failure. That meant I had to confront my inner mean girl and get to the bottom of why she: 1) didn't want to heal, and 2) believed I wasn't good enough to be worthy of my dreams. But I had no idea where to start.

One day as I was journaling, I had an epiphany: what if, instead of buying into her nonsense, I confronted her? What if I actually dialogued with her and tried to get to the bottom of her meanness? So I did. What I found surprised me:

In fact, the exact opposite was true: she wanted me to succeed. But she was so afraid of failure, she built walls “of protection” around herself – so many walls that success was highly unlikely. Furthermore, she didn't mean to self-sabotage; she just didn't want to get hurt … again. As the layers of memories and pain were revealed, she began to soften, to hope, to let go. I had to go through this process several times to really get it to stick, but the good news is that I rarely am confronted by my inner mean girl these days. Yes, I still get scared, but I allow myself to ask for help when I need it and have opened myself up enough to receive it that I rarely let fear of failure (or success or having what I want) stop me these days. 

In today's podcast, I walk you through this process. I hope it serves you:

Download this episode (right click and save)

And if you are ready to dive a little deeper with your inner mean girl and would like some support, I just re-opened enrollment for my 7-week group coaching program, The Nourished Temple. You can learn more about it here.

The Power of Positive Self-Talk

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

positivityI was talking to a client the other day about how to stop the constant criticism running through her head. The voice that tells her she's not smart enough, fun enough,  thin enough, and that her eyes are too close together. I know that voice well as it used to run my life too. It took consistent vigilance, but I was finally able to put a stop to most of what my Inner Mean Girl was saying. 

One of the key ingredients in making peace with my Inner Mean Girl was dialoguing with her when she popped up to figure out where her criticism was coming from. Hint: your Inner Mean Girl isn't mean, she's afraid and usually her reality is based in something that happened to you a long time ago. 

Another piece of the equation was that I had to start replacing her negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Easier said than done, I know, but here's the thing: we all have things that we don’t like about ourselves, but our brains are super sensitive to our negativity. In fact, it takes 5 positive statements to overcome the effect of 1 negative one. That’s right.

Kind of makes your Inner Mean Girl seem like a giant, doesn't it?

To make matters worse, a recent study found that women in their late 30s to early 60s are especially vulnerable to negative self-talk thanks to the hormonal changes associated with perimenopause and menopause. Yikes!

So what can you do to change this negative self-talk? What advice did I give my client who is trying to put a stop to the steady stream of negativity in her head. I told her I wanted her to take the Sticky Note Challenge. “What’s the Sticky Note Challenge?” you ask. Have you ever heard of Operation Beautiful? The mission of Operation Beautiful is to post anonymous notes in public places for other people to find – notes that would brighten their day. Something like “You are Beautiful.”

I want you to use this idea for to create sticky note for yourself. Ideally you would make several sticky notes that contain that phrase and put them places where you will see them. Places like your wallet, purse, office cubicle, bathroom, etc. As a psychologist, I know that the more we see certain messages, the more we start to believe them. This is why my office is literally filled with positive messages, inspirational quotes, and pictures of things that remind me that I am a Goddess – see above for a photo of where the magic happens! 😉

I'd love it if you would join my client in the Sticky Note Challenge. Let us know how you are faring. And as always, if you have a comment or question, leave me a note below.

Healing Your Roots: Where Do Your Not Enoughness Issues Stem From?

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I was talking with Peggy Nolan on her podcast, Let Go Move Forward, about letting go of our inner critic. We've talked about all the different ways our inner critic can show up on the blog before, but Peggy had an interesting question:

 

The answer is both simple and complicated at the same time: We are wired that way.

Bear with me; I'm going to put my academic science geek hat on for a moment. We are actually wired to compare ourselves to other people. It's an important way that we learn things about our world. It's how we learn to walk and talk relatively quickly as a child. We watch others and mimic their behavior (our brains actually contain special neurons called mirror neurons that serve this purpose).

The problem is that as we get older, our need to mimic other people’s behaviors so that we can learn new skills dissipates. But our mirror neurons don’t necessarily know that. They want a job to do and it’s their job to compare us to and mimic other people. For many of us, this gets warped and twisted into the version of the Inner Critic I call Comparison Queen Carla: enter not enoughness issues. Suddenly instead of using our natural social comparison tendencies as a way to learn and grow, we start using these innate reactions as a way to judge, criticize, and belittle ourselves.

This actually starts fairly early in life, usually between ages 3 and 5, as that is when we begin to label and judge ourselves and other people. It’s also when our not enoughness issues typically begin. The older we get, the worse this tendency can become if you don’t take active measures to combat it.

It’s time to go back to your roots and heal these deep seated not enoughness issues. If this idea appeals to you, I invite you to join our Sacred Circle. We are spending the next two months healing our not enoughness issues by going back to our roots and healing our chakras one at a time. By doing so, you'll learn to ground and center, uncover your passions, walk in your power, love yourself more, speak your truth, reconnect with your intuition, and see yourself as the embodiment of the Divine Feminine that you are. All of this for less than the price of a cup of coffee a day. Join us!

 

My interview with Peggy Nolan:

What to Do When Your Comparison Queen is a Self-Comparison Queen

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 4 Comments

We’ve been talking about our Inner Mean Girls for weeks and today’s reader question stems from our discussion of how our Inner Mean Girl shows up. One of the most common ways my clients (this includes me) see the Inner Mean Girl show up is in reference to playing the comparison game. I call her Comparison Queen Carla.

Comparison Queen Carla takes keeping up with the Jones’ literally. She compares herself – her looks, her possessions, her personality – to everyone else and when she feels she’s lacking, she dives head first into the next diet plan, buys the new car, decides to read 50 Shades of Grey and see the movie because everyone else is, etc.

Five years ago, this description fit me to a T. I was a Comparison Queen Carla. I was compared myself to any woman who crossed my path – in real life and in the media. I was constantly measuring myself with my invisible yardstick up against other women. And I usually came up lacking.

Why? Because I didn’t love myself. I lacked confidence in myself – I felt I wasn’t good enough as I was so I constantly strove to be better than everyone else. It wasn’t until I gained that self-love and self-confidence that I was able to get a handle on my Comparison Queen.

Or was I…?

Heather posed an interesting question: What if the person you are always comparing yourself to is yourself?

As a former distance runner (that's me running up a sand dune), I get this too. As an athlete, I was always trying to go further, faster, better. That was helpful, up to a point. Yes, I ran farther, faster. However, I also injured myself more often and ended up having to end my distance running after my second heel fracture. My inner motivator was really my inner critic in disguise…

So how do you tell? In today’s video, I walk you through the ins and outs of using the inner voice as a tool to motivate you to new heights v. a tool to self-deprecate, punish yourself, and make you feel bad about yourself.

It basically boils down to this: how does it make you feel? If you feel excited and expansive, then go for it. But if you feel icky, bad about yourself, restricted or contracted, then your Inner Mean Girl is running the show again…

Want to learn more about how to differentiate between the Inner Mean Girl and the Inner Motivator? I invite you to join me for my free call series. You can sign up here: http://DrMaryPritchard.com/body

How Does Your Inner Mean Girl Show Up?

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

I was talking with a client with other day about how she was doing with her Inner Mean Girl. She observed that her Inner Mean Girl really hasn’t been showing up lately. Before I could even congratulate her on her progress, she explained that she has been experiencing more self-doubt though. That, I told her, is just her Inner Mean Girl in another form.

Although I call her the Inner Critic or Inner Mean Girl, she doesn’t necessarily have to be mean. In fact, meanness is usually not her motive, regardless of how she shows up. It’s fear. So if she’s been making you doubt yourself, not trust in your decisions, or is keeping you up at night with anxiety or depression, that’s still your Inner Mean Girl.

See if any of these sound familiar:

  • Comparison Queen Carla – she takes keeping up with the Jones’ literally. She compares herself – her looks, her possessions, her personality, her finances, her success – to everyone else and when she feels she’s lacking she dives head first into self-improvement.
  • Nit Picking Nancy – is the Queen of nit-picking – physical (popping zits, plucking her eye brows) or emotionally (constantly picking apart at herself and everyone else).
  • Control Freak Cathy – As a Control Freak Cathy, you’ve got overachiever tattooed on your forehead. You’re driven, committed, and a hard worker, as evidenced by your meteoric rise in your industry. But you’re finding yourself a little frustrated because people seem to be taking advantage of your good nature. You never seem to have time to get everything done on your to-do list because things keep cropping up at work or at home to get in the way of your ideal life and success.
  • As a Perfectionist Polly, you’ve got it all. You exude confidence, always look put together, and everything seems to come easily and effortlessly to you. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. While you may ‘have it all’ on the outside, on the inside, you’re wilting.
  • You know a Negative Nelly when you hear her speak. Every word out of her mouth is a criticism – of herself or others. I look fat in these. I’m so stupid. Can you believe she’s wearing that? People are idiots! You’re going to regret that!
  • Gossip Girl Gigi is looking to feel better about herself by spreading rumors – true or false. Did you hear what happened to Sue? I can’t believe Ed is sleeping with that tramp Valerie and his wife doesn’t even know!
  • Blaming Betty blames herself for everything – whether she had anything to do with it or not. Betty is the ultimate inner mean girl in some ways because all of the blaming is directed inward. If you are constantly saying things to yourself like, “Why did you do that?” or “I can’t believe I did that?” or “What were you thinking?” you might be a Blaming Betty.
  • Do-Gooder Daisy – The key word here is “DO.” Daisy doesn’t know the meaning of the word rest. She’s out to prove herself by doing everything she can. So if you’re a Do-gooder Daisy, she probably won’t let you rest or sit still. Why are you wasting time? Think of all the things you could be do-ing!
  • Self-Doubting Susan – Susan riddled with self-doubt, which makes her very indecisive. When she does do something, the doubts immediately come in. She may ruminate for days over what might seem like a small decision to someone else.
  • Over-reacting Ophelia – Poor Ophelia takes everything personally. Every time someone says something that might be constructed as a criticism, she takes to heart. Every time things don’t go her way, she feels like she failed. She doesn’t realize that her boss is just having a bad day and that Ophelia did nothing to upset her boss.

So what do you do if one (or more) of these rings true for you? This week’s podcast is all about facing the Inner Mean Girl when she’s criticizing you, but the same steps apply no matter what kind of Inner Mean Girl is showing up for you right now.

If you need more support, we’ve been working on dealing with our Inner Mean Girls in the Sacred Circle. Come join us!

7 Steps to Reconnect with Your Intuition

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

inner voice of wisdom

You know the one. The one that calls us on our issues, whispers our true desires in our ears, and criticizes everything we do. Wait what?

That's the exact conversation I had with a client the other day. She thought that voice that constantly belittles and criticizes her was her intuition. Let me tell you: it's not. I know because I used to think this way too.

Up until a few years ago, I had lost touch with my inner voice of wisdom. My inner critic, on the other hand, was alive and well… She came out to “play” all the time. Every decision I made was the wrong one; if something – anything – went wrong it was my fault; every thought I had was self-critical. Then one day I had an experience that changed my life. In a guided meditation, I was able to connect with my real inner voice of wisdom – not the critical one, but that one that knows me and what's best for me. And I never turned back.

So how did I do this? I'd love to tell you it was easy; it wasn't – not always – because my inner critic had a firm hold on me by this point in my life. I'd love to tell you that my inner critic never rears her ugly head – she still does sometimes. Not often, but occasionally. What I want to share with you today is my journey – the steps I took to activate my inner goddess and reconnect with my intuition.

  • Step 1: Be v. Do – the first thing I had to do when learning to reconnect with my intuition was to slow down long enough to hear her words; she whispered so softly at first that I could barely hear her. I had to be actively listening and quiet my mind for her to be able to get through.
  • Step 2: Put on Your Oxygen Mask – you know how when you travel on an airplane, the flight attendants give the safety spiel before you take off? Part of that talk says something like, “in the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down from the ceiling. Please secure your own mask before helping those around you.” That's what you must do to reconnect with your intuition – you have to put on your oxygen mask and take care of you. Why? 1) No one else will, and 2) if you don't have any oxygen (i.e., food, self-care, sleep, time for you), you won't be able to be of service to others.
  • Step 3: Walk in Your Power – you have to actually practice this. You can talk about wishing you could activate your inner goddess and reconnect with your intuition until you're blue in the face, but if you don't actually take the steps, nothing will change. Yes: you have to do more than just talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk.
  • Step 4: Learn to Let Go – When you first start to reconnect it may seem like life is happening in such a way that you can no longer control it. Want to know a little secret? You never could. We can't control other people; we can't control what happens for us; all we can control is how we react. I learned a valuable lesson a few years ago: sometimes you have to let go. Let what is going to happen happen and trust that everything will work out just as it should. Because it will.
  • Step 5: Learn to Trust Yourself Again – When your inner critic has been running the show for decades, it's easy to not trust that little voice of wisdom when it first crops up. After all, your inner critic is probably right there with you criticizing your intuition. So you have to begin to trust that little voice. How? This goes back to the conversation I had with my client the other day. How do you know if it's your intuition rather than your inner critic? 1) if it's mean or makes you feel icky, it's your inner critic; 2) if it makes you feel contracted, and like you want to curl up in a ball, it's your inner critic. Your intuition should feel good – free, expansive.
  • Step 6: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone – this is the scary part. Comfort zones are familiar; even if you're not happy, you know what to expect. But to truly activate your inner goddess and reconnect with your intuition, you must start to do things differently. I mean if what you'd been doing all this time was working for you, you wouldn't be ready this blog post, would you? So what I want you to do is dream a little. What do you want your life to look like? What's one step you can take today to make that happen?
  • Step 7:  Find Your Voice – as you start to dream, you may realize that to achieve your goals, you may need to (gasp!) change some things in your life. This may include getting out of some of your current obligations and learning to say no. I know, I know; easier said than done. But this is one of those things where practice really does make perfect. Write out how you want this conversation to go; rehearse it in your head. Then go have said conversation. It may not go perfectly, but I can guarantee it will go better than it would have if you hadn't tried.

 

If you'd like more information on these steps, I hope you’ll check out my ecourse: Reconnecting with Your Intuition. to learn more about activating your inner goddess and reconnecting with that inner voice of wisdom – the real one, not your inner critic.