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What if I Feel Like My Inner Critic Helps Me Succeed in the World? Is That Bad?

Mark reflects on the power of being motivated by inspiration and purpose rather than shame and criticism.

Hello, it's Mark Coleman here. And I've been asked to answer the question, what if I feel like my inner critic helps me succeed in the world, is that bad? So thank you for that question. I think it's a really important and common one because many of us feel, and many students I talk to feel, like if I didn't have a critic, if there wasn't something nagging me, bashing me, cajoling me, bullying me, I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. I wouldn't work so hard. I wouldn't get anything done.

My house would be a mess. The dishes would be piling up in the sink. I wouldn't be such a good parent. I wouldn't be taking care of the things I need to take care of. That without that voice, I'd be lazy, I'd be a slob.

I wouldn't get anything done. I wouldn't care about anything. So I often hear from students, oh the critic is what gets me motivated. And I think that can be true to some extent. And I can look back at my own life and see, Oh yeah, that voice at times had a place in cajoling me or guilting me or pressuring me to do something.

And I can think about something as simple as cleaning my house and how the critic would often have a lot of thoughts and ideas and judgements about how the house should be. How clean it should be, how tidy it should be. And this is a small example, but I think it's indicative of how the critic works. And so sometimes when I was living alone and I'd wake up and the kitchen was a mess, the dishes unwashed, or the house disorderly, my critic would have a lot of ideas about that and judgments and views. What if somebody comes over? What if people knew you were living like this? Sometimes I could hear my parents' voice, you know, as if I was still a teenager being told to pick up my clothes and whatever.

The problem with listening to the critic, as I've talked a little about in the course even though it can seem like it's motivating us, usually by judging or pushing or bullying, being a bit of a taskmaster or a tyrant as some people call it. When we listen to that voice, when we're motivated by that voice of judgment, it's usually pushing us in a way where we do those things, but we feel contracted. We feel pushed, we feel compelled, and there's often a tinge of fear in it. Fear of the critics, wrath, fear of disappointing the judge or whoever the judge represents. And the main thing is that each time we listen to the critic, each time we give it's words value and importance, we strengthen that mechanism.

And as I've discussed the critic, not just judges us, in my case for having a messy house or not doing the dishes, but it also has an implication. If you don't do those things, if you fail, if you don't follow my words, therefore you're a failure. You're hopeless, you're worthless, you don't have value. And so the more that we listen to and give the time of day to the critic, the more we put our fundamental value and worth on the line. And you might want to ask yourself as I did, do I want to have my judge, my critic evaluating whether I'm worthy as a human being? And yes, maybe I can be successful and do certain things, but the problem with that, if it's motivated by the critic, if you don't succeed, if you don't do those things, if you don't achieve what you intended to achieve, then the critic, you can be sure, we'll let you know about it with judgment, with shame, with criticism.

And so we need to find within ourselves much more healthier, kinder, more wholesome motivations. For example, when I remember that I actually really enjoy living in a tidy house, when I remember I really enjoy waking up in the morning, making my cup of tea and the kitchen's already clean, then that becomes a motivation for me to do the dishes at night. Not that I should, not that I'm a slob if I don't, but because I actually really enjoy waking up to a tidy kitchen. I really enjoy having some order in the house. It's more restful.

So that becomes a healthier motivation. In the same way during this period of the pandemic and I'd lost a lot of work. A lot of my schedule got canceled and I had quite a bit of free time and very little income coming in. And my critic, you know, could very easily have a lot to say about that. Why don't you work harder? Why don't you hustle? Why don't you try and generate more work and income? And I could listen to that voice because it has a point of view, but it's not where I want to be motivated from.

I want to be motivated from inspiration, from passion, from purpose, from meaning. And so I began to reflect about, well what do I have to offer during this pandemic? Well, I'm a meditation teacher and been teaching a long time. People need support. They need courses and teachings and classes. And so I began to generate work from a place of inspiration and service and helping rather than I should, because I don't have money and blah, blah, blah.

And so that became a much healthier, more wholesome form of motivation. One that doesn't have at the end result if I fail to achieve what I set out, doesn't have judgment and blame from the critic coming quickly on its heels. So you need to ask yourself what other sources of motive mo,tivation do I have other than judging myself other than beating myself up. Other than listening to a tyrant or bully. What inspires you? What deeper place of motivation can move you to make action, to engage in the world, to listen, to purpose and meaning, and what really is important to you and let that wholesome motivation inspire you to act.

So thank you for this question. It's really important that we learn to notice where our motivation's coming from, how we, how we encourage ourselves to succeed and excel, not through criticism and judging, but through inspiration, through a more healthy motivation. So I wish you well with reflecting on this theme, what allows you to succeed? What allows you to take positive action in the world? And again, remembering to be kind and gentle with yourself. Please enjoy your practice. Thank you.

Talk

4.7

What if I Feel Like My Inner Critic Helps Me Succeed in the World? Is That Bad?

Mark reflects on the power of being motivated by inspiration and purpose rather than shame and criticism.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hello, it's Mark Coleman here. And I've been asked to answer the question, what if I feel like my inner critic helps me succeed in the world, is that bad? So thank you for that question. I think it's a really important and common one because many of us feel, and many students I talk to feel, like if I didn't have a critic, if there wasn't something nagging me, bashing me, cajoling me, bullying me, I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. I wouldn't work so hard. I wouldn't get anything done.

My house would be a mess. The dishes would be piling up in the sink. I wouldn't be such a good parent. I wouldn't be taking care of the things I need to take care of. That without that voice, I'd be lazy, I'd be a slob.

I wouldn't get anything done. I wouldn't care about anything. So I often hear from students, oh the critic is what gets me motivated. And I think that can be true to some extent. And I can look back at my own life and see, Oh yeah, that voice at times had a place in cajoling me or guilting me or pressuring me to do something.

And I can think about something as simple as cleaning my house and how the critic would often have a lot of thoughts and ideas and judgements about how the house should be. How clean it should be, how tidy it should be. And this is a small example, but I think it's indicative of how the critic works. And so sometimes when I was living alone and I'd wake up and the kitchen was a mess, the dishes unwashed, or the house disorderly, my critic would have a lot of ideas about that and judgments and views. What if somebody comes over? What if people knew you were living like this? Sometimes I could hear my parents' voice, you know, as if I was still a teenager being told to pick up my clothes and whatever.

The problem with listening to the critic, as I've talked a little about in the course even though it can seem like it's motivating us, usually by judging or pushing or bullying, being a bit of a taskmaster or a tyrant as some people call it. When we listen to that voice, when we're motivated by that voice of judgment, it's usually pushing us in a way where we do those things, but we feel contracted. We feel pushed, we feel compelled, and there's often a tinge of fear in it. Fear of the critics, wrath, fear of disappointing the judge or whoever the judge represents. And the main thing is that each time we listen to the critic, each time we give it's words value and importance, we strengthen that mechanism.

And as I've discussed the critic, not just judges us, in my case for having a messy house or not doing the dishes, but it also has an implication. If you don't do those things, if you fail, if you don't follow my words, therefore you're a failure. You're hopeless, you're worthless, you don't have value. And so the more that we listen to and give the time of day to the critic, the more we put our fundamental value and worth on the line. And you might want to ask yourself as I did, do I want to have my judge, my critic evaluating whether I'm worthy as a human being? And yes, maybe I can be successful and do certain things, but the problem with that, if it's motivated by the critic, if you don't succeed, if you don't do those things, if you don't achieve what you intended to achieve, then the critic, you can be sure, we'll let you know about it with judgment, with shame, with criticism.

And so we need to find within ourselves much more healthier, kinder, more wholesome motivations. For example, when I remember that I actually really enjoy living in a tidy house, when I remember I really enjoy waking up in the morning, making my cup of tea and the kitchen's already clean, then that becomes a motivation for me to do the dishes at night. Not that I should, not that I'm a slob if I don't, but because I actually really enjoy waking up to a tidy kitchen. I really enjoy having some order in the house. It's more restful.

So that becomes a healthier motivation. In the same way during this period of the pandemic and I'd lost a lot of work. A lot of my schedule got canceled and I had quite a bit of free time and very little income coming in. And my critic, you know, could very easily have a lot to say about that. Why don't you work harder? Why don't you hustle? Why don't you try and generate more work and income? And I could listen to that voice because it has a point of view, but it's not where I want to be motivated from.

I want to be motivated from inspiration, from passion, from purpose, from meaning. And so I began to reflect about, well what do I have to offer during this pandemic? Well, I'm a meditation teacher and been teaching a long time. People need support. They need courses and teachings and classes. And so I began to generate work from a place of inspiration and service and helping rather than I should, because I don't have money and blah, blah, blah.

And so that became a much healthier, more wholesome form of motivation. One that doesn't have at the end result if I fail to achieve what I set out, doesn't have judgment and blame from the critic coming quickly on its heels. So you need to ask yourself what other sources of motive mo,tivation do I have other than judging myself other than beating myself up. Other than listening to a tyrant or bully. What inspires you? What deeper place of motivation can move you to make action, to engage in the world, to listen, to purpose and meaning, and what really is important to you and let that wholesome motivation inspire you to act.

So thank you for this question. It's really important that we learn to notice where our motivation's coming from, how we, how we encourage ourselves to succeed and excel, not through criticism and judging, but through inspiration, through a more healthy motivation. So I wish you well with reflecting on this theme, what allows you to succeed? What allows you to take positive action in the world? And again, remembering to be kind and gentle with yourself. Please enjoy your practice. Thank you.

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4.7

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