This is a good article but, for me, it doesn’t stress one point that I find invaluable both for myself and for working with people … be yourself!

Most people have an inner critic and usually it’s somewhat out of control if not actually manic! And its ideals are to be liked/loved by others, and so not be criticised by others. In this way it’s needy and so bullying because it’s constantly afraid others won’t like it … and so it makes itself quite unlikable. It also makes itself extremely controllable and this latter is very good for all institutions from family up to government …

  • I can’t do that Mummy will be hurt
  • I can’t tell him that, he’ll get angry
  • I can’t say No to her or she’ll never invite me again

I’m sure you can add to that list for yourself, it’s endless and one just about everyone is encouraged to buy into from the time they pop out of the womb. In other circumstances all that would be called blackmail …

Inner critics are only useful when they actually help you to know yourself – not know what other people expect and want of you. Any other variety needs to be dealt with.

If you have an inner critic you need to know it, and know what it criticises, then befriend it. Befriend your “difficulties” and “problems” is far more effective than trying to kill them throw them out, get rid of them and for one very practical reason. Most of the “problems” in our lives are there because we’ve not made choices that really suit us, fit with us, make us feel good. The process I use involves the person I’m working with talking to their inner critic and finding out about it, what it thinks it’s there for, what it has to show and tell them. This dialogue really helps the person to know themselves. They come out of it – and it may take several sessions – feeling strong and good about themselves, knowing their own idiosyncrasies and being content with them, able to say with a smile, “OK, that’s me J”.

And that’s what we all need … to be content with ourselves and not need to give a shit about what other people say, not whoever they are! Being yourself and loving being yourself … whether introvert or extrovert, or something in between … people will enjoy your company.

This whole process of becoming yourself can be long and hard, difficult and full of tears, but it’s soooooo worth it. You are content, happy, full of joy for most of every day. You hear birdsong, you smell the scent of the earth and the taste of water, you feel the touch of the wind on your skin, and you see so much beauty all around you. Your inner critic doesn’t get in the way of these joys by telling you you ought to be doing something else, thinking in a different way, asking you what so-n-so would say if s/he could see you now.

And another thing … if you’re not controllable, if people can’t make you jump anytime they feel like it, then they see you as far more interesting. More and more people want to know you. You still may not want to know them! That’s fine, it’s always your choice … but now it really is your choice. You can choose without the crap that your inner critic used to give you getting in the way.

The ability to choose is really what every person wants but we deny it to ourselves because of what others say and think, because of how others may perceive us.

Introverts may well be closer to being themselves but they may also get a load of shit from others for it … so why are those others still in their lives? And why haven’t they turned on those others and backhanded all the shit right back to them? Because to do so is “not nice” in so many modern cultures. The “not nice” thing is an absolutely brilliant weapon for control. I saw it used on an 11-year old child recently … she had asked her stepfather for help with her maths homework, the stepfather had insisted on a particular answer but the child had felt it was wrong so had gone and googled what it should be and she’d found she was right. The stepfather got into a hissy-fit tantrum and told her off for correcting him, said she was “rude”; her mother told her to apologise to the stepfather for being rude. Arrrrggghhh !!! And the poor child did. So what has all that done to the child? How does she now see truth, adults, telling lies, making apologies and all the rest of it ??? Stupid bitch of a mother! She did actually ask her real father why she had to apologise when she hadn’t done anything wrong.

No, this not the way to go. And it happened because the stepfather and the mother feel they need to control the child and yet feel out of control of her! Probably an adjunct of the concept of “my child”, owning children! Neither parent is themselves, both are controlled by their desires to be normal etc, etc, etc. So there’s lots and lots of reasons why we need to be truly ourselves and not some cardboard cutout of a person that conforms to everything around them in fear of rejection.

Introverts at least have the ability to know that they are content and happy when alone even if that knowledge is made raw by other people telling them they shouldn’t be like that. Somehow we have to get people to know themselves and be content with themselves so they don’t try to bully others into being like them. Blackmail is the major force that makes everything happen in our human world – look at your own life, your own relationships with family members as well, to see it in action. Sometimes it gets a cutesy title like “pester-power” from children! Ye gods! It’s cute to allow your child to bully you into doing something, or blackmail you? That’s something else that has to go, and does go once you’re able to be truly yourself.

Try it. Think about it. Find someone to work with on it. But please, please, be yourself.