by Kesh Brown
A friend invites you out to lunch. She’s buying.
You find a cute little cafe downtown, settle in, and begin to peruse the menu.
“Oooh, they’ve got homemade Mac & Cheese!,” you say.
“Don’t even think about it,” she replies. “Have you noticed your ass in the mirror lately?”
You’re put off, but you and your friend go back a long way, and you trust her, so you just sigh a little.
“Yeah, I guess there is that… okay, no Mac & Cheese.”
You keep reading. A waiter zips by with a tray for the table next to you. “
Those garlic mashed potatoes look pretty awesome, don’t they?”
Your friend agrees, but quickly points out that you have to go back to the office after lunch, and there’s a slim chance that cute young salesman who caught your eye the other day might be stopping by.
“What if he wants to chat? He’ll be completely turned off if you’re sitting there with breath that could stop a freight train.”
Again, you’re a bit put off, but, maybe she’s just acting in your best interest. Another sigh.
“Right,” you nod, “good catch.”
You end up ordering a salad, with a light vinaigrette dressing, on the side, of course.
As the waiter scurries off with your order, your friend gives you a sly little grin.
“He’s a cutie,” she says. “Did you see the way he looked at you? Too bad you’re not wearing your new blouse. You really should get rid of that ratty old sweater you insist on wearing all time.”
Okay, that one pissed you off. You love that sweater. You wear it all the time because it’s just so damn comfortable.
“Hey, what’s wrong with this sweater?, you scowl. I love this thing!”
“I know, I know, she says. It’s just so unattractive! Look… you’re not getting any younger, you know. If you ever hope to find a mate, you’re gonna have to give yourself a little more help. Shine it up a bit, girl!”
What the??? You start to seethe.
Your mind races to formulate the words you’re about to unleash. Words that will surely crawl up her ass and put your so-called friend in her place.
But somehow, in the midst of it all, you find yourself wondering if she isn’t right. And before you can even respond, she strikes again!
She leans in close.
“Look, she whispers, you need to face the facts, sister. Guys aren’t exactly banging down your door. I can’t even remember the last time you got laid. Don’t be so shy all the time. Lighten up, okay. This whole quiet-little-frumpy-girl thing you’ve got going on is pretty boring. You’ve really got to find a way to be more interesting!”
Are you ready to tell her off yet? Or walk out on lunch and not talk to her for a few months, perhaps?
Well, hang on a sec.
You’re not actually at lunch with your so-called friend.
Instead, you’re dining alone.
But this little talk… it’s still happening.
It’s the internal dialogue streaming through your head, telling you in no uncertain terms how you’re just not good enough.
Maybe you’ve never had a conversation with yourself quite like the one in my example, but you know what I’m pointing at, don’t you?
In fact, I’m betting you’ve had far more (and perhaps far worse) encounters with this witch than you care to remember.
After all, she’s always there with you… sometimes screaming like a prehistoric banshee inside your head, other times whispering in your ear in hushed, honeyed tones.
The Inner Critic
We’ve all got an Inner Critic. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
And sometimes it actually can be a friend. Sometimes…
For instance: When my Inner Critic tells me, in no uncertain terms, that I’m simply way too old, way too slow, and way, way too small to play inside linebacker in the NFL, it really is just trying to protect me. Can’t argue that. Thanks, friend.
But the problem with this “friend”, is that more often than not, he’s telling me things that, should I choose to listen, are doing nothing more than keeping me playing it small in life.
“Don’t even think about applying for medical school. You’re not smart enough!”
“Don’t you dare approach that woman and ask her on a date. You’re not that handsome.”
“You could never write a novel. You’re not that clever… or focused!”
These are examples of when you need to call bullshit on your Inner Critic.
These are times when you are far better off telling this witch to go sit in the corner and suck her thumb, so you can choose instead to listen to the other voice we’ve all got swimming around inside of us.
Your Inner Hero is your true champion.
Your Inner Hero is the voice that knows you as the greatest version of yourself.
The voice that truly believes in you.
The friend who pushes you to ‘do the right thing’.
Your Inner Hero always has your best interests at heart.
He/she truly knows that you can succeed at most anything you put your mind to (NFL daydreams aside).
Your Inner Hero believes so whole-heartedly in your abilities, that sometimes it can feel like he/she is trying to get you to take huge risks.
YES! It’s true. That’s exactly what they want.
Taking risks–or even what feels like a risk at the time– is how we learn and grow.
Whether we succeed or not!
We still learn and grow. (Assuming the risk isn’t along the lines of attempting to free-climb the Eiffel Tower or some such nonsense.)
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
~attributed to Mark Twain, but this is arguable.
So do yourself and life a huge favor. Don’t opt to play small when you feel the stirrings of your inner hero trying to nudge you toward bigger and bigger spaces.
Consciously choosing to listen to the voice of your inner hero rather than your inner critic will always and in all ways lead you to a far greater version of yourself, and a far richer, more fulfilling life as well.
Tap In To The Inner Wisdom of Your Heroic Self
Why not take a few minutes and tap into the voice of your inner hero right now?
Just find a quiet spot where you can sit for awhile without interruption. Then settle in, take a few slow, deep breaths, and then simply state the intention that you wish to hear directly from the hero within.
Pose a question, perhaps something along the lines of…
“What should I really be doing with my life?”
“How should I best handle problem X?”
“What is my true purpose in life?”
Then simply listen, without judgement.
Don’t get caught in the trap of throwing up your own road blocks. Don’t automatically discount whatever you might hear.
Jot down a few notes about what you hear.
How does it sit with you?
Is it a little scary?
If yes, that’s good. It means you really tapped into the hero’s voice.
If it leads to more questions, that’s great.
Tap in again and ask for more specifics.
Remember, no roadblocks. No judgement.
Nobody says you have to act on what you discover.