Seems like everywhere I’ve turned in recent days, I’ve not only encountered Donald Trump but also essays and articles about how we should stop listening to the mean-spirited negative voices in our heads, the ones that tell us we can’t.
One example, this Brain Pickings post that showed up on my Twitter feed. Here are a few of the opening lines:
I found myself contemplating anew this fine but firm line between critical thinking and cynical complaint. To cross it is to exile ourselves from the land of active reason and enter a limbo of resigned inaction.
But cross it we do, perhaps nowhere more readily than in our capacity for merciless self-criticism. We tend to go far beyond the self-corrective lucidity necessary for improving our shortcomings, instead berating and belittling ourselves for our foibles with a special kind of masochism.
Writers on this topic often ask how you’d respond if your friends spoke as harshly to you as you speak to yourself. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests you give the inner critic a face.
After getting a generic rejection email this week, it first occurred to me that there was something hugely, irreparably wrong with me and my work. Yes, I recognize the silliness of my reaction, but I also felt the sting. (Maybe I hadn’t had enough coffee. Or maybe I’m just a typical human being.)
Then it occurred to me that the political season has presented the perfect orange “face” for my inner critic. Because, really, he’s great at saying nasty things. And would I give anything he said a moment’s credit? More likely, I’d be inclined to respond with a Southern “bless your heart.” We’ll see how it works!