Episode 69 – The Inner Critic (part 1)
Listen to this episode here!
In this episode Rachel invites her Yoga Teacher Training group to join her in sharing a piece of what their inner critic – that judgmental, disapproving voice we all carry in the back of our heads – speaks of, and what life is like when we live from that place. 52 women from 15 different countries share from a place of deep vulnerability and then turn toward the Inner Best Friend – a voice that speaks with unconditional love and support. What would life be like if I spoke to myself the way I speak to the people I love? Tune in for a very different and heartfelt episode.
[001:14] Hi welcome to another episode of From The Heart: Conversations With Yoga Girl. I am about to introduce the … kind of most creative and wildest, strangest, maybe most amazing episode ever recorded in the history of this podcast. As you might know I am right now in the middle of our Yoga Teacher Training here. I have 52 girls from 15 countries present at Island Yoga in Aruba with me right now. It’s a 23-day training, and today is officially day 21. So, we have spent three whole weeks together. Practicing yoga, teaching, learning, growing, evolving, shedding layers of ourselves, figuring out past wounds and hurts and pains, and what do I need to fulfill and make my way towards a place of wholeness so that I can teach from a place of absolute, total integrity and authenticity. And it’s … it’s very intense and overwhelming, the type of work that we do here.
[002:20] So, for this week’s show, it started off as … what we’re going to do today, it kind of started off as a joke. (laugh) One of the girls in the training said, “Oh, what’s the podcast going to be this week?” And I said, “You know what? I have no clue.” I was going to talk about books and kind of the books that we’re running through here in the training because a lot of people are asking what books we have as required reading, and what are my favorite books within yoga and spirituality, to share and kind of talk about that. But I said, “I haven’t done it yet, and it’s the last day, I gotta record today, so we’ll see what it turns out to be.” And then one of the participants said, “You should have all of us record the podcast with you! We should all get together and we all just record it about this experience and what it’s been like, all of the transformation that’s happened here over the past three weeks.” And then we all laughed … And then, so this was last night (laugh) or yesterday. And I went back home, and I went to the team, kind of talking to them and said, “Well, you know, is this a … Is it a crazy idea to record this week’s podcast with 52 different women sharing a little piece of themselves?” And what was just kind of a joke that someone said has now morphed into what I think … might just be an absolutely amazing idea! So (laugh), From The Heart, this week’s episode is brought to you by our June 2018 Yoga Teacher Training group. And me! (laugh).
[003:48] So, something that we’ve been working on over the past couple of days, or actually past couple of weeks, that we’ve been touching on, because I was thinking, okay, if we’re going to invite each of these women to share a piece of themselves on this podcast, I don’t want it to be just kind of celebrating where we are now and talking about how amazing everything is, and have it just be like one long testimonial for this training, because that’s not really the type of thing that I do. So I was thinking, how can I really allow for each person’s heart to shine, convey a little bit of growth, or bit of an epiphany or a realization, or some sort of heart-opening moment that has happened in this training, and still have it be a really positive, loving, beautiful note? One of the things that we’ve been touching on recently that actually one of the girls who taught her graduation class this morning touched on this, Andi, she said, “Allowing your breath when you’re practicing, allowing your breath to grow louder than the voice of your Inner Critic.” And the Inner Critic is something that we’ve been talking about a lot. Everybody has an Inner Critic, no matter how confident or how fulfilled or how happy you are in your life. We all have that little voice in the back of our heads that judge us, usually on a daily basis. And that voice can say, you know, it shows up in different ways in different times in our lives, but it’s that voice that tells us that we can’t, it’s that voice that tells us that we’re not good enough, it’s that voice that tells us that there’s no way in hell you’re going to pull this off, or that we’re not beautiful enough, or intelligent enough, or fulfilled enough. It’s that judgmental voice in the back of our heads. We’ve labeled it, we name it, we call it the Inner Critic, because we all have that moment of catching ourselves in that very negative, negative conversation.
[005:35] Sometimes in life, or for some of us, I feel like some people are more kind of, you know, living from a place of that Inner Critic more than others. Some people have an Inner Critic in the back of their heads that completely runs the show. And that voice can be so loud, so overpowering that we start to forget that there’s another voice that’s also present there. And it shows up in different ways. I find, in my own life, when I’m going through something hard, or when I’m stressed or feeling pressured, that Inner Critical voice gets really really loud. So, to me, it’s always my trigger for this Inner Critic, it’s usually pressure or stress of some sort. It shows up in different ways. Since I had the baby my Inner Critic has been very focused around what a terrible mother I am. (laugh) And I can laugh at it now, because I’m speaking from a place where I, in this moment, feel like, “Oh, that’s not true. What a silly thing to tell myself.” But, in fact, there are moments (and I can have a few of these moments every single day) where something happens. Like, I had a moment like that yesterday where I was kind of feeling a little bit pulled in different directions. We’re really busy at the studio, we’re kind of wrapping up this teacher training, we have so much to get through, and Dennis was here with the baby, and then Dennis went to do some work, I don’t know exactly how it happened, but the baby was just kind of left alone at the studio. Not alone, we have a whole team here, but I was kind of in charge of her while holding space for the group of 52, which is a really hard thing for me to do, because I want to be 100% present with her all the time. I really don’t like the feeling of being pulled in different directions. So, you know, being with her, but having to have my attention elsewhere, like when I’m teaching a class, for instance.
[007:16] So I had that moment of feeling this kind of stress building up of like, “Where the hell is Dennis? Why isn’t he, like, picking Lea Luna up? They should go home and sleep.” And then she got cranky and then she started crying a little bit, and then I had to, like, oh my god, I had to interrupt the class for a second and step outside. This was the first time that she really had started crying in the middle of a session. And I just started feeling this pressure building inside of me of “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god I just want to be home with her right now.” It just hit me, like, “I just want to be the one to take her home.” The past, you know, 21 days have been a shuffle of me handing her off to Dennis. Five times a day I’m saying bye to her. And every time I say goodbye, she cries, and she cries … I mean, she wails. It’s been a … Mmm. It’s been hard for me. It’s always, always hard to separate from her in any way.
[008:05] And now I’m still, you know, we still live together, I see her every morning for several hours. I see her every day for lunch, I see her for a second in the afternoon, but it’s a lot of moving back and forth. And every time I say goodbye, I have that moment of feeling like a terrible mom. Completely terrible. And that voice can be really kind of soft, like, “Oh my god, you’re such a terrible mom. Can you just take care of your child already? Why aren’t you more present with her?” And then there’s another voice that sort of comes in immediately, like, “Hey! I’m doing my very best, I’m a super present mom, I’m with her 24/7 normally. Now I’m immersed in this training which is part of my dream. It’s a dream that I’ve been building for years, it’s what fulfills me in life. It’s my passion, I’m creating amazing things here with this group. I actually don’t want to be anywhere else. And actually, she has a dad too, and she’s not suffering.” You know? So I can catch that voice and then right away counter with another voice, which is what we call the voice of my inner best friend. It’s the voice that, say your best friend would tell you things that your Inner Critic sometimes tell you. Like, if my best friend Olivia, if she would come to me and say, “You know what? I’m such a terrible mom. I had to work today and I just, you know, I had to say goodbye to her twice and she was crying, and I’m just a horrible mom! I can’t do anything right. I’m terrible at everything, I’m ruining her life, she’s having a shitty childhood, I’m just the worst human being! Oh my god, I just suck right now.” So what would I tell her if she told me that? I would say, “This is ridiculous! Are you crazy?! You’re an amazing mom! You’re so attentive, so loving, so caring, you give her everything. You pour your heart into this child every moment of every day. You love her so much, you’re an amazing mom. And of course you have to work! Of course you should go to work. Jesus Christ, what kind of family, what kind of situation is there where we don’t have to work? You have to work to provide for her! Like, the fact that you’re working now is what allows her to live this life where she’s taken care of! You’re an amazing mom!”
[010:06] So, the same way I would articulate or talk to a best friend, turn that around and I find the inner voice of my inner best friend, and that’s how we counter that Inner Critic. We have to allow the voice of the inner best friend to take up some space, and to also become loud. And the thing is if we lead with this voice of the Inner Critic, and the Inner Critic, for me right now, it’s very much surrounding motherhood, because that’s where I feel like I’m lacking when I’m working. But I have other days, and it could be, you know, maybe I’ve been scrolling through Instagram account and all I see is pictures of super fit or super skinny yoga teachers, and everybody’s like a Size 0, and I’m like, you know, I’m not, and then I start looking at myself, and I look at my belly maybe, or my inner thighs, and I start telling myself, “Ugh, I should really work out more. Actually, I’m kind of overweight. Yeah, actually, I should be more fit than I am right now. Actually, I’m a yoga teacher, I should be a Size 0, I should be super skinny.” And then the more I pick myself apart it just kind of becomes this spiraling thing that I do. And it can begin with just a little trigger of feeling inadequate, because I’m comparing myself with someone else. And it goes from this little thing to being, like, “Oh my god, I am just a monster right now! Look at me! I’m like a gazillion thousand pounds!” (laugh) “I’m just so unworthy and unlovable. I just shouldn’t be in this body; my body should be different.” And that Inner Critic, the body shaming Inner Critic can get super loud, oh my god, and it can be triggered by so many different things, and it’s an Inner Critic, or critical voice that I have to put in check again and again, because if I lead from this place, if I let my Inner Critic lead the way all the time, life is going to be a huge struggle. Everything I do is going to be challenging. I’m going to … everywhere I look I’m going to see obstacles. I’m going to find reasons as to why I’m not enough, and actually why I’m not worthy of love, because it’s the story I tell myself, and then I’m going to look around and I’m going to manifest situations that’s going to affirm that belief in that I am not good enough or beautiful enough or thin enough or a good enough mom, whatever the story is.
[012:18] So, learning how to catch that voice, in the first piece, recognizing that it’s there, that sometimes there is a voice in the back of my head and it’s hateful, it’s harmful, it’s judgmental, it’s mean. Nasty sometimes. And some people have that Inner Critic that’s just kind of leads the way, all day every day. We become immersed in self doubt or self hate that might even lead to self harm. So how can I catch that voice, recognize it for what it is, right? It’s a voice, and it’s just a voice. It’s not truth, it’s not who I am, it’s just the voice. And the more I let that voice lead the way, the more I affirm it. So every time I feed those negative thoughts, tomorrow the chance of those negative thoughts being what’s there, it just becomes kind of this negative cycle, that the negative thoughts feed the negative feeling, which again feed the negative thoughts.
[013:10] So, whenever I catch that, how can I immediately turn it around and introduce my Inner Best Friend, again and again and again? So that when the Inner Critic says, “You’re not good enough,” my Inner Best Friend counters, “Are you kidding? I’m fucking great!” (laugh) “How great am I? Look at all of the great things that I do in a day.” In terms of motherhood, I try to come back to that Inner Best Friend all the time because she speaks so much more truth. Yes, it’s true, I kill myself every day providing for my baby. Oh my god, I love her so fucking much. She has such a great life; she’s surrounded by so much love. I am a great mom! Just saying that out loud I feel a little bit ashamed. It’s not a … You know? We’re not taught to speak positively about ourselves with that loud voice. It’s almost like it’s more accepted to say the negatives. But yeah, I’m a great mom! Are you kidding? I’m a fucking great mom! How is it possible, how is it even humanly possible that I’m spending 23 days holding space for massive transformation and a lot of emotion and so much work, 23 days of work with 52 different women while being a mom and while seeing my baby. Not just every day, but several times a day. And while still, you know, taking care of myself. Like, how amazing is this feet? Holy shit I’m just … I’m just doing great things right now with my life. (laugh)
[014:36] Saying that, you know, just puts a smile on my face, like, yes! And it motivates me to get out there and be really present with the group, and then when I’m with the baby, be really present with my baby and knowing that, hey, in two days this training is going to come to a close and I’ll be with my baby from morning to evening again. You know, nothing lasts forever. So brining more of that Inner Best Friend forward.
[014:59] So, that’s what we’re going to do today with this podcast! They don’t know it yet, actually. I’m sitting in Terra Shala which is our smaller shala here at the studio, recording this right now. I’m going to take a photo and share this on Instagram. But I’m surrounded by empty chairs in a circle. I’m going to bring them in, we’re going to do a sharing in the big shala right now, they’re all in there waiting for me, and we’re going to do a sharing, one on one first, on the Inner Critic, and on the Inner Best Friend, because we’ve been journaling about this, we’ve been talking about this, we’ve been sharing about this before. So, what does my Inner Critic tell me? What’s that number one thing that’s kind of high on the list? Usually we have a couple of things that get repeated every day and we start to kind of affirm to ourselves as almost truth. But it’s a negative, right? So it brings us to that dark, heavy place. And how does my Inner Best Friend counter that? Really. And how can I really let what my Inner Best Friend tells me just shine and lead the way? So, each of our 52 girls is going to get to sit here and, of course, if they want, prior conversations, I’m pretty sure they’re going to be really excited, but to just genuinely, in a vulnerable place share: “My Inner Critic tells me …” Hmm. And, “My Inner Best Friend says …” So that you’ll get to experience what this is like for people from all parts of the world. Different backgrounds, different ages, completely different life stories, and knowing that we all feel the same things. Oh my god, we have so much in common. We have so much in common. And what we think separates us and our fears, and that self-judgment, just imagine what could happen if we all start leading the way with that kindness and with that inner voice of support and self-love.
[016:53] So, I’ve never done anything like this before, ever. I have no idea how this is going to pan out, but I’m taking a little leap of faith right now, and … let’s go!
[017:05] Rachel: … Continuing to tap into the breath, and then anchoring back into the sharing that we just had. So, what I was saying … whatever came up in terms of your Inner Critic, and that Inner Critical Voice. And also touching on the Inner Best Friend. So, staying this connected to the breath, just anchoring the breath all the way into the belly, we’ll open the eyes. Anja, what does your Inner Critic say?
[017:46] Anja: (laugh) Um … My Inner Critic always tells me that I am not … good enough just as I am. That there’s always something that can be, that should be better, changed, before I can fully, fully love myself and really accept all of me. And that Inner Critic is horrible sometimes! And I would be so sad if I heard someone that I love talk to themselves the way my Inner Critic talks to me. So, I really try to connect with knowing that I am strong and that I am smart and that there is such strength in being vulnerable and finding connection in that. Connection to others feeling the same way.
Rachel: So, the voice of your Inner Best Friend says you’re strong?
Rachel: What else? What else does she say?
Anja: That it’s silly (laugh) to be so critical of myself, because I would never talk to anyone else like that! And I never think about anyone else in the way that I sometimes speak to myself. That I am good enough. I’m beautiful, I’m strong, I’m worthy of loving myself.
Rachel: You are.
Anja: Thank you.
[019:38] Rachel: Hi Harli.
Rachel: (laugh) What does your Inner Critic tell you?
Harli: Um … I didn’t think I would get emotional talking about this, I didn’t earlier! Um, my Inner Critic tells me that I am not good enough to be happy and that I’m not good enough to be successful and do what makes me happy. That I’m not good enough to feel loved by other people or have the community that I desire around me. I think that I don’t consciously notice that my thoughts tell me these things. It’s more of a subconscious tiptoeing around the big topic. I think it just all comes back to feeling not worthy of love, stemming from myself, but just learning to love myself and know that I deserve that from other people though.
Rachel: Are there certain moments when that critical voice gets louder than others?
Harli: I think when I start to think of the things that I can do, and the things that I know I’m capable of, then my Inner Critic is just like, “Oh stop. You sound stupid. You can’t do those things. You’re not smart enough or pretty enough or (this or that) enough.” Yeah.
Rachel: And if you speak to yourself with that voice of the Inner Best Friend, what does your Inner Best Friend say?
Harli: That I fucking rock!
Harli: (laugh) That I’m so awesome and I’m so talented and I love myself so much, and I deserve everything that I could ever want. Like, I deserve that, 100%. Yeah.
Rachel: 100%. Thank you.
Harli: Thank you.
[021:50] Rachel: Hi Sarah!
Rachel: (laugh) What does your Inner Critic tell you?
Sarah: Um, I think my Inner Critic tells me that I’m not good enough to make decisions on my own without having the support from other people around me. I think the Inner Critic tells me … I think I’m goo afraid to just disappoint the other people around me instead of really thinking about what I want for myself. I think that’s my main thing is that I want to be supported and happy with everyone else, but I don’t always take time and connection with myself and what I want before … I think about what everyone else from me before I really think about what I want for myself. But I know that I’m so capable of reaching what I want and going after everything that I know I can have. Um, yeah.
Rachel: And when that voice is really loud, is it hard to reach for those dreams and to …
Sarah: I think in the moment it’s really hard for me to reach for those and take time to know that I can do it, and then take action into following, but I know in time and surrounding myself with people that are so supportive and so, um, encouraging, then I think it’s really easy to bounce back and know that I am so capable of following everything that I want to do, and I’m so lucky to have such amazing people and family and friends in my life to be there.
Rachel: So, if you only speak to yourself from that Inner Best Friend, that super loving, unconditional voice, what does it say?
Sarah: I think it says that I’m so full of love and I’m so ready to receive that within myself, and just go out and do everything that I know I want to do, and everything that I’ve dreamt of and that I have inside me, and to just grab it and go with it.
Rachel: Thank you.
Sarah: Thank you.
[023:46] Rachel: Hi Nici.
Rachel: Hi. What does your Inner Critic say?
Nicki: I think my Inner Critic says that, like, all the other people, they can do stuff. They can become a doctor, they can be a photographer, they can travel around the world, they can do stuff, and I just, I can only do little stuff. Like, I can travel a little bit, but I can’t live out of that. I could never be a doctor, I can’t go study that much and just learn all that stuff, because I’m not smart enough. I’m not pretty enough, definitely not skinny enough, and I can do the little things, but not capable of the big things. Yeah.
Rachel: How does that make you feel?
Nici: Small, really small. And sad. Not worthy. Really small.
Rachel: And if you anchor into that, the other voice that can also, you know, we know it’s there, sometimes it’s in the back, I saw it when you were teaching yesterday! (laugh)
Rachel: It was teaching from this loving voice, this Inner Best Friend, what does it say?
Nici: That I can do that. I can. I totally can do that. It’s not always the others. It’s like standing up for myself. I am capable of doing that. I can teach! I can learn new languages, travel, and just have fun and be bigger than I think I actually can be.
Rachel: Oh hell yes!
Rachel: (laugh) Thank you for sharing your heart.
Nici: Thank you.
[025:48] Rachel: Hi Kyla! (laugh)
Rachel: Hi. What does your Inner Critic say?
Kyla: I often hear from my Inner Critic that I’m not worthy of love and the space that I take up sometimes in the world, that I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not funny enough. Yeah, so I should act like so I’m not seen. Yeah.
Rachel: And you also have that other voice that … the opposite voice, is it also there?
Rachel: And if you can find it now, what do you tell yourself?
Kyla: I tell myself that things that give me such a hard time, there’s qualities of me that I think make me shy away are actually probably my strengths, and that I deserve love.
Rachel: Can you say that again?
Kyla: Sorry. I deserve love! (laugh)
Rachel: Can you say it again?
Kyla: I deserve really deep love.
Rachel: Hell yes!
Kyla: To receive it, and to give it. Yeah.
Rachel: Can we all say that? Just take a moment? I deserve love.
Group: I deserve love!
Rachel: We do, we do. It’s comforting, at least it is for me in this moment, I don’t know if it is for you, that we all feel the same. I mean, it looks a little bit different, but it’s all also the same. And when we switch to the other voice there’s a little spark. It’s like, “Oh my god, I can? I can be worthy of love? I can do all of these things and accomplish and be the person I really deserve to be? Yes? Is it possible?” But if the Inner Critic is there in the front, it’s like, then it’s really hard to get there. Thank you for sharing your hearts, thank you thank you thank you.
Kyla: Thank you.
Rachel: I love you so much! (laugh)
Kyla: We love you! (laugh)
[028:28] Rachel: Hi Daphney.
Daphney: Hello. The Inner Critic, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at shutting it off the last couple of years. But maybe, like, why me?
Rachel: Why you, in what way?
Daphney: Why so much [?] … Like, when will it end? Waiting for the other shoe to drop, always. Living that, I don’t know what the word is, you know, single mom life. Being the mom and the dad, and also having so much support from my family. Like, when can I just get everything off my shoulders and not struggle and just live? Even just live for those that are not here anymore? But then the opposite, I have every reason for everything shitty to happen. We live such a good life, my son and I and my family. And there’s so much love, and I feel sometimes like I have to give double the love for the mom and the dad, and it comes so easily, and so many hugs and so many kisses and so many I love yous, and it’s just so natural. Maybe that happened for a reason, because I’m okay doing both, and I was put here for that. And even if, you know, he won’t get a brother or a sister, that’s fine. We have cousins and uncles and aunts and everything. But it’s safe, and it’s a cozy home. And just thinking, like, everything really kind of does happen for a reason, and it’s shaped me to who I am.
Rachel: So if you speak to yourself from that Inner Best Friend, that really loving voice, what does it say?
Daphney: You’re doing it! You know? You’re here, you’re doing it, and you do it with love. And it’s so beautiful. And I’m here, you know? Who knew 3 years ago that whatever it was I went through brought me here? And three years from now, where will I be? And it’s just going along for the ride.
Rachel: You’re doing it! (laugh)
Daphney: I am!
Rachel: Thank you for sharing your heart
Daphney: Thank you.
[031:15] Rachel: Kathryn, hi.
Rachel: So, what does your Inner Critic say?
Kathryn: My Inner Critic has a lot to say. It’s very loud. Sometimes it’s about appearance, sometimes it’s about worthiness, like deserving of the good things I have, like when, like, I guess fear of loss of those good parts of my life. And a lot about what kind of value I can bring to the world, and how my story or my voice, like, no one’s going to want to hear that. But on the flip side, there are moments where I feel brave and supported and encouraged and where I remember that I am held by a greater power, and that there is purpose and that I have something worth saying and worth being heard.
Rachel: So which side of it that kind of steers the ship for you? Is it the critic or the best friend? Who is louder?
Kathryn: I don’t know. It depends on the day.
Rachel: Do you know something that kind of triggers that critical voice?
Rachel: So not feeling safe? Or feeling open? Or …
Rachel: and if you speak to yourself from that truly loving place, right now, what does that voice say?
Kathryn: You are brave and you have infinite potential.
Rachel: Thank you.
[034:54] Rachel: Ewa, hi!
Rachel: What does your Inner Critic say?
Ewa: Well, it says a lot of things, and I’m going to cry right now. So I’m going to take a deep breath, then offer …
Rachel: It’s alright.
Ewa: I never thought that when I came here that age would be a thing. I really, really didn’t. I always thought that I was like super young for my age. I’m probably the oldest one in this group of 52, and everybody else here is probably half my age. Same age as my daughters. And it’s been really nice, we connected so well, but by the end of the day I can totally see how my body is different, that I’m not as flexible, I’m not as strong, and I cannot really change that. I am what I am. It’s been really, really hard, especially yesterday when we did our graduation classes. It went really well, but still, I’m thinking, “Am I going to be a yoga teacher? Oh my god, I’m already feeling you’re too old for this.” And I had a really nice sharing session about that yesterday, and I had a little note on my water bottle before teaching yesterday and it says, “You’re not too old, you belong here!” And it made such a difference, it made such a difference. So, I’ve been awake all night thinking about how do I belong here? And I’m so sure that with age it comes wisdom and experience and I thought about how can I be of service based on what I can bring with that age, with that experience, and I’m convinced that there are so many other women like me that feel too old and not cool enough and not young enough and not flexible enough, and my approach to this is just really, I just want to feel good in my body. I just want to be strong and healthy, and I want to be able to pick up my grandkids someday. I don’t want to be … That’s why I’m here, that’s my purpose. If I can be that person to someone else, or that role model, I’m sure that, you know, women all ages want to come to yoga, you know? That’s my role, that’s my role. And yeah, that really … That coin really dropped for me this morning.
Rachel: So if you speak to yourself from that Inner Best Friend, that super loving, supporting, unconditionally loving voice, what does it say?
Ewa: Um, you’re awesome! And you’re wiser and stronger and you’ve got more experience and you’ve got a lot of things to say. So … Yeah.
Rachel: That just gave me goose bumps.
Ewa: Me too.
Rachel: (laugh) Thank you, Ewa. You’re going to change a lot of lives.
Ewa: Thank you. I hope so, I hope so.
[038:32] Rachel: Hi Sam.
Rachel: What does your Inner Critic say?
Sam: It’s a shame that it has so much to say, actually. The first thing that came to mind was never being enough. That wasn’t enough, that wasn’t good enough. Do more. Be more. Try harder. Why don’t you remember this? Why didn’t you do that? And it’s this dialogue. It’s like this argument in my mind, constantly. And also, because I’m maybe four or five things that I think I didn’t do, rather than the infinite things that I did. And this judgment, constant judgment of trying to be something that doesn’t even exist, and I know it doesn’t exist. But Inner Critic isn’t rational, and it’s … it’s this fear of not living up to what I think other people perceive me as, and that, “She’s got it together.” When, oh my god, I really don’t! (laugh) I really don’t. And it’s exhausting. I’m tired of my Inner Critic.
Rachel: And is there another type of voice there, also, somewhere? Do you have an Inner Best Friend?
Sam: I discovered her about three or four years ago. Maybe more, maybe about four or five years ago after an end of a relationship and family things going on, and I started to come back to me. Come home to me, to myself, to my heart. And she peeps in every now and again, and she says, “Hold on a minute. Tell that critic to take the front door and leave your house, because it doesn’t belong there.” And I think about my best friend, who I love. Best friends, I’m fortunate enough to have them, and how I speak to them, that love I have for them, and the encouragement I have for them, and if I could just give an ounce of that to myself. And actually yesterday, after grad class (we did so good), and I kept thinking about the two or three things that I should have done. And my best friend came in and she was rooting for me! She said, “Stop this argument in your brain, because you did amazing! And you stepped out of your comfort zone. You were terrified. Would you have done this a few years ago? No. But here you are, with a sisterhood, with you.” Lara, [?], with me, back to me. And I hope to see more of my best friend. She deserves to be there.
Rachel: She does. Thank you.
Sam: Thank you.
[042:09] Rachel: Lesley.
Lesley: I feel like I always have to follow Sam up. It was in class yesterday, it’s now. Isn’t she great? Hi.
Rachel: Hi. What does your Inner Critic say?
Lesley: Hmm. My Inner Critic has an on and off switch, and I feel like it’s been on a lot recently. I feel like you can absolutely attest to this, Rachel, and probably know it in a much deeper level than I do, but I think … Being a little bit in the public eye only turns that switch on, full force, and I think that having a little bit of a platform has its pros and its cons. I think it’s an amazing thing to be able to spread the love and the joy and the inspiration, but with that comes this deep darkness as well, because you start listening to all the haters out there, and start to think that maybe, probably definitely, there’s somebody else out there who can do something better than you. Whether it’s writing articles or taking photos or starting a travel blog or being a yoga teacher. And once that confidence starts to wane, that’s where the slippery slope is, I think.
Rachel: In those moments, what is that voice? What does it say when it gets loud?
Lesley: Why are you doing this? There’s somebody else out there who can, who is probably already doing it, or can do it better than you. So then I question a lot. But then I’m really thankful, because I’ve grown up having a lot of confidence at the same time, so therein comes that light switch again, of that on and off switch of the Inner Critic and the Inner Best Friend, and they come out to play and then they retreat back inside, so often. And so I am thankful that I’ve known that confidence too for a long time. It just depends on the day and it depends on what I’m doing and it depends on the mood. I also know that confidence is the prettiest thing you can walk into a room with, so some days I just have to wake up and put the cloak on, zip it up, and, you know, say, “I’m going to walk into this room like I’m the belle of the ball and wear that confidence like I own it.” Because I think it goes so far. And so, long ago I threw judgment out the window. But it’s crept back in, you know? It’s never gone forever.
Rachel: So in those moments of that, you know, when the voice gets really loud or when the confidence wanes, are you able to listen to this other voice, this loving, loving voice?
Lesley: Most of the time, yeah.
Rachel: What does it say, if you would speak from it right now?
Lesley: It says, “You’re forking bad ass. Keep going.” (laugh)
Rachel: You’re face when you say that.
Lesley: Well I learned forking from you. But I’m so happy to be hear on this island for 21 days now, because I think my Inner Best Friend has come out to play for 21 straight days with 52 other Inner Best Friends and outer best friends, and so we’re having one big party on Aruba, and I don’t want to leave! (laugh)
Lesley: I just want to party with the inner and the outer best friends forever!
Rachel: You know, I find that if you party with the Inner Best Friend, all the outer best friends just want to tag along, but it’s the inner one is the one that really matters.
Lesley: Mmhm, totally.
Rachel: Thank you for sharing.
Lesley: Thank you.
[046:39] Rachel: Hi Michelle.
Rachel: (laugh) What does your Inner Critic say?
Michelle: My Inner Critic has gotten quieter. She’s good. But, it tells me that I don’t work hard enough, I should have achieved more by now, I should have helped more people by now. I should be a better girlfriend, I should be a better daughter, better sister. And, yeah, it’s something that I have probably wrestled with or addressed in the last few years of what my inner work needs to be and that I recognize that it’s one opinion or a voice that’s maybe rooted in hard work being rewarded and validated within my family, and that I think I need to keep spinning and spinning and doing so much, so much, so much. But I feel like I’m reaching a place where I’m getting more of that balance and that I am hearing the Critic, but not listening as much.
Rachel: And if you would speak to yourself with this other voice, the Inner Best Friend, what does she say?
Michelle: So, she says … I have a poem. I didn’t write it, but it’s something that I have gone back to again and again when I get to that stage where it gets really loud, and it is: “It is not the Critic who counts. It is not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or how the doer of deeds could have done them better. The Critic belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short again and again, who spends herself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who, at worst, if she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” So that’s what gets me through. (laugh)
Rachel: Thank you.
Michelle: Thank you.
[051:13] Rachel: Hi Sarah. What does your Inner Critic say?
Sarah: So, my Inner Critic says I’m not enough in every aspect. I think I always compare myself to others. It says I’m not strong enough, I’m not confident enough, I’m not beautiful enough, I’m not yogi enough, I’m … yeah.
Rachel: Is there also another type of voice there?
Sarah: So, my Inner Critic, I just found a name for it and I … during lunch I was talking to a few of the girls and, yeah, so it’s Sydney, and I’m trying to push her away. (laugh)
Rachel: (laugh) You named your Inner Critic Sydney. That’s good, because then when she gets loud you can be like, “Sydney, shut up!” (laugh)
Sarah: Yeah! (laugh) So, my Inner Best Friend now is telling me that I am strong. I’ve come so far and I’ve done a lot of things and I don’t have to be perfect, I’m just the way I am and that’s enough.
Rachel: Yeah. Thank you.
[052:48] Rachel: [Deep Breath] Ready Laura?
Laura: I guess so.
Laura: Um, my Inner Critic, and it’s interesting because I’ve never really thought about it until today when you told us to journal about it and talk to our sharing partner about it. Um, I think it really roots back to I really don’t like my personality. And it has a few different reasons. Throughout my life I’ve just had a really hard time connecting with other women. I’ve always been the girl that definitely hangs out with more of the guys. [Crying] Sorry. I’ve always been kind of jealous of the girls who can just easily click with one another. Yeah, just, I just don’t usually find myself really connecting. Here it’s been a lot easier, I think because we’re all geared toward the same thing and have the same interests. But it’s really hard for me. And sometimes even here it’s been hard seeing people, you know, connect really closely. So, yeah.
Rachel: How does your Inner Best Friend answer to that?
Laura: Um, that’s also interesting, I’ve kind of learned that I’m definitely a floater, I think, with friends in groups. And I also think that that’s awesome, because when I do connect with people and other women, I feel like I connect very deeply, and I feel very open in those connections. So I find power in it, but I also find a lot of weakness in it, and I battle it a lot at home, for sure.
Rachel: And if you would speak to yourself right now in that loving voice, in the Inner Best Friend, what does she say?
Laura: You know, fuck it. Who cares? At the end of the day, who cares if you embarrass yourself or, you know, that one person doesn’t like you, you know? I do have strength in being a floater and being able to connect with people, it might just not be right off the bat.
Rachel: Thank you for sharing.
Laura: Thank you.
[055:12] Rachel: Kris.
Kris: My Inner Critic says, um, I can’t. It says I can’t [insert anything]. Like, I can’t finish this Yoga Teacher Training. I can’t do this pose. I mean, it can be really minor things, but also really big things. And then the other main thing, I think, it says is … [crying] Um, I think the other main thing, or I know the other main thing that it says is I’ve struggled so much throughout my life with mental illness and it says, “You’re crazy. You’re fucking crazy, and something is wrong with you.” It’s such a deep seated criticism that’s in there, “Something is wrong with you.” But, I know that’s not actually true in any sense. But when that specific one tends to come up, it’s certainly very loud.
Rachel: And if you would bring forward this other type of voice, the opposite of the Critic, what does that voice say?
Kris: Um, that says, “I’m so fucking proud of you.” … And I … I get so emotional when I talk about it because with my birthday a couple of days ago, I was thinking about it, and I was thinking how … how shocked, genuinely shocked I was that I’ve made it to 28, because most of my life I thought, mm-mm, for various reasons, I’m not going to make it to 28, I don’t have a shot or a chance, or I probably would have said 25. So I was reflecting a lot about that since the past couple of days, the thing that kept coming to mind was, “I’m so proud of you.”
Rachel: What do you think life would be if you led with that voice and only that voice?
Kris: It would be, probably … something that I couldn’t even dream for myself. Like, full of so much love and compassion that I couldn’t even fathom actually exists.
Rachel: Thank you for sharing your heart.
Kris: Thank you.
Rachel: I’m so proud of you.
Rachel: Of all of you.
[058:19] Rachel: Hi Carmen.
Rachel: What does your Inner Critic say?
Carmen: Well, when you first asked us to think about this, my first thought was that my Inner Critic is taking a vacation right now. Ask me later, because we’re teaching our class tomorrow, and I didn’t even want to think about it. But, when I think about in general, my Inner Critic wants me to be fearful. She’s definitely most comfortable when I’m scared. But my Inner Best Friend, she’s like, “Okay, you’re here now. What is missing from this moment? What exists other than this moment?” And kind of brings me back to my self. And her new favorite saying, which was my Angel Card the first night at this training, is “Let your personality shine.”
Rachel: Thank you.
[059:17] Rachel: Hi Jamesy.
Rachel: So what does your Inner Critic say?
Jamesy: Well, for lack of better words, my Inner Critic can be a huge bitch sometimes. She loves to creep up on me when I’m feeling down and tell me that I’m socially awkward or I’m not skinny or I’m not good enough in anything that I do. But I can find my Inner Best Friend and she knows that my Critic is just afraid, and that’s just where it comes from, and she comforts my Inner Critic and tells me that everything is going to work out. And, you know, it’s through yoga that I learned that my best is always good enough, and it always will be, even if my best is just getting out of bed some days. So, I’m thankful for my Inner Best Friend for showing me that.
Rachel: Thank you.
[060:32] Rachel: Katrina.
Katrina: So, my Inner Critic is like a sniper. It knows exactly where to go, it knows the weak spots, it is always on red alert for difference. Something I leaned into last year is how my Inner Critic also knows how to moderate me and induces a lot of fear in terms of shining as well, so how it’s not safe to be me, or how shining can actually inhibit other people, so I find that my Inner Critic can shut me down in both ways, and it’s a huge piece with body confidence as well, which I’ve been working super hard on.
Rachel: And if you speak from that loving voice and the Inner Best Friend?
Katrina: My best friend has my back. (laugh)
Rachel: What does she say, right now?
Katrina: My Inner Best Friend reminds me of all the amazing things that I have already overcome, the strength that I have within, the situations that I’ve put myself in and looked fear right in the eye and come right through it. My Inner Best Friend is all the sunshine and strength and warmth that I naturally have in my personality reflected back at me, and it’s just a really lovely reminder to not sit in the darkness on my own and to come out and share that light and love with myself and other people.
Rachel: How beautiful is that?
Rachel: Thank you.
Katrina: Thank you.
[062:16] Rachel: Juliana!
Juliana: Um, it was very hard for me to articulate how I felt about this entire topic. A lot of times I feel like my Inner Critic owns my life, that it’s very hard for me to, like, be me and not my Inner Critic. She tells me a lot about my body, she criticizes absolutely everything I do. She tells me I’m not only not good enough now, but that I’m never going to be good enough. And I think, through yoga, I’ve learned that my Inner Best Friend is my breath, and every time I take a deep breath, she comes out and reminds me that right here, right now, everything is perfect and I am perfect just as I am, and I don’t need anything else, or I don’t need to be anyone else.
Rachel: And can you imagine what your life would be if you only listened to that Inner Best Friend, that voice?
Juliana: I would be so happy all the time! Everything would be so much easier. Yeah, I’m working on that because I know everything would be brighter and better, for sure.
Rachel: Thank you.
[065:07] Rachel: Natasha.
Natasha: My Inner Critic is something I’ve been working on for the past year. I’ve been very aware that I have a lot of anxiety and that comes from this Inner Critic that is always judging me and always telling me that I’m not good enough, not capable, not strong enough, not beautiful, just not enough. And it’s exhausting. It’s like living a double life. It’s like trying to be present in every moment and always having this nagging voice that’s pulling me away from the moment and forcing me to be less than I am. Because it’s not only telling me that, but it’s also so distracting. So I can’t learn to my best, I can’t teach to my best as a teacher when I’m feeling that way, but what I’ve learned is that when I breathe, and when I’m aware of that Inner Critic and I’m able to silence it and replace it with my Inner Best Friend, I am so good at what I do! I am so much happier, I’m a better person, I’m a better teacher, I’m a better friend. I’m so much more present, I’m so much more myself, and I’m able to love myself. If I could just life every moment that way I would be so much happier and healthier and better.
Rachel: And if you would speak to yourself in that loving voice right now?
Natasha: I would say, “You are enough just as you are and you can make everyone else feel that way too.”
Rachel: Now I’m crying. Thank you.
Natasha: Thank you.
[067:06] Rachel: Hi Anna.
Rachel: What does your Inner Critic say?
Anna: My Inner Critic had fun today because it was the first time I stood up in front of 50-plus women and taught a section of yoga, and then you’re in there and you’re teaching and you’re in it and you’re happy and there’s no critic there. And then after, after you’ve done all of these amazing things and climbed your mountain of talking in front of people or anxiety or body language, it says, “Oh, that wasn’t good at all.” And I just had to step back and I thought, “What?! Yeah it was! That was awesome!” Because I did all of those things with ease, and I didn’t run out of breath, and nobody dropped to the floor dead, and it was amazing. So, I think my Inner Critic automatically said, “Well that was just not enough.” But-
Rachel: And is that a voice that you hear often, also in regular life?
Anna: Yeah. Mmhm.
Rachel: And what does it say?
Anna: Um … It says you should be afraid. You should … don’t dream that big. That couldn’t happen. Or, you know, don’t put that intention out because chances are it’s not going to come to be. That’s what the Critic tries to say. And I’m always amazed because every single time it’s just backed up and the universe stops it and puts Island Yoga in my lap, or puts a beautiful lover in my life, or puts just a community of caring people, it stops it.
Rachel: And if you would speak to yourself from that Inner Best Friend, that totally unconditionally loving voice, what does it say?
Anna: It says, “I’m so proud of you, for being here and making it here.” And it says, “Every single thing you have ever done, good or bad, bad decisions, everything you beat yourself up for, you don’t have to think about it any more because it all got you here, to be a strong, empathetic, powerful woman that can change her world. And everyone else is … it’s really magical.”
Rachel: Thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you.
[070:14] Rachel: Hi Sarah.
Rachel: What does your Inner Critic say?
Sarah: Similar to Anna, today, after teaching, the same thing, that taking the compliments from my fellow amazing sisters here, that, “Oh, they’re not real, don’t listen to that. You didn’t actually do okay. Remember that time when you messed up?” And then, in life, I guess it comes up in comparison to others, especially other people my age. I’m not as skinny as them, I’m not as pretty as them, things like that come up. The self doubt that maybe the path I’m taking isn’t right. You should go the safe path, not step out, go to Aruba on a week’s notice! (laugh) I’m like, you’re crazy! But then that other voice in there, the Best Friend says, “Go fucking do it!” Like, listen to that, and trust that everything will happen as it should. And, I mean, I got to connect with these amazing women sitting with me right now, and just everyone else. And that Best Friend is the voice saying, “You got this, you’re strong, you can do it, don’t think about what other people think of you. If you have your strength in yourself, then you can go and do whatever the heck you want.”
Rachel: Amen to that!
Rachel: Thank you.
Sarah: Thank you.
[072:30] Rachel: Hi Andie.
Rachel: I love you! What does your Inner Critic say?
Andie: My Inner Critic has a really loud voice. It’s probably in my head, like, with almost every thought that I have. And it’s just … I’m always not enough. Like, I look in the mirror and all I do is pick apart every single part. And not even, like, consciously, it’s just how I look at myself. Every body part, there’s flaws, and I can find them. And it changes day to day. And then I look at other people and I can see how beautiful they are, and then it just, my Inner Critic steps in and says, “Those are all even more reasons why you’re not good enough.” And it tells me that I’m not strong enough to handle emotions, and when things happen in life, that it’ll break me. And that I have to be insanely afraid of what people think because if they see the true me, then they may judge it and they may not accept it. So yeah, I live with the Inner Critic.
Rachel: And how about this other voice, this very different voice, this voice of unconditional support, a loving voice, the Inner Best Friend? Is it sometimes there?
Andie: Yeah. More and more. And it’s crazy because, like today, when we were teaching and stuff, I was nervous, but not super nervous, because I’ve been trying to work through it. And then I saw the way that all 52 of those people looked at me, and it was with so much love, and there wasn’t any judgment, and so I was able to just like be myself and not worry about it and just like … shine, you know? And not worry what people were thinking. And then everybody picked up on that and saw it. Like, I can take that anywhere I go in the world, even if people are judging me, it’s still okay to shine. If they don’t like it, that’s okay too. So, yeah, it was really empowering.
Rachel: That was everybody’s feedback, you know? That you were shining. Just shining.
Andie: But I don’t want people to think I’m too much.
Rachel: Hmm, and then there’s that Critic comes back. Wait wait wait, you can shine, but not too much. A little bit, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. But can you imagine, for a moment, what life would be if you lived from that place? From that place of shining?
Andie: Yeah, I would look in the mirror and I would just look into my eyes the way that I look into your eyes and I would see, like, that being, that like when I came on this planet I just, like all of us, we just wanted to be loved and safe and accepted, and every single person has that within them, and if I see it in myself then I can see others that way and I can move through life that way. And I won’t be afraid all the time, and I won’t spend any time thinking about what people think about me, and I’ll just be really grateful to have this body and the amazing people around me.
Rachel: Thank you.
Andie: Yeah, thank you.
[076:23] Rachel: Hi Lindsey.
Lindsey: Hi Rachel.
Rachel: How about your Inner Critic? What does it say?
Lindsey: My Inner Critic loves to play the comparison. I’m not good enough, I’m not [blank] enough, whatever the situation may be. It loves to tell me that I have to stay in this little box to be safe, this little box that I think people want me to be in, when I don’t even really know what people want me to be. I just want to be me. My Inner Critic like to pull me back a lot. Like, I’ll reach out to who I am or whatever I want to do, my inner critic just loves to kind of push me back in. Push me back into that little box of like, “No, you’re safe here. Why go out there? Just stay right here.” And that’s not where I want to be. So …
Rachel: And how about your Inner Best Friend? What does she say?
Lindsey: My Inner Best Friend is the best friend! (laugh)
Lindsey: It reminds me on a daily basis of the badass that I am, the family and people I have around me supporting me with so much love and everybody has that. There’s just so much to be grateful for. And my Inner Best Friend will always take care of me and always remind me that I’m not just this tiny little blip, you know? I’m the sun and the moon and the stars. I’m everything and nothing all at once. And that I’m not alone, most importantly, I’ve learned so much this training, and above all I’ve learned I’m not alone. So that’s going to be a new …
Rachel: (laugh) It’s a big one.
Rachel: To know that we’re not alone.
Lindsey: Yeah, it’s magical.
Rachel: Thank you.
Lindsey: Thank you.
[078:37] Rachel: Hi Nic.
Rachel: Hello. What does your Inner Critic say?
Nic: Wow. I’m very very grateful for the place I am now in life, because a year ago I was in a personal hell with my Inner Critic and how much she got in my way. I don’t … My Inner Critic isn’t so much, “You’re dumb, you’re ugly, you’re incapable,” but it’s, you know, “You’re not worthy of your dreams. You’re not going to fulfill the things that you want to make happen.” The quote … I don’t know what it is specifically, it goes something like, “You’re not actually afraid of failing, you’re afraid of succeeding and what that might look like for you,” and that resonates with me because … I guess that’s where the Best Friend in me comes in, because I know I’m so capable and I know I have a heart of gold and I know I can make change. But, I get in my own way and I just, I know I deserve for my Inner Best Friend to be louder than the Critic. Yeah, and … it’s like my Inner Best Friend is really good at taking me from a low place and bringing me back to center, at grounding, but why isn’t she so good at celebrating herself and praising herself and applauding herself for what she is good at? My Best Friend is great at self soothing and calming herself and, you know, transforming her sadness into something better, but she’s not … she’s not okay with letter herself shine and celebrating that. So, a lot of growth has happened in the last year, but I guess I’m just so excited to keep going and to learn how to love both sides, because the critic has shaped me to … she got me where I am today, living with that sadness for a long time. It brought me here. It brought me where I am today, and I’m so thankful. Thankful for both sides.
Rachel: What if, right now, that Inner Best Friend, what if she was not just an Inner Best Friend but an Inner Best Friend Cheerleader?
Nic: I think that’s what I need, yeah, I think that’s what I need.
Rachel: Yeah, what if you could speak to yourself in that cheerleading voice? What does that voice say?
Nic: [panicky squeak] (laugh) You’re a bad ass! You’ve made it through every hard thing that life threw at you, and that’s not casual. That’s something to be so proud of. It’s training itself, something beyond my wildest dreams, something I thought I didn’t deserve. My Inner Best Friend Cheerleader, just, “Go Nick! Go Nick! Keep going! Don’t stop! It’s not going to stop here.”
Rachel: Go Nic! (laugh) Thank you.
Nic: Thank you.
Rachel: Thank you.
Nic: Thank you so much.
Rachel: Thank you guys, thank you all, all, thank you.
[082:34] There is so much love in my heart right now I … I didn’t know what to expect, at all, of course. Deciding to do this recording today and I haven’t even made it through, I’ve made it through about half of the group, so this is going to be two podcasts, you guys, this is two podcasts. Every single woman, every single person just holding the space and sharing in this vulnerable way what the Inner Critical voice says, and how we have everything in common. All of us have everything in common. So knowing that we’re not alone, to me, that’s the biggest piece of all of this, knowing that I am not alone, that Inner Critical voice, when it comes up. And sometimes it’s so loud, I don’t know, it takes over my whole life. I can’t do any good when that voice steers the ship. So, knowing that I’m not alone, it’s a big one.
[083:51] Then beginning to recognize that voice for what it is and knowing that there is another voice present inside of me and that I can turn it and I can bring out my Inner Best Friend, be my inner cheerleader! To be my inner cheerleader. And knowing that when I speak to myself in that loving way my whole world changes. Everything changes, the way I speak to other people changes. My level of compassion for people around me changes. All of the sudden I feel a part of the whole instead of feeling separated.
[084:27] So, I’m going to close this podcast, first of all, sharing that there will be a part two. I’m not sure how that’s going to work, if we’re going to release it right away or if it will be next week, but there will be a part two, for sure, for sure, coming right away. And also that, well, after finishing this recording and just sitting down here by myself to close, my Inner Critic got really loud and started saying, “Oh my god, whoa, this is crazy. This is crazy. What if, what if, what if. What if every …” First of all, my Inner Critic said, “What if I record all of this and hold all of these vulnerable moments and then I did something wrong with the podcast recording and it didn’t record?” That was the first thing. And then my Inner Critic said, “What if no one wants to listen to this? What if everyone thinks it’s stupid? What if I’ve had a stupid idea?” And then everyone started speaking and the moment I felt my heart open with every girl sharing, immediately, my heart opened so wide, with so much compassion and vulnerability, immediately that Inner Best Friend came and said, “There’s magic in this! There’s magic in sharing our stories and creating this safe space. There’s magic in vulnerability. There’s magic, there’s magic, there’s magic in this.” And I’m just so grateful, I’m so grateful.
[085:58] So thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has shared so far, and we won’t only see you next week, but I’m thinking we’re going to see you right away. Bye.
[End of Episode]
Transferwise – transferwise.com
Third Love – thirdlove.com/heart
Oatly – oatly.com
Sun Basket – sunbasket.com/yoga