What do you call your inner critic? You know, that negative voice that circulates in your head from time to time. I have had a few so, I call mine the “Critic Committee” and man, there have been times getting them to pipe down wasn’t easy!
Not only do we allow these voices to critique our every move, but we allow them to start competing externally. How many times do you see another woman and start competing with her in your head?
Marinate on this…Community vs. Competition.
Throughout my career, I have had to opportunity to work with both women and men on development and transitional situations. During my tenure, I have noticed a trend in the way women end up comparing themselves to each other. Much more so than how men size each other up.
Yes, ladies, you know what I am talking about. The moment you walk past a group of women and you could swear, in your peripheral vision, you saw fangs come out! Or… maybe you were the one with fangs?
In addition to the division between men and women, women tend to put up an extra barrier between each other. Why do women do this? What holds women back from building each other up… Becoming each other’s fan?
What difference do you think we could make if we began looking at one another curiously… taking judgment out and finding the strengths of one another?
I remember some time ago I was talking with a woman who boldly said to me, “the only reason why you’re moving up in your career is because you are pretty.” Now, for those who have known me for years, they know I have struggled with perfectionism and overthinking. Yet, here I have another female telling me I only got to where I am is because of my looks? Hunny… if it were only that easy! (I do want to note, to be fair, she did later apologize and admit that she was working through some struggles of her own.)
However, this situation got my wheels turning. When you start to peel back the reason for judgment and mean girl mentality, you find the insecure, guilt-filled, fear-driven, not good enough group living inside your head, aka the ‘critic committee.’
Almost every man and woman alive has some form of inner critic that goes on in their head and often ends up displaying its power in a way that inflicts pain or judgment on others.
I will be the first to say that, when I reflect on my own journey, I have passed judgment simply due to my own insecurities. We are human and this isn’t a blog of “guilt, take me away.” I share this with you because we all have a choice to exercise judgement.
The first step of exercising your power of choice is to become aware of your inner critic’s voice and begin setting up strategies to pipe down that voice. Start engaging life in a more joyful and abundant way.
So now you might be asking yourself… how? How can I engage in life with more joy and less judgment? Well, I have a challenge for you!
1. How about first, each time that inner critic speaks its mind – you thank it for its input!
2. Next, you choose to exercise your power over acting on judgment.
Rather than sending that woman with beautiful cleavage a nasty look, you compliment her on her beauty and confidence and tell her “you go girl!” Next time another woman is selected on a project that you desired, congratulate her and ask, “how can I support you?”
Surrounded by mean girls? Share your kindness and joy! It’s contagious!
Hear a woman speaking up in a meeting that no one acknowledges? Amplify her idea to ensure she is heard and knows her opinion is valued.
Our words and our actions are powerful. They are habit-forming and have the power to condition us to be community, rather than competition. Embrace the beauty that all humans have gifts to share with one another and we are all connected. We are all a part of humanity.
“Be the person you want to see in the mirror.” ~ Natalie Iannone