Mar 26, 2014
There are six major accusations your inner critic (Harriet) likes to throw at you (6 weapons of personal destruction). In my previous post I illustrated how to refute the first two of those accusations and silence Harriet.
Today, we're moving onto the next of Harriet's accusations, one I'm sure you're all very familiar with:
#3 You're a Phony
Silencing Harriet on this point starts with remembering that you tend to adopt what I call "an armor" when your self-doubts are strongest. "The armor" is a role you retreat into to avoid the pain of feeling badly about yourself or like a failure. Below are some typical "armor roles."
Start by picking the ones you most identify with:
Someone who needs nobody
Now take a moment to reflect on your list of "armors" and how they have affected your growth and happiness both in your personal and professional relationships. Think of these "armors" as natural strengths you've overused in order to create a protective shell around yourself—a way to compensate for, or to master, a lack of confidence.
Now pick out the two "armors" you feel have caused you the most problems in your life. Take a moment to identify the self-doubt you've been covering up with these "armors". Doing this will enable you to finally start stepping out of your protective armor and begin addressing one of the major causes of your emotional hunger—your own self-doubt.
Harriet, however, will now likely jump at the chance of accusing you of being a phony due to the fact that you've been wearing your "armor". And you'll likely start feeling on shaky ground about yourself, and perhaps even begin retreating into another of your "armors" to cope.
To prevent all that, let's take the example of Amy to show just how to talk back to Harriet:
Amy has always enjoyed being alone. Her parents said she used to spend hours in her room caught up in an imaginative world of play. While Amy's capacity to spend time alone in a productive way is something she likes about herself, lately she's been using it as a cover-up. She's an artist who paints for many hours in her studio. While she's painting she snacks on Gummi Bears and soda. She's gained thirty pounds in the past year. She tells everyone she's just so busy preparing for her gallery opening that she can't socialize anymore. But in reality, she doesn't want anyone to see how much weight she's gained.
She's hiding behind her loner armor.
So, here's how Amy's successful inner-dialog with Harriet could go down:
Harriet: Amy, you're a phony. You're not really an artist who needs to be alone. You're hiding out because you're afraid to take risks to meet people, and you know they're going to think you're fat now that you've gained weight.
Amy: No, Harriet. I actually do like being alone, but you're right that I've been alone more than I want to be lately.
Harriet: You don't even know who you are underneath that armor.
Amy: I do know who I am. I'm an artist, and I like my work, and I'm trying my best. I'm just afraid no one will love the me that's underneath this armor.
Harriet: Well, you're too chicken to even put yourself out there to see if they might.
Amy: You're right. Up until now I have been, but I've taken lots of risks with my art and I've been well received. Maybe I can take some risks with people, too.
When you admit that you've been wearing your armor simply because you're scared, Harriet won't provide you with the compassion or understanding you want or need. But YOU can provide it for YOURSELF simply by understanding that underneath your heavy "armor" is a worthy human being for whom Harriet's—or anyone else's exaggerated criticisms for that matter—simply aren't true.
It's painful being accused of being a phony. Just as it's painful to realize that you've adopted an "armor" to protect yourself. The first pain stops the second you silence Harriet by using your intelligent mind, something we work actively on in the ShrinkYourself program. The second pain soon passes when you realize it's the signal of the next phase of your growth...
Just as the caterpillar breaks free of it's cocoon to transform into the butterfly, so, too, will you step out of your old "armor" and into the true genuine self you are meant to be.
...and won't that break Harriet's heart.
Join me next week as I move onto the fourth of Harriet's accusations: You're a pretend adult and don't deserve the full rights of adulthood.