“Dad! Dad! Can I be an astronaut?”
“Don’t be stupid son. You come from Doncaster.” ~ Steve McDermott
Last month I published a post in the wake of the killings in Paris called Hands up if you’re scared. The thrust of the piece was about fear, and the natural (and adaptive) reactions we have to dangerous situations. It was also about the exploitation of that fear, by both terrorists and political hawks.
In addition to those external voices of doom, we also have to be on our guard against our own internal enemy. The voice from within plays into the hands of the arguments of external fear-mongers. Many people have studied and written about the many forms our internal voice takes. Sometimes we can think of it as our conscience, our guide, our fairy godmother, looking out for us and keeping us on the straight and narrow. Or it may manifest in more malevolent form, talking down your talent or competence, criticizing your ideas or dreams, mocking your attempts to break free from “who you are”.
Over many years of working with people as they seek to overcome internal obstacles, I have heard people describe their ‘inner critic’ or ‘gremlin’ in many different ways, but whatever form they take, they tend always to say the same sorts of things to us.
- “What makes you think you can do that?”
- “You’ll fail and look stupid.”
- “You’ll never amount to anything.”
- “Who’s going to listen to you?”
- “Who do you think you are?”
I recommend watching this interview between Oprah Winfrey and Brene Brown. The whole interview is fascinating, but if you only have a few minutes to spare, Continue reading