You could have done better.
They are so great at this, you’d be lucky to have at least a drop of their talent.
You’re not good enough. Probably never will be.
You should just walk out of here and quit trying.
Every time I hear the voice of my inner critic, I feel paralyzed. Like I have the energy to break away, but instead of doing that, I run in place, as if I’m in a typical nightmare. Like I cannot switch to my full potential because the inner critic draws my energy, attentively observing and stating everything that in his opinion I’m doing wrong. All of us have this annoying overconfident voice in our heads coming out of literally nowhere. And must I say, the timing of his appearance is always really bad.
I was impatiently waiting for this lesson. In fact, impatiently is how I wait for every lesson, as the further we go, the more I want to know and the less I want to stop. Every second is priceless. And today, between the very simple, but never easy exercises, Scott talked about our inner critic:
“We were born without our inner critic.”
and run back to the time when I was a toddler. But the interesting fact is that the primary intent of the inner critic is good – he wants to keep us safe. Though his performance might be weird and generously endowed with our parents’ qualities and admonitions. It makes perfect sense: we were born without a hint that something or someone can hurt us, but later on our parents and society established the borders we shouldn’t cross and told us who we should be and how we should behave.
“We will never get rid of our inner critic… But we can make a deal with him.”
The way I deal with my inner critic is very simple. I call this “moment of courage” and use it literally every time I’m anxious when doing something I really care about. Because those are the moments when our inner critic hits us the hardest. So, the secret is to literally throw yourself in the situation that you’re scared of facing. Let’s take our lessons and Meisner exercises, for instance. From time to time, I’ll be doubting myself, comparing myself to others, over exaggerating, and my inner critic would want me to sit in my place and never go out there to practice, because I might be hurt or might make a mistake. He doesn’t want me to feel any kind of pain. So I’m doing the opposite: as soon as I hear the question “Who wants to go next?”, I’ll be taking my moment of courage to take a step forward. After I’m out, there’s no point for the inner critic to talk to me, as there is nothing to keep me safe from. He shuts up because he knows that he has to let me do my best in the situation that I’ve put myself in.
The other interesting fact is that there is literally no place for the inner critic in Meisner exercises. Neither for my inner critic, nor for my partner’s or any of Scott’s students’ inner critics. The speed is so quick, that there is no possibility for him to keep up with the pace of an exercise and all the crazy amount of impulses splashing out from us every second. I even think it was the first time after a while that I’ve experienced what it’s like to be without the inner critic. It’s so… Freeing. And you know what? He always tells us we are not good enough, but it is when he’s silent we are at our best, because there’s nobody to cut our wings.