Comforting My Critical Self

You know you have an internal critic when your therapist tells you that you have an “Integrated Self” and a “Critical Self.”

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Yes, You Are Beautiful

Standing at my sink mid-day in the soft sun, I tend to the bowls and pans used to make banana bread. The oven heats the sugar, flour, eggs, yogurt, and slivers of banana nestled within its crumb. An aroma like a holiday morning at grandma’s lingers in the air. I choose Christy Nockel’s “Be Held”…

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Hungry for Worth

When I was in college, I heard a rumor that the cute girls who worked in the cafeteria would take all the leftover slices of pie from the food line and eat as much as they could hold; then, they would force themselves to vomit. I was so jealous. I tried, yes, but my body…

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Sins of the Father

Many times, I’ve told myself that I’m my own worst enemy–my own harshest critic. Perfection has been my goal for as long as I can remember. Sometimes this exaggerated need compels me to stop short of completing a task because I know, just know, it won’t be perfect. The roots of this behavior are multi-generational.

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Ugly Hope

Moving through loss is messy and unattractive. A few years ago, there was a song made popular by a country singer who lamented her mama’s advice: “Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady.”* Or, as others have said, “fake it till you make it.” There is a certain value in this…

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Making Peace with My Inner Critic

For the first forty-some years of my life, my inner critic was always on duty. Experience taught me that if I recognized my mistakes and quickly course-corrected, I could avoid being called out or criticized. Any honest perfectionist will admit that it’s shameful when others notice our mistakes before we do. And since shame is…

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The Cold Metal Scissors

I was proud of my long hair. I was noticed, and I received comments on the “pretty blonde” color which had grown almost to my waist. I bragged about how it had never been “officially” cut, but only trimmed at home. One way my mom showed care for me was with my hair. When I…

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Out of Hiding

Lottie Hillard wrote an article called “The Shame of Needing” that could have been written about me. Fifteen years ago when I was in graduate school for counseling, I recall one of the advisors saying that my shame was gregarious. I carried an air of confidence, moving in relationships with classmates and clients with charm and…

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To Withstand One’s Own Wrath

Entering the office today, before saying hello to anyone, addressing the day’s agenda, or even putting down my bag, I internally itemized a long list of things askew. Pillows awry in room 7. Table decor down in room 3. Side table off center in room 1.  Dirty plate and to-go box in kitchen. And in…

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Believing Lies, Knowing Truth

Believing the lies today. Know the truth. Doesn’t matter. Believing the lies anyway. They are swirling all around me in a feeding frenzy. Feeding on each other and growing stronger and darker and louder. Yet they aren’t shouting. That would be wasted energy. They whisper. Inept. Incapable. Inadequate. Incompetent. Inferior. And the whispers echo everywhere.…

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