I’ve written before about the Mean Girl, our inner critic, inside our head that whispers negativity and drags us down. After a while we start to believer her and some of us just give up and never realise our dreams because we continue to believe the lies.
My guest this week, is Molly Totoro and I was delighted to receive her thoughts for the Over 50 & Thriving Series. I haven’t known Molly for very long, but I look forward each week to her posts and in particular the journey she has been taking as she works through the Julia Cameron book, The Artist’s Way Series, It’s Never Too Late to Begin. In fact, it was because of Molly that I purchased the book and have found it invaluable.
Molly writes today about her ‘Delilah’ and the lies she has been told so many times that she started to believe them. As Molly has worked through this she has realised that unless we let go of the lies we will never thrive. I’m sure this post will resonate with many of you and please connect with Molly through her links at the end of the post.
Thriving Requires Letting Go of the Lies
I learned how to live by watching my mother die.
This has been my mantra for the past decade.
The final years of Mom’s life were difficult. Her husband of 55 years unexpectedly passed away. She not only suffered from unexpressed grief, but her heart health required constant tweaking of medication. She grew weary of hospital stays and loneliness. Eventually, she gave up and chose to merely exist.
While I did not judge her choices — she did what she felt was best for her at the time — I knew it was not the right decision for me. See, I not only wanted to live, I wanted to thrive.
The problem, however, was I operated on autopilot. The demands of the sandwich generation meant the concerns of children and parents eclipsed my own. Between teaching, grading, running children to after-school activities, and making frequent visits to see Mom, I lost sight of me. So in 2011, when I became an orphaned empty-nester, I had no idea who I was a part these roles.
It was also at this time that my inner critic (I’ve named her Delilah) took control of my thought-life.
She constantly reminded me that I was not good enough. She knew I was not a certified teacher and she called into question my vocation. She knew I was shy and reserved and convinced me I was better off alone. She knew I loved to write but feared rejection, so she made fun of my author dreams.
I thought Delilah spoke truth.
I thought Delilah wanted the best for me.
I trusted her.
But how can I thrive when I’m a hermit in my nook?
How can I live an abundant life without dreams?
The truth is – I can’t.
Following Delilah’s advice to play it safe was lulling me into mere existence. I could either find the strength to stand up to her lies or I could give up.
My mantra saved me.
I knew the battleground was my mind. It was time to trade out lies for truth. It was time to reclaim my life.
First, I made a list of all the lies I believe. I knew claiming the lie was the first step. Next, I replaced the lie with what I know to be truth. I’m now working on replacing that voice that keeps me small with a fresh new voice that allows me to grow. This does not happen overnight, however. Old tapes are particularly stubborn.
But I refuse to give up. This is a battle worth fighting.
The Lie: Practice makes perfect.
Truth: Practice makes progress.
The Lie: Play is for children.
Truth: Play connects us to our inner child.
The Lie: My value is based on my accomplishments.
Truth: My value comes from simply being me.
The Lie: Remaining silent avoids conflict.
Truth: Remaining silent makes me invisible.
The Lie: Self-love is selfish.
Truth: Self-love is necessary to love others.
The Lie: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Truth: It’s never too late to begin again.
The Lie: Comfort Zones are comfortable.
Truth: Comfort Zones are prisons.
The Lie: Multi-tasking is the key to productivity.
Truth: Mindfulness allows you to find joy in the moment.
The Lie: Confidence is arrogance and conceit.
Truth: Confidence is accepting who were created to be.
The Lie: You can please all the people if you simply try hard enough.
Truth: Simply be yourself and you will find your tribe.
These are the lies I hear on a daily basis. You may hear others. But I encourage you to stop listening long enough to discern the voice. Is it one of love and acceptance? If so, you are on the right track.
Keep nurturing that voice and press on to a life of abundance.
If, however, it is a voice of harsh criticism accompanied by the wagging finger of shame… it is time to kick that free-loader out of your head and find a kinder roommate.
Do you have a ‘Delilah’, ready to tear you down? What are some ways you combat the lies that your inner critic whispers to you?
Let’s Keep Sizzling!