Hey Big Britches: Who Do You Think You Are?
“If you donâ€™t start out too big for your britches, how are you gonna fill â€˜em when you grow up?”Â ~Stephen King
Either during childhood, or as an adult have you ever had a â€œbigâ€ idea, a wondrous dream, or a sudden burst of self-confidence to try something new, only to be reeled in by your internal (generally critical) voice? That inner voice generally pipes up with something judgmental thatâ€™s akin to, â€œWho do you think you are?â€
Suddenly, you find yourself in an internal tug-of-war of sorts between your confident, forward moving occasionally tenacious self and the other self â€“that one who holds you back by causing you to question your ability, and frankly, to doubt your worthiness and deserving.
If youâ€™re anything like me, youâ€™ve heard those voices say things like:
- You always start a new project and never finish it.
- You tried something like this before and failed.
- Why do you think it will be different this time?
- You didnâ€™t grow up in a family that did things like this.
- No one in your family has ever amounted to anything.
- Youâ€™re full of big ideas that never come to fruition.
- Youâ€™re such a dreamer; get real.
- Donâ€™t be so full of yourself.
- What makes you think you can do this?
- Youâ€™re getting too big for your britches.
That last one, Iâ€™m pretty sure came from my mother. That colloquial term â€œbritchesâ€ is a dead giveaway! And thatâ€™s sort of important to know, because the truth is, the messages were not formed in a vacuum; they came from lessons learned from othersâ€¦who learned their messages from othersâ€¦who learnedâ€¦well, you get it, right? Over the course of a lifetime, youâ€™ve been conditioned by both real and imaginary voices, most of which youâ€™ve absorbed from others â€“external sources of those who in truth, probably didnâ€™t know what was in your best interest. Their opinions were just a projected spewing of their inner dialogs. And chances are, youâ€™ve probably believed that it was you speaking in your head. And based on a long-term study of human behavior, Iâ€™m going to bet that youâ€™ve internalized more negative messages than positive messages, leaving you with a very vocal inner critic.
So what do you do to move those hurdles out of the way? What are some ways that you personally can come up with to effectively handle the oppositions to your success?
Here are some ways that I have used to silence the inner critic and clear the ancestral chatter:
- First, I evaluate the critical message.
- Is it true? Is there a bit of truth? Or is it a completely false message? Is it mine? Do I own it or is it someone elseâ€™s opinion?
- Next I look to determine if it helps me in some way? Sometimes there is a subconscious belief that the learned message is in some way protecting me from dangerous (read that as â€œuncharteredâ€) territory.
- In that case, is the danger real or imagined? Is the danger simply an unfounded fear of the unknown or is it actually just an excuse to play small by not exploring and expanding the possibilities?
- I consciously shift my inner critic messages to messages of accomplishment â€“whenever my negative voices show up, I remind myself of the positive qualities I possess, and I back that up by focusing on accomplishments both big and small.
- I use the mirror as a place for feedback and personal growth, and begin by looking at myself in the mirror and saying, â€œYes, this may be true about me, and what is also true is thatâ€¦.â€ As an example: â€œYes, sometimes I do sometimes have grandiose ideas and dreams and I am really productive when I align with an idea and put my whole self â€“mind, body, and spirit into it.â€
Finally, itâ€™s most important to remember that whenever we hear that pesky critical inner voice asking such judgmental questions as, â€œJust who do you think you are?â€ we alone have the power to turn the volume up, down, or better yet, turn it off. And as we consciously replace the negative messages of an inner critic with a supportive, nurturing one that speaks power into who we are, that part of us blossoms into the personal we were born to be.
Commit to listen closely to the inner voice, and decide what to own and what to release. Click To TweetThere is much empowerment in the results of deciding what fits and what does not belong to you. And if it doesnâ€™t make you look and feel like a million bucks, express gratitude to the message for its well-meaning lesson of keeping you safe; tell it you appreciate it and now itâ€™s time to release it. Say good-bye and replace the released message with a new supportive message that affirms you. It’s time to grow consciously into those big girl britches!