How to Love Your Inner Task Master

I’ve developed a really loving relationship with my inner demons. Well, at least the ones I’ve had the courage to meet. There are others, I’m sure, but that’s a different post for a different day.

Today, I want to introduce you to that inner demon I like to call, “Super.” And I can hear Super right now, and she’s telling me she’s offended that I’m calling her a demon. So let’s call her an Inner Taskmaster.

Better? Okay.

My Inner Taskmaster is that part of me that regulates my desire to be Superwoman. I want to be perfect and she’s trying her darndest to help me get there.

She looks like a cartoon character out of The Incredibles. Imagine Edna with long straight, red hair (why red, I don’t know…) that gets all wild and unkempt when she’s been working too many late nights. Which happens all too often, as you might imagine it would in the impossible pursuit of perfection.

Truth be told, Super threatened to quit on me the other day if I didn’t give her more time off.

I gave her a day off and she came back with her hair in a tidy ponytail, ready to work, with a smile on her face. She did warn me though that I shouldn’t wait so long to give her another day off.

Let me tell you how I met my Super, and how you can meet yours. Yours, by the way, might not be called Super. It might not be a person. It might be an animal, an object, a piece of fruit. I don’t know what’s going to come out of your imagination. I’m thinking you won’t know either until you try it. Nudge nudge.

How to Meet Your Super:

Your super is your inner taskmaster. It’s that part of you that can’t calm down. The part that keeps you up at night, that writes lists when you’re trying to meditate, the part that quits yoga five minutes in because there’s just too much else to do. It’s that part of you that’s always working, even when you’re not at work. It’s that part of you that you can sometimes feel running around in circles, making it hard to breathe.

That’s your super.

How do you meet it?

You’ll need about thirty minutes the first time around. After that, you’ll be able to call it whenever you want to talk. But the first time, just find a quiet spot and close your eyes. Take three deep breaths to center yourself in your body. You don’t have to worry about being able to be calm right now. That’s not the goal. In fact, the more anxious or stressed out you are, the better! It means your super’s right there with you and will be easier to find.

Think about that part of you that can’t stop, that’s running lists in your head no matter what else you’re doing. As you take another breath in, ask yourself where in your body that part of you lives. Take a moment to mentally breathe into that part of your body.

Now, this is where you give your inner child complete permission to be imaginative. You don’t have to be an adult right now. Be a kid and have fun making something up. Imagine that “go-go-go” part of yourself as a cartoon character and really paint the picture. What does it look like? Is it an animal, a person, something else entirely? Introduce yourself and ask it it’s name.

Okay, have you met your super? Great. Now here’s the part where you become bosom buddies.

How to Love Your Super:

Now that you’ve met your super and learned its name, it’s time to find out a little more about it. Ask it what it’s doing there. Give it time to fully answer your questions without interrupting it. Ask it what it needs from you. Perhaps you might ask it if it likes being stressed all the time, and what you can do to help it relax. Allow yourself to sit down and have a cup of coffee/tea with your super and really listen to it. After all, it’s there for you. The least you can do is also be there for it.

Your super is not someone to try to banish or ignore.

If you want to relax and your super’s getting in the way, just take a moment to talk to it and find out what will help it chill out for a little while. Me personally? When I’m trying to meditate, I ask my super to go sit comfortably across the room and just observe. I let her know that she can analyze my meditation and my life as much as she wants after I’m done, as long as she just sits quietly and watches during my session. Then afterward, I listen to what she has to say. I learn more about myself and she gets to do her job. And lately, she’s actually been asking for more vacation time. I don’t really know what she does then. Maybe goes to the hair salon to get her brown roots touched up.

But when she comes back, I like to check in. “Hey Super,” I say. “How you doin’ today?”

She’s sitting next to me, I realize, and she just smiles. She looks down at her list.

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