Have you ever noticed that the person we are most likely to fear embarrassment and judgment from is ourselves?
I’ve been sitting here, unable to come up with anything to write, and so I tried to write a poem. I thought if I could just put words on paper, it might get my creativity flowing. Yet I couldn’t get away from my own censorship. I attempted to write something, anything, no matter how awful it came out, but I could feel that awkward blush of embarrassment come over me.
It didn’t matter that no one else would see it. I still felt uncomfortable.
I wrote, “There’s a mission inside,” immediately crossed it out, and was done.
It made me think of an assignment I’ve given clients to draw a nude self-portrait. Although nobody would ever see it but them, the thought of being shamed as a bad artist – or revealed as having a less than perfect body – stops them in their tracks.
Shamed by who?
Why themselves, of course.
We talk a lot about not caring what others think, but really it’s our own opinions, our self-judgments, that paralyze us.
So I’d like to challenge you to do one thing each day for the next week that makes you feel awkward and uncomfortable and confronted by your inner critic. No one else has to know about it. This isn’t about letting go of outside judgment. This is just for you. To explore what it feels like to do something that makes you feel…silly. Stupid. Fat. Awkward. Corny. Ashamed.
Not sure how to start? Here are some suggestions of things that might bring up your inner critic and that you should do anyway:
- Draw a self-portrait.
- Write an ooey gooey, straight from your heart poem.
- Dance naked.
- Masturbate with abandon.
- Pretend you just won an Oscar and give your acceptance speech.
- Sing your favorite song as if you’re on American Idol.
You might do the same thing each day or try a different challenge every day. What matters is that you hear that voice that says, “You are too ____ to do this,” or, “You can’t do that because ____,” and you do it anyway.
Go ahead. I dare you.