Sunday, March 26, 2017

You only have one of you


I don't know who said this but we
could be friends.

The writer Anne Lamott says about inner critics: “Quieting these voices is at least half the battle I fight daily. But this is better than it used to be. It used to be 87 percent.”

Inner critics are a universal problem among writers; one of my inner critics was in my office before I got there the other day to remind me that 85% of the agents I submitted my novel to a couple of years ago, said "No."

"I wasn't sure you remembered that," said my inner critic.

When my kids were  younger, and they were leaving to go back to school, or away on a trip, or to the store for hot sauce, I used to say: "Be careful out there. I only have one of you."

Be careful out there. You only have one of you.

Be careful when you talk to yourself in reproachful, doubtful, reprimanding ways. Be careful when you feel small next to the fortune of others, or pummeled by fate, or unable to see past obstacles. Remember that while you have an inner critic, you also have an inner butler-defender who carries your tray of weapons: grace, resilience and your good glasses. 

Life is hard enough, already.
Don't make it harder.

You may not need more.
You may have enough, already.

You probably don't need attention.
You may just need to like your own company more.

Life is hard enough, already.
Don't make it harder.

Our libraries of intuition and instincts grow more powerful by the day
Learn to trust your own judgment.

We are more likable when we are being who we are without explaining.
Don't try to organize what others think of you.

We make it about avoiding mistakes, but we forget:
Normal life requires we understand the flaws in order to enjoy the improvements

We want to look back on a perfect present in the perfect future, but we forget:
It is not possible to do or know all the things we'll wish we did or knew in hindsight.

We shape and knead life, like bread dough until it looks like we want it to, but we forget:
We can't live inside a life we've put on display, we can only stand to the side of it.

You only have one of you. Be who you are.
Notice the things you are, that you once wished you could be. 
Know when it's enough, already.


14 comments:

  1. This describes so many of the lessons I've learned over the last few years Susan. I think finally realizing that perfection is not the be all and end all was the biggest eye-opener. Perfectionism is a killer.

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    1. It is a killer, Leanne. And it's a painful death. We miss so much that matters when we look for how to do things better all the time. I loved learning that more than anything, I think.

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  2. Yes life is difficult enough without putting more demands on ourself! Critics, ourself and others are not the last word!

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    1. It's amazing to me that with all we've been told - to be aware of self-talk and sabotaging ourselves - we still have to keep it in check. But we have to, or those inner critics will get loose and wreak havoc.

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  3. Thank you for these wonderful words of wisdom on this Monday morning. I always think that Mondays are the day to re-set. This words are very helpful.

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    1. Thank you, Ellen! What IS it about Monday. It seems I move at a snail's pace but my mind runs around like a small child at a carnival.

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  4. Thank you so much. Reading this was a small moment of grade in my day.

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    1. Hi Kathleen! Thank you, and I might steal that line of yours.

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  5. Ellen said it best. This was a helpful re-set to my Monday. Thank you, Brenda

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    1. Oh, thank you, I love to think it helped. Tough to turn that engine over on Monday, I agree.

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  6. A great reminder to start the week. That inner critic can be soul destroying but as I get older I think I am actually loving myself and who I am more each day.
    SUe from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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    1. A while back, I started thinking of inner critics as the mean girls in elementary school. Every school has them, they can ruin your day, but sooner or later, you just ignore them without even trying. Good for you, for being there.

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  7. I am guilty of listening to much. Great reminder to tell them to shut up!

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    1. Once I read the advice to talk back to them and I thought, "I'm not going to do that," but then I did, and I still do. I introduced my inner critic to my inner therapist and it seemed to help.

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