Tag Archives: people pleaser

How to deal with your inner critic or the dangers of positive thinking

I used to be a very positive person. With time, I realised that It wasn’t such a good thing. In fact, I believe it stopped my emotional progress. If you try to be positive when you are facing challenges or negative thoughts, you will as a consequence be in denial of your negative emotions. You will be thinking, as I did, “I am a positive person” and as a consequence you will deny your negative thoughts and feelings. The first danger is that you will become passive aggressive and project your negative feelings onto others. This is what happens to people who have issues with anger and who are by “coincidence” surrounded by angry people: their boss, father, boyfriend, husband, or their friends. But no, not them. They never have issues with anger. As a writer, you want to know about this process which is called mirroring. It will bring great depth to your characters.

Positive thinking is only helpful if practiced AFTER you have dealt properly with your emotions. There is no shortcut: Negative emotions have to be processed, experienced and embraced. Truly positive people tend to do that as quickly as possible. Negative people will dwell in the process and often enjoy the attention they get from complaining. They moght even manipulate you into doing what they want through making you feel bad about them. Very different. They make beautiful characters.

But being too positive also stopped my progress as a writer. Let me explain. If you deny your negative thoughts, you won’t hear them when they pop in your head. It doesn’t mean however that they won’t exist. It will just mean that they will live at the level of your subconscious and what they will do there is feed your inner critic who will be given a golden opportunity to get in the driver’s seat and create havoc in your life.

The best way to manage your inner critic (you know that little voice that is constantly nagging at you and putting you down) is not to ignore it, nor to silence it. The best strategy is to listen to it and become aware of its voice. Why? Because then it surfaces into your awareness, which drags it out of the driver’s seat of your life. For those who don’t know it yet, the subconscious is driving your car, always. And it always overrides your consciousness. It always sits in your blind spot. Believe me, you don’t want your inner critic there.

So what is the best way to deal with your inner critic? My suggestion is to engage with it after you acknowledge it for what it really is: a phantom that feeds on your fears and every single negative comment or remark anyone has ever made to you. Fears are only thoughts. Beliefs are only thoughts that you think are true. Recognise that you are not your thoughts. Recognise that your mind is full of junk and good thoughts, but probably a lot of junk. You are not your mind either. Talk to your inner critic. It is the part of you that is scared and that believed everything everyone said, but mostly the negative.

So when your inner critic tells you that you can’t write: realise that it is only trying to help you not make a fool of yourself. It is there to protect you (it really believes it does anyway). Only it has the emotional maturity of a toddler. So engage with it as if it was a toddler. Listen to it with compassion when it is having a tantrum. Hold it. Comfort it. And set boundaries: your inner critic needs to be given a time frame to complain or criticise. I would suggest ten minutes per day. After that, thank it for its voice and get on with your writing.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

Learn to say no

This is a follow up from my blog on excuse number 1: I don’t have time to write.

It is true that writers often have to juggle day jobs with social lives and various obligations. However, there is no such thing as not finding time for something unless time is used as an excuse. Some of you might find me harsh but I know for a fact that if I can write with four kids and running a business, than anyone can.

Learning to say no also comes into it. If you don’t know how to say no, your life is constantly going to be about pleasing others or not offending them and your needs will come last. This mean that you will, indeed, not have time to write. I used to be a people pleaser. I found it very hard to say no. At some level, I believed that if said no, no one would love me anymore. I would no longer have friends. My family would kill me.

But being a people pleaser meant that I was miserable. It wasn’t as clear as that because I had a great job, and lots of friends and beautiful children but somehow inside I felt empty and shallow and I thought I was being ungrateful. I had every reason to be happy, yet I felt awful. What was wrong with me? The problem wasn’t me. It wasn’t a lack of gratitude. The problem was that my needs were not met. I was starving on a soul level. This all came to a crunch in my thirties. I said to my sister: I have been a great daughter and wife, but what about me? So I made time for writing and doing mosaics which nourished my soul.

Learn to say no so you can make time for you. It’s not selfish. It’s about survival. Of course it’s important to keep the balance and not only live for yourself. What I mean is don’t always put others first. Not everyone has that issue, so this blog might not speak to you. Then good for you. The majority of my clients don’t know how to say no. They want to make everyone happy. Which works on a level. If your loved ones, your boss, your friends are happy, you are going to be happy too. Yes? Well, no. Not in the long run. Denying yourself to please others does not work.

Saying no gracefully is an art that can be learnt. I suggest at first when someone asks you if you can do something with them or for them, pretend you can’t say. Just practice answering “I need to check my diary, let me get back to you on this”. Even if your diary is in your bag. Nobody is going to actually request to check your bag to make sure you are not lying. And if they do, I suggest you might want to reconsider being in their lives. Or you could just say “I hope you don’t mind but can I get back to you on this later?” Then go home and ask yourself “Do I really want to do this? Or am I saying this to please others?”With practice it will be easier.

Then comes the next step: actually saying no. This is not as hard as it seems. I practice saying no gracefully with my kids. It’s great. If I am eating and they ask me for something, for example, I tell them to wait until I finish my lunch. This wasn’t always the case. Plus I had been raised in a family where no and shouting were usually closely associated. There was no such thing as a graceful no. A relaxed and happy no. Well I love graceful nos. and I hope you will learn to love them to.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere