Dear Inner Critic…

Thank you for your strong opinions. In some ways, they’ve served me well. In other ways, they’ve held me back.

The more I listen, the more I realize you are a collective consciousness of the people I grew up around. My entire life, I’ve been told I’m not good enough. I could’ve gotten a better grade. I’m too fat. I’m too skinny. My hair is too curly. My money management is terrible. I’m pretty, but I have no brain. I’m not pretty, and I have no brain. I’m too smart. I’m too ignorant. I have terrible skin. I’m too quiet. I’m too opinionated. I’m too nice. I’m not nice enough. I’m too aggressive. No matter what… something was/is always lacking.

As I’ve taken time to listen, to really listen, I’ve recognized where each critique stems from. You are the voice of my parents. You’ve internalized all of those messages. You’ve learned to judge us based on impossible standards. Truth is, I can never get your approval just as I could never get theirs. The expectation is too high and never quite defined. As my therapist pointed out, “why would I even try?”

I try because I know deep down this is part of the wound. I try because I know you just need love. I try because I understand that all you need to acceptance. I try because I can’t give up on us. I try because I’m all you have. I try because I see the little girl desperately wanting to be loved.

My dear inner critic, my promise to you is that I will continue to try. I will listen. I will see you. I will accept you. I will love you. It will take time, but I promise I will not leave you.

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