I really appreciate Hal and Sidra Stone’s book, Embracing Your Inner Critic, where they explore the internal critical voice. They explain that we all have a radio station in our mind call K –RAZY. It’s the station that we tune into when the other stations aren’t working.
The songs played at K-RAZY are all familiar but we don’t love any of them. We can expand the metaphor a little and say that listening to K-RAZY makes us feel crazy because we remember all the words to the songs that make us feel bad about ourselves.
One of the exercises in the book invites us to start paying attention to the lyrics of the songs played on your personal K-RAZY station. You can even ask yourself a few questions to get started changing your tune.
The following questions are a combination of my own self-awareness techniques and an excerpt from the book in the section called, Where Did Your Inner Critic Come From?
- What negative thinking might have started in Elementary school?
- What did a teacher say to you that hurt or embarrassed you?
- What is the worst thing a friend/classmate said to you?
- What are the “worst characteristics that a person could have, according to your grade school classmates?”
I remember one of my grade school teachers mocking me after I had asked her for help with a math problem. I stood at her desk next to her as she worked the problems while I watched. I had difficulty understanding how she was able to start and end the equation with the right answer but when I followed the process I never got the right answer? My confidence was shattered. As I walked away from her desk, still confused, she sang out loud for everyone to hear, “Off to the funny farm we go, Ha-Ha, He-He, Ho-Ho…”
It really hurt my feelings after I got home and asked about what a funny farm was – I had assumed it was a cartoon. I felt stupid when I couldn’t understand math. Then that song replayed in my head! A song about where “crazy” people are taken which had been sung about me and my math skills.
That’s when my K-RAZY station started playing the song – “Math isn’t good for me because it makes me crazy.”
This silly but sad story is an example of how easily a child creates a negative/critical script that can last a lifetime. You may have scripts like this running in your life too. Take some time to remember them by using the questions listed in this article. You can’t change the lyrics into something you love hearing if you don’t make yourself more aware of what you’ve been singing along with since childhood. There are songs with better lyrics waiting to be written.
Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., L.P.C.
Better By Monday is a blog about one thing you can do, try or practice over the weekend to feel a little bit better by Monday