Healing the Inner Critic + Shame CycleMay 24, 2023
I have been known to go from one extreme to the next on my healing journey and in life. In my 20s, I was going out every night partying 🥂. Once I turned 25, it seemed I immediately traded in this lifestyle for daily yoga + meditation, no TV and going sober for 2 years 🧘♀️.
I have found on my healing journey, that once I discover something as 'unhealthy' or not as ''enlightening, I scrape every last residue of it from my life 👋. When I first learned Ayurveda, I would constantly research pitta pacifying foods and obsess over having a completely cooling diet for balancing my dosha. At another point on my journey, I was completely vegan, gluten, dairy and sugar free 😱. Another time, I've had 3 hour morning routines, would meditate for 2 hours daily and practice kundalini yoga for an hour... all in one day! 😨 What can I say, I love to be all in and completely devoted.
However, I've realized with each of these experiences, that in being 'devoted' to my healing, conscious, spiritual journey, I've lost the plot. When I was focused on having the perfect pitta diet, I had anxiety every time I went out to eat and felt deep shame after majority of my meals. When I was completely vegan, I also happen to gain 25 lbs, have increased inflammation 🔥and weighed heavily with every type of emotion 😟😖😭. When I was practicing yoga and meditation daily, I striped myself of experiencing any joy and would dread getting out of bed. While in hindsight it is very clear how 'unhealthy' these choices and practices actually were for me, at the time, I gripped so tightly to these identities.
I deeply feared not being the perfect spiritual or health role-model and couldn't bear to face the shame of someone calling me out for it. So I made sure that no one would be able to call me a fraud or a fake, because gosh dammit I was the perfect embodiment of health! 🤪
When I started to explore these tendencies to be all in or nothing, I started to hear the whispers of the inner perfectionist aka the voice of the inner critic. The inner perfectionist who avoids shame like the plague (according to Shame researcher Brene Brown) and will do everything in her power to make outward appearances appear... well perfect. A similar shame I have witnessed in my familial lineage. The burden of worrying what other people think of you. I talk about this a lot with my friends about how our parents and grandparents grew up in the white picket fence era 🏠. If it looks perfect, then they must be happy. I picked up this shame as my own and showcased it as a life-long obsession over my weight. This was highlighted during my years as a competitive dancer who wore extremely revealing costumes that accentuated every body insecurity you can imagine as a growing teenager. The shame was so heavy, I tried to alleviate it with an ED, oscillating between bulimia and anorexia.
While I deeply learned how to love and cherish my body after healing from the ED, the perfectionist mind continued to make her saucy appearance. As I officially entered the healing realm as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, my perfectionist tendencies started to bleed through my diet and lifestyle practices. There was such a deep shame for not practicing it perfectly 😖. This even bled into my connection to spirituality. If I didn't meditate every day, if I drank, if I expressed anger, shame, shame and more shame.
I knew the only way I was going to heal my relationship to this shame was to find the root of when it was first developed. While I definitely had shame handed to me from my ancestral lineage, as all of us do, I also began to take responsibility for the shame I took on as my own growing up in a Catholic church. The puritanical views that were embedded in my psyche shaped my belief systems of thinking everything had to be either right or wrong or black or white. There was also the blatant shame than drowned me as a little girl feeling terrified and utterly humiliated for my sins🙏 and having to constantly repent for them. When I think about the whole act of reconciliation, it seems pretty absurd to me right now. Go hide in a dark corner of a room with your face covered , spewing all your darkest secrets to a person of authority who will give you your punishment? Oh help me lord!
In finding the roots of my shame, I began to release a bit of taking allll the blame and understand that I wasn't some awful little girl constantly making wrong decisions and being a 'bad' person. This understanding started to unlock my heart chakra 💗and allowed me to open my heart to receive unconditional love and distinguish it from conditional. Conditional love means only being worthy to receive under said circumstances. Unconditional love was realizing and embracing my humanness and understanding I am always worthy to receive God's love.
Now, I still find the voice of the inner critic wanting to shame me whenever I eat something and my digestion goes beserk 🤪 or if I make a mistake in my business that costs me time and/or money 🤑. However, the growth is in realizing that I even made this distinction between that voice and my truth. I talk to the voice of my inner critic now, just as I would talk to the little girl who thought she was terrible for being a human. I understand you are worried about not receiving love from choosing the 'wrong' thing, but the truth is there is no such thing! In fact, I love when you choose the 'wrong' thing because you learn how to grow and transform your pain. And darling, that is just the most beautiful thing I have ever seen 🥰.
The Divine Feminine Healer