Manchester, UK

On Second Thought – Your Inner Critic Could Be Your Biggest Fan

Rachy Lewis

She chats away like she owns the place; blabby and loud like she has absolutely nothing to figure out. Ever since she walked in and took her rightful seat at the table, she’s never stepped a foot out the door, and even better, never intends to any time soon. Her energy is wild, her aura unmatched. There’s something about her, almost animalistic even, that cannot be tamed.
A walking contradiction: she has a way of taking every side while taking no stance at all. Friend to everyone, lover of none. She’ll wage war for you with her lips, while simultaneously calling you out for being a wuss. There are not many left like her, hot-blooded in stunning bright red, yet grey and complicated. When you’re set on a yes, she’s bent on a thousand different reasons why your choice is not only wrong but the wrongest one you could ever make. Nonetheless, when you shake your head from side to side, she points out all the bright places you may never get to see because of your split-second irresponsible decision. She wears her heart on her sleeves at all time, even though it means breaking yours most times.

She is the voice in my head. Always in attendance without invitation and somehow always better dressed than the host.

We all have one, an inner voice and while I cannot be sure of what characterises yours, mine sure does have a field day up there – all. the. time.

It’s a complicated relationship I have with her. She’s the first to listen in on my ideas before anyone else. She’s the first to mock them and laugh at my over-achieving ambitions, but she’s also the fist to stop and listen, analyse and evaluate. Then she becomes an aggressive sports coach forcing accomplishments on me and putting pressure on where there previously wasn’t any.

What would people think if they could hear every thought in your head? Would they love or loathe you? Exalt or despise you? Is the voice in your head a naked view of who you truly are? Is it an extension of you? Or is it just a means to an end: the one that puts all the cards out on the table enabling you to make informed choices?
Perhaps, it is all of the above.

Rachy Lewis
Rachy Lewis

The voice in our heads is multifaceted. It can take on so many roles at a time. it thrives in nuance and can just exist without having to be consistent in any way. It can cheer you on and tear you down in the amount of time it takes to finish a cup of coffee, but somehow, we learn to live with that continuous rambling only we can hear – to each their own; a different voice.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about a way we can change our perspective on the person living up there. What if you thought of your inner critic as your biggest fan rather than someone watching your every move whilst awaiting your downfall?

I’ve gone through various phases while growing up. I had the Disney phase I’m sure every kid born in the late ’90s had. I knew every single Camp rock song by heart and doing karaoke alone in my room at odd hours of the night didn’t get old for a long while. Then there was that time I was so obsessed with actor Justin Hartley during his Smallville days that I carried his picture in my wallet as a teenager. His picture was right in front of my mom’s and back then I clearly didn’t know what embarrassment was – yikes. What about that time I only listened to Ciara for about five months straight or when I discovered TaylorSwift as a young teen and never jumped off that train ever since. In other words, I do nothing in moderation or halfway. It’s all or nothing around these parts.

Most of us are or have been at a point proficient fanatics, with some experiences taking up more life defining moments than others. Sometimes you were a fan of a person, an artist or a piece of work for about five minutes which could have become as insignificant as a passing thought or could have been ground-breaking enough to become the reason you do what you do today.

Here’s the thing, being a fan doesn’t have to mean you are so obsessed you do not see the flaws in the thing or person that holds all your current attention. It doesn’t mean you will not disapprove of their lifestyle when they mess up, hold them accountable or critique their latest releases. You don’t automatically become blind to right or wrong just because you love your faves, and most certainly, you do not feel inclined to applaud their bad behaviour. Of course, some people choose to bow down in awe of the things they love and turn a blind eye to the unjustifiable, but maybe that just means you’ve fallen a little too deep and that is never healthy.

But what if you viewed your inner critic as if they were your biggest fan?

Someone who wished you well and cheered you on. A person who watched you go through the motion and growing pains, identified with you and share your pain and story every step of the way. What if you took on self-criticism like it was coming from a fan who just wanted to see you succeed – no bad intention or devious intent. This doesn’t mean you need to feed every single voice that steps into your head or entertain every mean or silly thought. After all, critics get it wrong too and not every advice or opinion needs to be taken on or even pondered upon. You can despise a song with all your being and it will still hit number one on the Billboard charts in the same way a movie you rated the ‘best ever’ will tank at the box office.

I feel like if we can change the way we think about the voice in our heads, perhaps we can take things a little easier, without adding to the pressure of the world on our shoulders all on our own. At the same time, you’d be rooting for yourself and watching out for rocky paths in the way and that’s the best part because, in the end, you are bound to be stuck with you forever.

Your restless romantic roamer

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