I do, and she can be especially loud when I have been less than perfect. And, it seems most everyone else has the same issue.
Yesterday I had two separate conversations with friends who each felt badly because of something they had said or done. They were both feeling a fair amount of anxiety because of this. As I listened to them I was reminded once again of how we need to find ways to quiet that inner critic and to be kind to ourselves.
We can be so hard on ourselves!
Lately, I’ve been playing with the power of smiling. I’m not talking about an overt grin, just a gentle inner smile which doesn’t even have to be visible to the outside world. I’ve found that anytime I notice that my critic is hard at work, I consciously change my expression so that I have the experience of smiling.
It’s amazing just how much that simple act can change the chemistry in my body. In that moment my mood lightens and my perspective changes. I stop taking myself so seriously and find that life is much more fun.
The inner critic is intent on demanding perfection, especially when we speak to an audience. But we are all only human. We make mistakes.
Smiling helps us celebrate our humanity. It reminds us to be gentle with ourselves, to be kind to ourselves, and to be more accepting of who we really are. When we don’t take ourselves too seriously, our audiences gravitate to our authenticity.
The simple act of smiling will make life feel much less stressful and speaking much more fun!