The great TS Eliot - in his play The Elder Statesman - puts it best:
What is this self inside us, this silent observer,
Severe and speechless critic, who can terrorize us
And urge us on to futile activity
And in the end, judge us still more severely
For the errors into which his own reproaches drove us?
Ah, The Inner Critic ... Hello, old friend!
This voice lives inside our heads, exists to call out our flaws, flagellates us for having them and drives us onward in a never-ending quest to perfect ourselves.
For some, the voice is loud; others soft. For the rare few, non-existent.
Mine is pretty loud - squawking at me for minor infractions like snoozing a few times past my alarm, not exercising hard enough, wasting time reading the news or letting the home get dirty, dusty and generally um ... lived-in.
As I've gotten older, I've learned to quiet it a bit. I hear it, I recognize it and I tell it that it can take the day off. That I can handle things on my own, thank you very much.
But as I've been pondering my resolution of "less self-aggression; more self-compassion" (see last post) I have been wondering how my Christian faith is tied up with my Inner Critic.
Where does this inner critical voice come from?
Is it of God? Is it part of what it means to be aware of my own sin? Is it a voice the kindly leads me to repentance - to changing my mind about how I want to live and turning toward better ways?
Or is its origin elsewhere? And does it lead - if we let it - somewhere darker, more sinister?
Does this voice of indictment come from the source Christians call "The accuser?"
If so, how do I respond to it?
Is it some strange hybrid of both light and darkness?
And is part of my job to untangle the sources?
More questions than answers today.
Curious about your thoughts, though. Have you ever wondered about these things?
How loud is your inner critic?
Have you learned to quiet him or her at all?
To what or whom do you attribute the criticizing statements in your own head?
What is their source?