Tame Your Inner Critic

July is right around the corner. Yikes! This means that we are heading into the most intense time of summer and sometimes resistance can come out in full effect. For that reason, I thought I would focus on our inner critic because that just what may be what’s holding us back from obtaining our summer goals.

When I need to start a certain task (that I don’t want to do), I have to try a variety of tips and tricks to get stuff done: freestyling (which is starting each task, but finishing none), motivational music, talking on the phone while I work, compartmentalizing each project and even timing myself. But once I actually start something, sometimes my inner critic comes out with a vengeance. It becomes a wide range of ugliness including (but not limited to) a litany of my shortcomings, questions about my competence to complete the project at hand, doubts about the importance of the work I’m doing, undecidedness to scratch everything & start all over, or better yet, persistent pleas to stop working because nothing is turning out as expected. In short, my inner critic is judgmental, and burdensome. It’s no wonder that I resist getting anything done!

Thankfully, one thing I’ve learned from other people over the years is that I’m not the only one with a hyperactive inner critic. If all of this sounds familiar, then let me suggest some strategies you can try when your inner critic runs amok and threatens to shut your productivity down. They are all aimed to help you reflect on your negative internal messages, release yourself from a sense of powerlessness over your inner critic, and respond in a way that enables you to talk back to the critic’s negative messages. These strategies are intended to minimize the impact that inner critic has on your productivity while creating alternatives that motivate and empower you.

Track Your Inner Critic’s Dialogue

The first step to taming your inner critic is to record his/her negative messages. This doesn’t have to be cumbersome or complicated — just keep a few post-it notes close by and write down the messages your inner critic tosses out so freely. Do this for a week & you will have your critic’s full script. Seeing a week’s worth of data will enable you to identify your critic’s patterns and question the messages by asking: Are these things true? Are they consistent with the reality of my past performance? Are they simply a repetitious and exaggerated statement of my deepest fears? Where are these messages coming from? Also, take note if there are places and times that your inner critic comes out more strongly (morning vs. evening, private vs. public, etc.)

Personify Your Inner Critic

Once you can picture your inner critic as a person, you can engage in a relationship with him/her. You can ask her to leave when she’s not welcome, or you can tell her to be quiet, stop lying, and take her fear-mongering elsewhere.

Develop An Alternative

At some point, we have to create a new and positive script to replace the negative one that our inner critic keeps repeating. There are many different ways to do this and, of course, you can create your own based on what you feel comfortable trying. I’ve seen people successfully change the script by visualizing an alternative to their critic in the form of an inner angel/guide/protector/superhero that can talk back to the critic when she shows up. I’ve also seen people stop working when they feel overwhelmed by their inner critic and create an inner dialogue between themselves and their critic (or their hero and their critic). Others develop a series of positive affirmations to combat the negativity of their critic.

Invite Your Critic Into The Process

The thing about inner critics is that they aren’t completely negative or worthless. While critics can be destructive in some instances, they can also be quite useful when given a job other than tearing you down. Some people invite their inner critic by weaving those substantive insights into their work. Others encourage their inner critic to let loose when it comes to improving their work. The key is shifting all that intensity appropriately away from you and into your work. Ultimately, inner critics are at their most destructive when they work on us quietly and without notice. Shining a light on your critic, identifying her silly quirks and strategizing about how to work effectively with (and around) her, won’t make her disappear entirely, but these actions will diminish a significant portion of her power over you.

If you are regularly haunted by a hyperactive inner critic, I hope this week brings you the commitment to track your critic’s messages, the strength to question those messages, and the creativity to try whatever alternative is meaningful and empowering to you.

How do you quiet your ‘inner critic’?

How Not To Fall

As a member of the body of Christ, it’s time for us to get back to our roots and pray even more
than ever before.  

I’m guilty of this as well; sometimes when you’re in ministry you can get so busy with
the ‘work’ of the ministry, or even working on your next project, that you find yourself
not praying as much as you used to.

A lot of tests, trials, and temptations can be avoided simply if we took the time to pray.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was to be crucified, His
flesh did not want to endure what was about to go down the next day.

The Word says how Jesus was tempted just like we were, which means He knew what
pain He would have to endure the next day, and He was tempted to give up as He begged
God for another way to accomplish the goal of saving the world (Hebrews 4:15,
Matthew 26:42).

Just imagine if you were the chosen one, and new the very next morning you were going
to be beat so badly that you no longer would resemble a human being (Isaiah 52:14)…
blood would be everywhere, and you knew in advance, what was about to happen?

Even Jesus, being Jesus, the Savior, felt the need to pray His way through the night before
until He received the necessary strength to carry out His mission.

How much more should we pray?

Matthew 26:41 reads, Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:  the spirit indeed is
willing, but the flesh is weak.

Here Jesus admits that the flesh is weak.  How many times have we missed our sinned against God because we weren’t prayed up and the flesh was weak?

This Scripture is warning us to watch and pray, so we don’t fall…

So today I’d like to encourage you to join me in taking more time to pray.

Whether it’s 5 more minutes a day, or 35 more minutes a day, it’s totally up to you…the key is
consistency…pray so that you enter not into temptation, and so that the perfect will of God
will be manifested in your life. 

*Originally published on Kim on the Web.

#BlackLivesMatter: Who Was Danroy Henry?

Henry, a 20-year-old junior from Easton, Massachusetts, known as “D.J.”, was killed Oct. 17, 2010, by Pleasantville Police Officer Aaron Hess outside Finnegan’s Grill, a popular nightspot for students from the nearby Pace campus.

Pleasantville and Mount Pleasant officers swarmed the parking lot outside the bar after receiving reports of a rowdy crowd there. Henry was in his car when one officer knocked on his window. Police said he pulled away instead.

Authorities said Hess stepped in front of the car and was hit, landing on the hood. Hess fired through the windshield, killing Henry and wounding Brandon Cox, a Stonehill College football player who was high school friends with Henry.

Mount Pleasant police Officer Ronald Beckley also fired his weapon, but has said that he shot at Hess, whom he considered the aggressor in the situation.

But the shooting sparked a series of lawsuits, including by Cox and Desmond Hines, another passenger in Henry’s car, and by seven Pace students who were at the scene and alleged that officers used excessive force after they responded.

Henry’s family called the incident “reckless and inexcusable.”

They alleged in their civil claims that Hess was unjustified in shooting the college junior, then refused him medical aid after pulling him from the car and handcuffing him.

The family alleged that Henry was initially able to stand but died after being left on the ground bleeding. He said officers didn’t even ask if he was injured.

Sussman said the town acknowledged that Henry was driving at a low rate of speed when Hess lunged on the hood and was not acting reckless at the time.

The family of Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr., a Pace University student shot and killed by police outside a Thornwood bar in 2010, have settled their final civil lawsuit in the case.

The settlement with the Town of Mount Pleasant includes an apology from the town and a commitment to make a $250,000 contribution to the DJ Henry Dream Fund, a charity in the slain man’s honor that provides college scholarships.

It comes 14 months after his parents, Angella and Danroy Henry Sr., settled a separate federal lawsuit with the village of Pleasantville for $6 million.

“We can never bring DJ back, and his family must bear the agony of his loss,” Michael Sussman, the attorney for the family, said during a conference call Tuesday. “But we can take lessons from this event which makes its repetition less likely.”

“More carefully selecting police officers, training them to use deadly force only when absolutely necessary and fully investigating these tragedies before releasing public statements based on stereotypes and defensiveness,” Sussman said. “Only if we learn and implement these lessons can anything positive come from this tragedy.”

Sussman first reported the settlement in a April 14 letter to U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas, who was presiding over the case in White Plains federal court. Karas officially dismissed the lawsuit on April 20.

Those documents did not disclose financial terms, nor would Sussman discuss the terms on Tuesday. He did say that the deal includes financial compensation for the Henry family beyond the contribution to the DJ Henry Dream Fund.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation,”Fulgenzi said. “The loss of of life for any reason, especially a child, was a very sad thing.”

“These are good people,” he said. “If I was able to see them face-to-face, I would just express to them condolences for the loss of the life of their son.”

“The constant is that we feel the void left by losing our oldest son,” Danroy Henry Sr. said Tuesday. “While the gala is always a time to celebrate his legacy, I think what will be really helpful this year isn’t so much that there’s no pending litigation. It’s that the record as it relates to his reputation has now been cleared.”

“I think that will add a measure of celebration to the lives of the children we’re celebrating, who are frankly carrying on is legacy through the foundation,” he said.

*Excerpts taken from USA Today.