Overcoming the Inner Critic


Fear. Doom. Exposure. Fraudulent fool. These are the sensations that ring in me when I am caught in fear. These words become my reality. I believe it. I live it. I know it to be true from how I feel and I run away from myself and into activity or distraction to avoid feeling this fear too deeply.

I don’t want to see the reality behind these words and feelings. I am afraid of my own insufficiency.


Facing the Critic

I know from experience and practice that this running never works or ends well, until I stop my activity and turn to face the fear and words “fraudulent fool.” When I listen deeply to my own sensation and emotion, eventually I can see the fear as an experience that is happening in just a part of me.

It may burn in my chest and roil in my belly, but it isn’t everything that is happening inside me. I can experience the fear as an object to observe and I can question its reality.

Am I truly a fraudulent fool? When I ask that question and feel for a true answer, I find that I am indeed larger than my fear of being a fool or a fraud. I experience myself as larger and calmer than my thoughts. I find that I am whole.

While my thoughts and behavior can actually be fraudulent and foolish, I am not.

Discovering Wholeness

The essential, authentic self in all of us is good and whole. We can believe crazy things, and behave badly. Of course, we do it all the time, but our essential selves are good and whole. I believe in human wholeness, because I experience it in others every time I look for it. Are we not born whole? Did we ever lose that? Or did we just cover it up with confusions? In our core, there is no deficiency.

We are made whole and holy. So, when I get caught in fear and “know” myself to be a fraudulent fool, I need to remember that my core self has nothing to do with foolishness and fraud. I am whole as I am and I can bring that wholeness into my life through attentiveness, intention, and practice.

Perhaps the first step of that is to forgive myself for my foolish actions and to have compassion for the one who felt the need to be fraudulent. Then, who knows what happens after that, but the door will have been opened to a new experience beyond the fear of insufficiency.