So you've managed to snag the love of your life. Well good for you! Now you can really enjoy those couple dates with friends, romantic dinners, and walks on the beach at sunset and weekends away.
But wait......what's that annoying niggling voice in the back of your mind? Oh yeah, that's your inner critic reminding you that maybe things aren't as "perfect" as you keep trying to tell yourself?
The good news? We ALL have one of those little voices. It's our own voice which is why it's very hard to ignore and almost impossible not to believe. Here's the other thing; we all like to be "right" don't we? Well this is why when that inner critic starts to play over and over in our heads; it can act like a filter – only taking in information that is consistent, and ignoring information that is not consistent.
Let me give you an example. The inner critic feeds off insecurities and related fears. With that in mind, you're inner critic starts telling you that maybe he's just not that into you. Now that thought can trigger a whole chain of not-so-helpful emotions; fear, anxiety, anger. Then you then start "noticing" things that you hadn't really noticed before, or felt were important. Perhaps he doesn't call you back straight away, or you see a picture of another girl on his Facebook page. The next thing you know....."Oh my god I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!"
Ok, back up a minute. What actually happened, is that you filtered the information around you to make your inner critic "right" when in fact he didn't call because he was in a work meeting, and as for the girl you saw on Facebook? Well that was his cousin. Now you feel like an insecure, over jealous idiot, and if it couldn't get any worse you now just end up feeling more insecure.... convincing yourself that he couldn't possibly want to stay in a relationship with you. You have not only made your inner critic right, but she has now stepped up her plan to ruin your happiness once and for all.
Our inner critic can become a third person in our relationship if we let her. Thoughts like "I'm just not good enough for him", or "why would he think I'm attractive?", or "it's only a matter of time before he leaves me", are all examples of that annoying negative and often self-deprecating voice that can intrude on relationships. What's worse is that she often gets louder the stronger our feelings become, and if ignored can wreak havoc in a perfectly healthy relationship.
The bad news? Your inner critic is here to stay. However, although you cannot silence her completely, you can learn to calm her down a little.
Start by befriending her. Fighting her or ignoring will most certainly NOT calm her down. In fact, that will just make her even louder. "Maybe he's just not that into you?". Observe the thought without judgement for a minute. What else could this mean? If you were to say this to your bestie, what would your intention be? Protection? By understanding her motives, our perception of the inner critic can change for the better. She can be seen more as an over protective friend rather than someone determined at ruining our happiness.
Remember that you are not your inner critic. Although she is a part of you, she does not represent who you are. This means that sometimes you can simply agree to disagree. After all, all she really represents is a "thought" and we have a million of those a day. Just because we think something, does not mean it will happen. By accepting this, you take the power away from your inner critic. What happens to a bully when you don't react? They get bored and move on. The same can be said of your inner critic.
Finally, enjoy the moment! So often we get lost in our own heads and miss the fun stuff. You are not a mind-reader or fortune-teller, so if you find your mind wandering to "what if" land, gently bring it back to "now" land and enjoy the only thing you really can be sure of.....NOW!