Meet the Critic

Quit! Throw in the towel!” Critical feelings sneer “This is stupid, why are you doing this?” “What a project to focus on! This is not going to get you anywhere!” These discouraging feelings have besieged me.

I shared these mental assaults with a fellow pilgrim. You may be thinking, Uh, isn’t assault a bit too strong of a word, Bridget?

Yeah, assault is a strong word, but that’s literally what those thoughts grew to feel like: beating upon the brain, from the inside out.

Back to my fellow pilgrim and friend. She and I had been meeting more and more often, holding ourselves accountable to each other’s pilgrimage resolutions, checking in on how each is doing on our daily internal trek.

When I shared the critic’s words, my fellow-peregrino turned to me and said simply, “He hates beautiful things.” 

I knew she meant the devil.

I immediately wrote that down on a pink sticky note.

Of course, this travelogue project is dedicated to the Immaculata, she who will crush the head of the serpent. So of course he would try and bring anything smacking of Her, of HIM, God, down, so that darkness, doubt, envy reign not just in hell, but also in each of his victim’s soul.

As soon as my friend said it, I knew she was right. This was the devil for sure: he was feeding my inner critic. Gradually he grew from a dark blob in my imagination to a human form.

Slowly I began to see a pathetic, desperate, hungry male Nazi civilian, in drab 1930’s garb with a police baton. 

Meet my critic, desperate Hans Helgasson.

His last name comes from the image of a loud berating woman who unconsciously had raised him to be reactionary and distrustful of relationships.

All my ideas that lead to growth and fuller life, such as mentorship and creating beautiful things, he laughs at and drags down.

When I make plans to connect with and network with people who I want to be like or who I hope to learn from, desperate Hans goes for the creative jugular about talking to those individuals.

Don’t do this!” “You’re stupid, and she’ll think you’re stupid too!” “Don’t betray needs” is what desperate Hans says. He puts up a lot of resistance there. A lot.

He’s scared of failure, he’s fearful of “what ifs,” and desperate for survival. I begin to see he’s trying to isolate me.

Yet, aren’t we all members of the mystical body of Christ?

It makes sense to reach out and hope and trust in other people! A pinky or a toe cannot do what the heart or head of Christ can do, yet it would be ridiculous for each to work on its own! But when they work together incredible things happen.

As I contemplated this idea, the following image and poem burbled up:

Every time our critic sees the city of God (anything good and true and beautiful) forming within our mind heart and soul, he raises his baton over the invisible globe of glass surrounding it and tries to bash it in. 

A fractal of the Garden of Eden 
And it’s invader
Is slivered into, 
Every heart
Born into this world.
From its slivers drip,
Underminds light and truth, 
With thoughts of darkness, doubt, and despair.
Thank God, for free will, 
For we can choose to let these slivers wedge more deeply, 
Or take good care in trying to make more whole these primordial wounds.

Within our hearts is a slivered fractal of the Garden of Eden.

The North Belltower looks pretty much completed!

What is your internal critic fearful of?

Thanks so much for reading! If you’d like to learn how to manage your critic from a more natural point of view, the above book is a lifesaver. The book below is a wonderful spiritual companion!  (When you click the picture links, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) Thanks so much for giving it a go!

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