I remember the moment with gratitude, though it was tough at the time.
“You have no idea how self-judgemental you are”, Andy had said to me. And it had cut like a knife. But he was right. I was thirty-five years old and had over many years become seasoned to the harshness of the world.
I didn’t know it as harshness to be so filled with self-doubt and such worry about how I was doing all the time. It was just the way the world was. Unquestionable. Invisible. And I had no idea that it wasn’t so much the world that was harsh but my own inner experience.
Andy’s carefully timed observation was one of those moments when what had been in the background for so long came crashing into the foreground – when what I had been swimming in for so long was made apparent to me.
It was a doorway into a profoundly new world in which I began to see that most of what I thought others were thinking about me was actually what I was thinking about myself. And that I no longer had to believe everything I thought so completely.
Eleven years later, I’m still sometimes out-foxed by the shape-shifting cleverness of my inner critic. But I am more often, and more quickly, able to spot it and see through its ways of holding me back and of pulling me apart.
And, more and more, in the space that envelops me when it steps aside, I’m able to feel a quiet and genuine kind of joy.