When I was in my 20s and on the dating scene, I would get pretty insecure about myself and wonder what a guy would possibly find attractive or remotely interesting about me.
One day I was feeling particularly insecure and was whining to my roommate who had heard all this crap about 1000 times over. She was getting exasperated. She finally shook her head and said,
“You need to get control of Paula!”
I stopped and looked at her with this screwed up face and replied, “Who the hell is Paula?”
“She your insecure/inner critic alter ego.”
“Why is she named Paula?”
“I don’t know it’s the first name that popped to mind.”
“Okay…yours is Regina.”
“I don’t like that name.”
“Too bad. You named mine Paula for God sakes.”
From then on, our insecure selves were known as Paula and Regina. They are both married now so they have overcome their boy insecurities, but they are still around for other things. I’m not sure what Regina’s up to these days, but Paula’s a big fan of popping up when I’m writing or painting.
The bitch is never satisfied. However, identifying when she’s hanging about certainly has helped. I’ve gotten pretty good at shutting her down particularly with my writing. My trick was to just keep writing. I wrote four complete journals before I felt confident enough to do a blog, and it took two more after that to even entertain the idea of freelancing. I just wore her out.
Nevertheless, as I experiment and grow and try new things she likes to saddle up for a good ole stampede across my confidence. There are days when she’s pretty successful, but I’ve noticed since naming her. She’s lost some of her power.
I occasionally have to yell, “Shut up, Paula!” She doesn’t like it when I talk back. She prefers an easy target, so she tends to do what I ask and goes to sulk in a corner for a while. I know that she’s still there, and she’ll make the occasional snide remark, but I can forge ahead.
While I’m not a fan of Paula. She does at times serve a purpose. She makes me strive to do better. She makes me face uncomfortable things, and since I loathe when she wins, thus I work extra hard to make sure she doesn’t.
Inevitably, after she loses a few times she gets bored and tries to win at a different game, and we start the process again. Nevertheless, I’m thankful for Paula and her ability to make me better, and I’m thankful to my roommate who gave her a name.
Does your inner critic have a name?