In the Confidence pillar of the Foundations of Wellbeing Program, this week’s theme is Growing the Inner Nurturer. How can we grow the inner nurturer and our own caring committee, to help protect us from the pounding of the internal critic?
Our childhood relationships have shaped the three parts of our psyche – the child, the nurturer and the critic. We internalized how others interacted with us: how they viewed us and treated us, and how this made us feel.
All parts of the psyche are well-intended: they’re trying to help us – often in problematic ways. Our inner critic – with aspects of pusher, shamer, guilt-tripper and dismisser – “helps” you be safer, better, etc. But the inner attacker usually keeps pounding away…it doesn’t have a mute button. If not balanced by an even more powerful inner nurturer – how can we tame it?
The inner nurturer includes aspects of soother, protector, encourager, build-up-er and inspirer.
It helps us see the bigger picture. It brings us much good and protects us from the inner attacker. Unfortunately, in many of us, the inner attacker is bigger and stronger than the inner nurturer. So we need to build up the inner nurturer.
One way to build up our inner nurturer is to identify people who can be on our caring committee. People who are close to us and who inspire us can be included – to help us stand up to the inner attacker.
The inner attacker wears many masks – it can even be as pseudo-conscience – “That is very bad; don’t you know better than that?” If you feel less of a being and broken down, that is a clue to recognize the inner attacker is at work.
Once we recognize the source, paradoxically we see its good intentions and recognize the positive aims of the attacker. Deep down it is trying to help you. You can see its struggles, its pain. Try to have compassion for it. The object is to see if we can accept it as a part of ourselves while disengaging from struggles with it. Paradoxically, this stance of understanding, appreciating and accepting, reduces the power of the inner attacker.
It is then that we no longer identify with the inner attacker – we see it without being it.
Study it, see its emerging and passing away. See what prompts it and feeds it. If you don’t give it any power, it doesn’t have any power. Make it harmless and small – much like a car alarm going off, it is not pleasant but it doesn’t hurt you.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – the Buddha