Have you ever taken your morning shower and used that sacred time to remember a bad day seven years ago? Do you ever find yourself going down a dark path of questionable choices from yesterday or things that may go wrong today… or tomorrow… or in year 2034, while you’re washing your roots and conditioning your ends?
Have you ever had a good or great or cool idea and then spent the next fifteen minutes coming up with all the reasons why there is no way that will ever work?
Do you sit like a sloth goddess on your couch, bingeing Netflix whilst beating yourself internally for all the things you should be/could be doing but you’re not, and yeah, that figures because you’re lazy and worthless anyway, so you may as well just watch another episode of Riverdale and try to be better tomorrow?
Yep. Me too, sister. Me freaking too.
Here’s the deal. All the negative self-talk that goes on inside our squishy brains is called our “inner-critic.” But I like to call it the “rude dude.”
My rude dude is talking to me right now. In fact, after I typed the sentence you just read, I had to go wash a sink full of dishes so I could have a conversation with him.
He was all “Who in the heck do you think you are? There are a million posts all over the internet about this shit. And I guess if you insist on writing about this topic then you probably better read every single book and article that has ever been written on the subject before you try to write this 1,000 word post because you better not leave anything out!”
That’s what rude dude does. It’s the voice in your head that nay-says every damn thing you think or feel. It’s the voice that keeps you from taking action or that keeps you in the safe space of inaction, but then chastises you for not doing or being more. It’s the voice that ridiculously reminds you of a fight you had with your first ex-husband in 2007, while your shaving your legs in 2018.
So my loves, here’s what you gotta do. Give rude dude a face and a name.
Your inner-critic doesn’t have to be a dude. Mine is. But that’s my deal and it doesn’t have to be yours.
You need to find him or her inside yourself and then separate him/her out. Because look, the negative bullshit that’s swirling around inside in your mind muck ISN’T YOU! It’s your parents or siblings or terrible boss from your twenties or society or whatevs!
Step one. Get quiet and think about your negative inner voice.
Who does (s)he sound like? Your mom? Mrs. Kelso from 8th grade geometry? A combination of about six different Debbie Downers from throughout your life? That’s pretty common.
This might be hard for you because we hear it without listening. Our “inner rude dude” is a constant that we carry around as an unwanted passenger. For me, it’s my parents… and anyone who has ever critiqued me. Or rather, it’s the projection of what I feel like my parents think about me and what I worry the world will think about me. Then, I’ve taken that and mutated it into this… shitty, anxious, snot-filled, know-it-all bore. What a delight!
Step two. Come up with a name, face and persona for your rude dude.
Here’s why. You are parsing out this involuntary reaction to your inherent brilliance and keeping it separate from you.
Having a face and name to address is easier than trying to tap into some greater idea about the psyche. Not to get too meta here, but this is why the concept of God as a “Santa-meets-Zeus type” works in our culture. It’s too much to ask to pray or talk to an invisible essence, but if the essence has a name and a whole character arch, folks can grasp it.
Here’s my rude dude: Meet Todd. He’s a scrawny teen, pimply and pubescent. He feels insignificant, undervalued and misunderstood. He’s lanky and awkward and he works in the back of Little Caesar’s, slicing pizzas.
(A note to all pizza slicers out there… no disrespect! I actually think a sausage hot n’ ready gobbled up in the first eleven minutes is divine! My poor pizza cutter situation is more like a cinematic, overly lit sauna type room with terra cotta tiles and a general greasy feeling. Like, if SNL did a skit of a pizza place. I’m just saying, no shade to pizza or anyone who works in the industry!)
I get it. This can be hard or feel weird. So here is a worksheet to help you name the negative voice inside your head.
Step three. Conversation time.
Now you must be firm but chill with your rude dude or dudet. It’s kinda higher-level stuff, but you can even show compassion to this new persona, your inner critic.
What you mustn’t do though, is punch ‘em in the face now that there is one. But whyyyyyyy, you ask? Because your inner critic deals in violence, slashing your ideas apart and tearing into you like your teriyaki jerky, but that’s not you. That’s Todd. (Or Bitchface O’Malley, Templeton, Geoff Sessions or Dolores Umbridge, just to name a few completely random names.)
When your Todd starts talking and you begin to spiral into a negative place, you’ve got to catch yourself, take a breath and say something like,
“Okay Todd. You’ve had your say. Sit back down please.” Other options are:
-“Oh shit. That’s _________ coming at me. Caught ya! I’m not doing this with you. Buh-bye!”
-“Hey _________. It sounds like you’ve got something to say. Are you scared or upset about something? How about we get to the bottom of that instead?”
-“No thank you!”
It took me a while to develop Todd. And he has the “form” he has now because it was something that I could inherently feel un-intimidated by and also for which I could muster up compassion. Todd’s form allows me to see how these negative thought spirals aren’t rooted in something factual and evidence based. His persona helps me more quickly identify that nay-saying voice as a baseless way to hold me back.
Look hunnies. You deserve to, at the very least, have a morning shower free from anxious worry and negativity! If you can name your inner rude dude, give 'em a face you can deal with and then get hip to their ways – just once a day – and firmly shut it down… then, like WOAH! This rude dude eradication is going to level up your life in a big way.
But listen, it takes practice. Todd’s nasal puberty voice is all up in my business right now telling me that none of this made sense and everyone is going to think I’m a self-indulgent dum dum. Or totally crazy.
-“Well, you know what Todd? That may be true. But what I really hear is that you feel insecure about being so vulnerable. And to that I say… I get you bro. It’s hard to be real. But this is how I roll and I’m gonna do me!”
I love you.
P.S. Puh-lease go to the comments sections right now and tell me your rude dude’s name and persona! I’m literally dying to know! Or if it needs to remain a secret for now, write to me!