5 Practices to Cure Worst Criticitis

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how-we-procrastinate

“Oh @*#+!” I berate myself just prior to taking a trip recently. Why did I put off some work I wanted to get done before leaving? Why did I wait until the last minute to buy gifts I wanted to take with me?

“Oh joy! You procrastinated,” proclaims my meanie-in-mind, “I get to run wild right now!”

My meanie-in-mind uses words like “always” and “never.” It lies glibly and smoothly. It takes its show on the road too. No doubt about it, procrastination exposes the worst critic I have: ME.

Worst Criticitis

If we’re honest with ourselves, we may find that we’re procrastinating to create situations that give us a rush of adrenaline and a chance to feel super successful:  Procrastination, after all, generates a problem that we then get to solve. 

There are a zillion pieces of advice on time management, on doing what’s important not what’s urgent. I love the thought of saying “no” to free up my time to say “yes” to what really matters most.

But if you’re anything like me, the real danger procrastination presents is not that you don’t get things done, that you don’t produce great results. The danger is that procrastination promotes ‘Worst Criticitis,’ a term I’m coining to describe that chronic condition in which the unkind voice in your head, your rascally roommate, your self-talk monster, gets to whisper or shout the silliest and cruelest of things when you procrastinate.

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5 Practices to Cure Worst Criticitis

“If mean words keep popping up in your mind, don’t let them drop down and poison your soul.” Marie Forleo

Curing Worst Criticitis is going to take daily practice. Fortunately, Linda Graham‘s advice will help. Graham’s book, Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, won the “Books for a Better Life Award” in 2013, and the 2014 “Nautilus Better Books for a Better World Award. Her article, Can Self-Compassion Overcome Procrastination?, offers five practices to begin using today to cure our Worst Criticitis:

  1. Stop whatever you’re doing and ask yourself several times a day, “What am I experiencing in this moment, right now? Is there any negative self-talk, self-blame, self-shame going on here? Set a timer to make sure you do this self-care check! 
  2. Pause, put your hand on your heart or your cheek, and say to yourself, “Oh, sweetheart!” Graham writes that this simple gesture of self-kindness activates our caregiving system (rather than the ever-present self-judging system of the inner critic) which begins to relax the grip of the negative. This opens our minds and hearts again to self-acceptance, and then to choices and possibilities.
  3. Trigger self-compassion with daily affirmations. You can keep it simple, “I feel safe in this moment. I am free of fear, stress, anxiety.” Or, print out, post prominently, and try my “10 Super Cs.” 
  4. Allow yourself to drop into a moment of calm. Breathe as you say an affirmation, notice a sense of soothing and comfort.
  5. Choose to do something that will help you feel a sense of movement in a good direction that doesn’t involve an adrenaline rush. Graham says, “It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the task or project you may be procrastinating about. Re-direct your attention to something pleasant, nourishing, rewarding, meaningful; take a few moments to do express gratitude for some source of goodness in your life before resuming your tasks of the day; talk things over with a good friend or friendly colleague; notice that you are creating more ease and better coping around whatever you choose to do next.”

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Sweethearts

Focus on reducing your Worst Criticitis, that meanie-in-mind that keeps you from joy in all your relationships, including the most crucial lifelong one, the relationship you have with YOU.

Go on, Sweetheart, you’re worth it.

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Masked Procrastinator image via firstthingsproductivity.com.

Comments

  1. Jone,

    What a sweet post. It really has a lovely–and loving–feel. I’m going to repost on my site, because I’ve been very lazy lately and not keeping up with what I should be doing and…

    Oh, wait. …

    Cheers! (But I’m still going to repost!)

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