Is your inner critic keeping you up? – Interview with Dionne Thomson
You’re struggling with sleep and we’re talking about awesomeness & enjoying life?
Yes, because one of the reasons you might be struggling with sleep is the answer to the questions:
- How happy are you with your life?
- How are you talking to yourself?
- Are you living in line with what you want?
And if not, why is it so difficult to change this?
Keep on reading as we dive into
- That nasty inner critic of ours
- Value checks
- Habit creation
and how to deal with all of these for a happier life and better sleep.
Dionne Thomson was one of our most recent guests on the Sleep Like a Boss Podcast. Dionne is a coach, who survived her life for decades trying to “square peg round hole”.
Driven by her belief that every person can learn to embrace their true awesomeness, Dionne helps busy women build the habit of putting their happiness 1st!
She believes that we each have one purpose on this planet - to flourish and enjoy life. When she isn’t out encouraging women to go from Hot Mess to Awesomeness, she spends much of her time with family and close friends, enjoying nature, a good laugh and the freedom to be herself.
Let me preface that everything we talk about on this show applies to men and women alike.
What Does Your Inner Critic Say About You and Why
So who is this inner critic? And is it helping us?
According to Dionne, our inner critic is just a part of who we are - or have become over time.
Based on our values, our beliefs and the environment we are in, we have created an image of a persona in our head that we are trying to live up to.
So, whether you have adopted the role of the successful entrepreneur or employee or you’re the mother or father you have assigned criteria or beliefs to these roles. Maybe you’re telling yourself the story of “making money is hard and I need to work to exhaustion to be successful”. Or “Being a parent doesn’t allow me to have any time for myself.”
And that is the narrative that the inner critic is trying to protect - the stories we’ve been telling ourselves for a while. If your story is “I am the one who is going nonstop and gives 100%”, your inner critic believes you and wants to protect that at all cost.
If you then say I’m ready to change this and I want to be the person who relaxes, who takes time, who meditates, who stretches in the middle of the day, you're going to feel uncomfortable as you are stepping out of that narrative.
Your inner critic is trying to protect you from the new and you are running into self-sabotage.
How do you change that?
Silencing Your Inner Critic
The key is to start rewriting your current story but to do so in a way that doesn't rile your inner critic into freaking out. If you try to make changes that are too big, your inner critic will stop you - the bigger the change, the more volatile the response.
You have to keep in mind that your inner critic is brilliant because it is you!
It has all your brilliance, but unfortunately, it also holds on to the memory of every situation where you ever felt less than, not good enough, not worthy, powerless and unlovable. As a result of that, the more you try to step out of your “I am this” story, the more it will throw those memories at you (usually slightly tweaked, poisoned and skewed).
So, you have to start small, you need to start practicing believing in this new identity without making it grand action right away. So instead of committing to mediate 7 days a week, you start by telling yourself multiple times a day for a while “I am going to meditate today”.
This rewrites your story and then when you start meditating your body will be able to accept it as part of whom you have become and it won’t trigger your inner critic.
Mind and Body
It's not all mindset and then bodywork, you need to be working in tandem with both. In Dionne’s own words: “Believe a little, do a little, see little evidence. Believe a little more, do a little more, see a little bit more evidence.”
If you are working on the body without believing that you're capable, worthy, deserving, then at some point there's going to be a mismatch there.
That void, that empty feeling that comes with that, that's the gap between your authentic self and the persona you're putting out into the world.
When you focus on flourishing, which is about increasing your positive emotions, positive self-talk, increasing positive engagement and acts that light you up, increasing positive relationships and positive communication, all of a sudden everything shifts.
The wholeness that comes with those shifts is the result of you closing that gap between your true authentic self and the persona you put out into the world.
Defining Your Values
When creating those new self-identities and rewriting ones story, the best way to start is by defining your values.
Dionne points out that when you’re defining your values, you also have to pay attention to the stage of life you’re in. Throughout our life, we all go through an evolutionary process, and it’s important to reevaluate those values as we go along, because at certain points in our lives these values, or their meaning to us, might change.
Oftentimes, this goes unnoticed to us because as humans, we live by habits. We need habits and routines, They provide us safety.
90% of our behaviour and our thoughts are the results of our habits. 90% of the thoughts we think every day are the same! We've thought them already yesterday and the day before that. So, reevaluating your values and making sure that you are honouring them and that they feel right for you, will help you recognize the patterns in your behaviour (and thinking) that no longer serve you or your purpose.
Addressing your Sleep
Now, you might ask: What does this have to do with sleep?
It is a huge piece of the puzzle to people's sleep struggles.
Those patterns that we create, those stories we tell subconsciously ourselves about how worthy we are, how stressed we are, how we always have a bad sleep and how it's been like that for so long, what we think is expected from us in the roles that we have, whether we have failed at fulfilling that role today, all affect our ability to sleep.
And if you want to change your sleep, it's not just about your sleep. It's not about focusing on your sleep itself, it's really about focusing on everything else: understanding & retraining that inner critic, assessing your values and how they align with your happiness and how this might be sabotaging your sleep.