My bank account is healthy. I have nothing urgent to do for the next six months. And I've got a brand-new Harley-Davidson RoadGlide Custom in my garage begging me to take it out for a spin across the Golden Gate Bridge. Yet I can't.
"Get back to work, you lazy piece of crap."
Meet the voice that has been in my head for as long as I can remember.
"Quit fucking around with your toys. You won't get anywhere like this. Why can't you commit? Why can't you focus? Why can’t you live up to your potential?”
Even after eight years of conventional (and unconventional) therapies, that voice never stopped badgering me.
By then I was a successful entrepreneur who had recently sold his company and I was living in Northern California with the love of my life. I wanted to clear my head, take my time in planning my investments and my next business ventures.
And yet - even after achieving financial success - my constant companion was still with me. Judging me. Shaming me.
He whipped me relentlessly, I couldn't even take a relaxing Saturday afternoon cruise on my present to myself after my company's acquisition! At the same time, when I gave in to his admonishments and sat down to write a new business plan, I couldn't really get started because I was terrified of not being perfect.
Doomed if I do, doomed if I don't. This is a classic Catch-22 that our early childhood experiences can get us into.
Meet The Judge, he is our inner critic, the know-it-all, a cruel antagonist. In most cases we create him from the internalized voice of our mother or our father. The Judge's harsh critic sounds timeless since our subconscious knows no time. His presence leads to lack of self love and self appreciation, and often prevents us from fully loving our spouse or our children --- because we want to improve them all the time, dammnnit!
Life rings hollow and empty with a constant critic echoing in our head, for whom anything less than perfect won't cut it. Try as you might, you'll never please him. It's never perfect.
I know it from personal experience and I know it from the dozens of clients whom I was able to help to make peace with their Judge.
Make peace? That sounds ridiculous. I just wanted to shut him up. I wanted to kill him and tear him to pieces. He was making me insane.
Accessing my subconscious in a light trance I was able to meet my Judge, face to face. We had invited my inner characters to join me around my conference room table. There was my rebel who was also the perpetual loser, there was my knight in full armor, and then the Judge in his black robes.
Initially, my Judge tried to dominate me. He stood up at the table. Tall, stiff and imposing. Talking over me. Pounding his fists to make his point. Insulting me. But with some patience, we uncovered the small frightened little child inside him.
I hugged that child and told him I love him and that everything would be alright. The Judge's posture changed, his shoulders loosened, his voice softened and slowed. Now that he was able to relax, together we sat down and worked out our differences.
Ever since then he has been on my side. And truth be told, I've actually had a difficult time accessing his old voice for the sake of this post.
I don't hear him ever, not even from a distance. After more work in my conference room, it now feels like a fun bunch of cheerleaders who want me to succeed, who encourage me with positive reinforcement and optimistic words.
I am grateful that in my work I can offer this inner peace, strength and support to my clients. And that I can enjoy a motorcycle ride with my wife.
Tell me about your voices. Who do you want to tear into pieces?