Here at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet, I post about health from a diet and lifestyle perspective. However, I wanted to change things up a bit and address health from a mental and emotional aspect. That’s where today’s guest post from Mari L. McCarthy comes in. Mari is known as the Journaling Therapy Specialist and is the founder of Journaling for the Health of It™.
In her book, Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life, Mari presents a gentle process for self discovery through journaling. She also addresses financial health in her latest publication, Your Money Matters! Use Journal Writing Therapy to Get Financially Fit Now.
After reading her blog, Create Write Now, I was so intrigued with Mari’s journaling methods that I purchased her book, Peace of Mind and Body: 27 Days of Journaling to Health & Happiness on Kindle. You can check out her ebooks such at 53 Weekly Writing Retreats: How to Use Your Journal to Get Healthy Now and other materials in her store.
Your inner coach or your inner critic: which one to believe?
Inside every one of us there's both a coach and a critic. Knowing which one is the best teacher in any given moment can be tricky.
A coach is someone who helps you get better at something and a critic is someone who delights in dissing you, right? Not exactly. Because even though we might sometimes define the roles that way, it's equally true that a coach is someone who drives you hard through grueling activities, and a critic is one who helps you make good decisions.
As a journaler, I spend a lot of time with these two characters, and I have to say that their banter keeps me alert, and enlightens me regularly.
My inner coach is so encouraging. She reassures me and bolsters my confidence. My inner critic shows me truths I would rather avoid, and calls me to improve. So they are both useful to my life.
There can be times, though, when balancing the input from these two can be mind boggling. Sometimes my inner coach challenges me. She can tell when I'm lying to myself, and she doesn't rest until I get straight. Here's an example.
I work at my desk all day and don't get enough exercise. I try to stay motivated to take a walk at lunchtime. On days when I just don't feel like walking, my inner coach gets really quiet at first, but then she launches a series of lectures and gentle prods trying to get me up off my butt.
Meanwhile, my inner critic is snickering in the corner about what a baby I am. Stuck in the middle between them, I just want my mother.
Or how about when I am obsessed with the thought of that chocolate cake in the kitchen? I want it with my entire being. My inner critic is silent for a few minutes and then she starts talking about how she knew I couldn't stick to my diet, she's not in the least surprised that I'm giving in again.
And my inner coach? She's telling me to get a grip, take a deep breath, drink some tea. She says, you're okay, you can have a piece of cake tomorrow, don't worry.
My reaction? I want to go eat that cake right now so the critic will hush up. But I do not want to betray my coach, whom I love.
It's a quandary. Who should I listen to?
When you write it out like this, it's really clear who you should listen to. In the moment of craving, though, you're truly torn.
That's why using a journal as the intermediary between me, my inner coach, and my inner critic is a great solution. Seeing it in black-and-white (or purple-and-white, or black-and-tan, or whatever is your style) is how I put the advice of the critic and coach to best use.
In my journal, my options come clear. Within its pages I organize these insistent inner helpers so that I can make reasonable progress. My journal lets me be the best that I can be.
Learn more about Mari L. McCarthy at Create Write Now.