Inspecting our After-thoughts
When I saw the new Muppet Movie earlier this year, I was reminded of the two old men who always sit in the balcony, perched and ready to chime in with their criticisms. I realize that they're able to pull this off with charm and humor, in large part, because of their puppet-hood. It's far less appealing to find such ongoing commentary within ourselves, and yet, most of us have our own versions of these hard-to-please critics. From the timing of their comments, it seems that they especially like to chime in when we're already down, adding insult to injury, as the expression goes.
When we're feeling troubled by something, it's worth noticing if there's additional voices piping in with unhelpful commentary, "Do you really have to let that bother you?" "Did you blow it again?" These after-thoughts often cause more problems than the raw feelings we're working through, sometimes echoing internalized negative messages that we've picked up along the way.
It can be useful to metaphorically place a hand on our critics' shoulders and escort them to the lobby—maybe even encouraging them to find another job, or at least to take a prolonged intermission.