In case you are not familiar with this program, it’s a ‘reality’ TV show where five contestants, who are strangers to each other, alternately host a dinner party for the others each day for a week. At the end of the week the winner wins £1000.
Think of it as Big Brother comes to dinner.
My perception of the program is that every episode is a mixture of cookery, tense interactions between the guests, mutual character assassination as they elaborate on what’s wrong with each other. (Naturally the ‘contestants’ have been carefully chosen to be as incompatible as possible with one another). All topped off with a jokey, sarcastic voice-over that would get the narrator punched if he ever said those things to your face.
Apart from the obvious, if you are a hater of reality TV like me, I’ve realised one of the things I find disturbing about this program, is that the program mimics the inner life of the people I work with therapeutically.
If you are very self critical then your mental processes might follow a very similar pattern.
As you are trying to get things done:
- inner parts of you can be arguing and bickering about what is the best way forward.
- you may spend time wondering and worrying about what other people are thinking about you.
- everything you think, say or do has an internal critical commentary, pointing out your faults, where you are doing things wrong, why other people would be laughing at you, if only they knew how incompetent you are.
This isn’t much fun as an interior life. At least on TV it’s all over in half an hour and you can always use the off button if it all gets too much, but if it’s your inner world then you are stuck with it all day and every day. Unfortunately there isn’t an obvious off button for critical internal dialogue.
If this scenario seems horribly familiar to you then it is worth considering that no matter how familiar it feels it is not the natural state of affairs. You didn’t start out in life that way, all those traits were learned, or taught, along the way. They don’t have to be permanent. It might take some work to force your critical inner dinner guests to go, but it is possible.
I’ll be presenting some of the approaches I use to help soften inner critics and ease self-blame at this year’s ChangeCamp event in Newcastle on March 26th. If you are in the Newcastle area and want to find out more go to www.changecamp.co.ukImage courtesy of Tostie14