Cheerleaders are more fun than critics.

If I refused to write, or to share my writing, as a result of my inner critic telling me my writing is mediocre at best, I'd write very little and would certainly never share a thing. That's to say, my inner critic — like yours I'm sure — is relentless and brutal and positively genius at coming up with reasons why I'm terribly uncreative with not much good to say and virtually no talent for saying it. Conversely, I have only praise to heap on my inner critic — it's doing an exceptional job of being a judgmental asshole.

It's an unfortunate reality that our minds tend to be more adept at knocking us down than building us up. Self-abuse is simply a more natural response for most of us. That sucks, sure, but only as much as we let it. All that means is we have to work harder on the "building up" response. We have to be our own excited cheerleaders, so loud in our exaltations that we drown out the nagging critics who will never be happy with anything we do.

The critic isn't all bad, by the way. It's one of fear's operatives, which means along with making us suffer, it's really trying to keep us from suffering: from being judged, being ridiculed, being ostracized. The thing is, our fears — and our critics — don't give us enough credit. They think we'll collapse under the weight of judgment, or give up after a failure or three. Why would we do that? Right, we wouldn't.

There's no good reason to let our fear dictate how we share our creativity — or ourselves — with the world.

We have to become more aware when we're focused on how worthless we are and reject that notion because it's not true. Follow that rejection with some reasons why we're worthy and lovable and just the right person to express whatever it is we want — no, need — to express. If you're like me, there are countless opportunities throughout the day to interrupt the critic and announce the cheerleader. Go you! It just takes doing so. It takes remembering that fear's job is to prevent us from taking risks, expanding our comfort zone, and generally doing much of anything that stands to transform our lives for real.

And our job is to feel the fear and DO IT ANYWAY. We will survive the doing. We will survive the judgment. We will survive whatever reality comes to pass. And we will be so much stronger and more resilient for it. That's just how it goes.

Fear's not going anywhere. The critic's not going anywhere. We can't wait for them to leave before taking action, because they'll never leave and then we'll never take action.

I'm afraid (or insecure) a good percentage of the time, especially where my creativity is concerned. I just don't care as much about the fear anymore. I don't give it the voice it used to have. It gets a say without getting it's way (I think I just stole that line from someone but not sure who).

Look, life is hard enough without silencing ourselves, our creativity, our freedom. Indeed, one of the surest ways I've found to create a more fulfilling, less miserable existence is to put myself out there — my love, my fears, my heart, my art — knowing that the act of doing so invites possibilities and connections that my inner critic will always be too afraid to see.

Now is the time. It's all we've ever got.

In love and creativity and community...Go team!