Thanks so much Anatoly, Wynde, Aspasia and Rich for such beautiful heartfelt feedback and for sharing your own experiences as well! 

Anatoly, you said "It feels like the way you express is totally you, unique you! I struggle to accurately express with words so will be short here. "  That's awesome that you could feel me in it - thank you for reflecting that back to me. I found the creative process of writing to be a tremendous vehicle of transmutation. With this particular topic of being hard on oneself - it was mirrored back in the process of writing and what I found was there was this "just right" amount of reflection and inquiry that I can only describe as what it might be like to be looking at a person and drawing an image of them on paper or sculpting them in 3-d form. With writing I found there was this feeling within and then retrieving the words that captured the energy in a way that felt "synced up". In that there is also an acceptance that the externalized "picture" that feels right at this moment will keep evolving and that the "perfection" is found in finding that sense of rightness in this moment which is a combination of as I am and as I am becoming through the creative process. And as a reflection back to you, I find it beautiful that you can honor the challenges you may find with expressing words that reflect your experience...I bet there are many other ways you express that reflect you most eloquently. 

Wynde ...You said "Especially in my art. I can't seem to draw a straight line to save my life, so abstracts work well for me." I love the way your words seem to give an honest sense of your vibe. This is so essential what you said...rather than needing to conform to the idea of what you should do, draw, be, you honor your natural way of being and at the same time see the value in other ways of being and in developing these within yourself (i.e. the value of a straight line)

Aspasia..You said "What I also find very interesting about the inner critic is that, according to research, its a mechanism that we almost fully develop by the age of 8 years old and serves as a 'way to fit into' a social group." Wow I never realized that! Very interesting....yes that feels related to that natural capacity to look into the environment and see "how I can be me here" - yet it gets distorted into "how can I be to ensure I fit, am accepted, am loved" (which can be a very necessary and protective capacity). It's funny because I love researching things, but every time I began to research this topic from a psychological or mythological standpoint, I couldn't find a voice that felt like me in it. It's certainly an art to synthesize externalized viewpoints with personal experience...something I am drawn to developing!  Thank you for your feedback!!

Rich,,,you said "I also observe that setting the bar really high and then ultimately failing to reach it just reinforces the pattern that I am not good enough as I am" Yes, I recognize that one for sure!! Such a balance between finding the edges of our capacity, breaking through self-limitation and being accepting and gentle with oneself - embracing ourselves as we are.  I also recognize the dynamic of criticizing those outside of us that remind us of ourselves (for me it would be the aspects that I am not comfortable with...something I think we can see pretty much happening everywhere!) This has been an epic part of the journey with my children as well. Specifically with my daughter but also when the kids show up in a way that I judge as something I have "gotten wrong in my parenting role". There is an opportunity to work with the tightness it creates and find the sense of being ok with how they are (I am) being. From the place of okness with it all as it is, then perhaps an authentic call for evolution/innovation of how I am being can come forward.  It's a powerful reflection that I am working through in many facets!! Thank you for mentioning it! I love what you said about weaknesses too. Especially this, "If I'm trying my best and giving it 100% by being fully present in the moment and being as much 'me' as possible, then what is there to improve?"  <3 Thank you for all the reflections!

Grateful and elated to share with you all <3 Jen