Do you struggle with a critical inner voice?
Are you too judgmental with yourself and others?
When I started sharing my writing back in 2007, I had a whirlwind of negativity wreaking havoc in my head.
I didn’t know enough. My english wasn’t good enough. The list goes on and on.
But that didn’t stop me.
I challenged those thoughts, and I discovered something that surprised me.
What is an Inner Critic?
It’s not an entity. There is no green hobbit sitting inside your head with an ‘inner critic’ hat on.
It’s just a label for a group of judgmental and critical thoughts.
In other words, it’s a thought labeling another thought.
It can feel like the inner critic is this little person living in your head, but if you see it for what it truly is, you see that it’s a thought, or multiple thoughts.
And you have an attachment to those thoughts because you believe them. If you didn’t believe the inner critic, it would hold no power over you.
The moment you stop taking your thoughts so seriously, everything changes.
So how do you tame, or overcome, the inner critic?
3 Steps to Overcoming Your Inner Critic – Video
Below is a video I recorded in 2016, which is still relevant today, and it covers slightly different points.
The articles continues below the video.
1. Stop & Notice
Pay attention to when your inner critic rears its imaginary head.
When a thought arrives, watch it. You don’t have to give it power just because it comes in.
The habit is to give it power, because there’s a reaction to it. For example, a thought comes in that says “You’re not good enough, you’ll never succeed, so you might as well quit.”
Then there’s a reaction in the body, a contraction, a feeling. This feeling is often a memory-capsule of something that happened in the past.
Maybe you had criticizing parents, teachers, or friends. Maybe you were a late bloomer, or maybe you were never made for school.
So the thought arrives, there’s a contraction in the body, and off you go into resistance and more thinking.
The first step is to notice all of this.
2. Look for the Evidence
You can challenge your inner critic and break the cycle.
When a thought comes up that says “You can’t do this,” instead of agreeing with it, notice the thought and the contraction in the body, then take a tiny step anyway.
Defy the inner critic. Be mischievous.
This is not about dismissing the feeling in your body, but about becoming curious about the truth of the thought.
Challenging your thoughts is a practice, not a quick fix.
So you become aware of a critical thought, how it seems to connect to a contraction in the body, and you challenge the thought.
Finally, notice the contraction and feeling in the body, and feel it fully. Remove any distance between you and the feeling.
Merge with it. Let it express what it has to say.
This may be uncomfortable, but take one tiny step at a time.
This last step goes hand in hand with challenging the inner critic. You may feel more frisky one day and that’s when you challenge your thoughts.
Another day you may be in a more meditative mood, so you feel the feeling fully.
A Non-Critical Takeaway
The three steps above are a simple but powerful practice if done on a daily basis.
Now, don’t take this too seriously. Play with this. Dance with your inner critic.
Follow what makes you come alive, feel what needs to be felt, and enjoy life. There’s no need to exclude what seems like the negative.
You’ve been doing that up to this point. Has it worked?
Maybe it’s time to try something else.
All the best,
P.S. If you’d like to learn how to become more compassionate toward yourself, I invite you to check out my book Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life. (Amazon affiliate link that helps support my work with no extra cost to you. Thank you!)
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