Imagine that you can heal your inner critic with a simple step-by-step strategy. Discover a way to live life without hearing constant self-criticism. In seven quick and easy steps, you can:
- find peace and ease in your life
- rediscover joy
- break out of a cycle of chronic pain
- release stress and anxiety
- develop self-compassion
Here I share with you simple steps to heal your overly judgmental inner critic quickly and effectively.
“Where does the inner critic come from?” (Click to Tweet.)
The drive for perfection and the misconception that we can be perfect do not tend to serve us in a healthy way. Indeed, if that drive is strong enough, it can lead us straight into stress, anxiety, and a cycle of chronic pain. This insistence on perfection is where the inner critic comes from. We learn this from our family and lineage, too. How can you heal your inner critic?
Mistakes. We feel like we bumble through life. We fall, and we get back up again. I don’t know about you, but on my way to getting back up from a fall, I used to do a really good job of beating myself up for falling in the first place. The physical injury from the fall was nothing compared to the emotional battering I gave myself.
A culture of paradox leads to anxiety
We live in a culture of paradox in many ways. For instance, I was raised in a family where ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ were defined. At school there was the answer, or we got the problem wrong, and were graded as such. In the world of computers, there is ‘on’ and ‘off’ – another ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ area in our lives.
Grey areas and space where mistakes are encouraged and nourished as doors of discovery instead of ‘you got it wrong (– again!)’ just don’t fit in this part of our world. It is a paradox for us to then shift from that ‘perfectionist’ kind of thinking and discipline to a way of living that opens us up to trial and error as a fact of life, even a bastion of possibility! It is no wonder that we are confused and feel frustration and anxiety. Can we silence the inner critic who harasses us for making mistakes?
Heal your inner critic
When we bring our awareness to this situation and realize how our harsh inner critic is working overtime in an area it doesn’t even belong, we can make a shift.
When our inner critic gets to be this influential in our life, I say it’s time for a makeover. It’s time to heal your inner critic and develop and cultivate self-compassion. Here is a process to help you ‘tame’ your inner critic in seven easy steps. (Click to Tweet)
Step 1: Make a decision to change
One day I realized that I was feeling so tired of the heavy weight I felt every time I heard the voice of my inner critic, that I decided to make a change – for once and for all.
Step 2: I asked myself what can I do to make a lasting change?
What can I do to affect lasting change and shift how to heal my Inner Critic? (Click to Tweet) I realized that this inner critic voice was in some ways a helpful one and that it would always be with me in some way. Knowing and accepting this, I decided to re-assign the role of my inner critic, specifically in the way she spoke to me.
Step 3: The Makeover
First I had to really get a handle on exactly who this was that I was working with. I sat quietly and sensed into all that I could about her. How did she appear? What did she wear and how did she hold herself in ‘the world’? How did she sound? What kind of mood was she in? What was she feeling? The answers were so revealing to me. Through answering these questions, I was able to really understand this inner persona much better than I ever had before.
Step 4: Explore your Inner Critic
I imagined my inner critic as standing about 7 feet tall (to my actual 5’4”). She wore the black robes of a Supreme Court judge and held a steady, sullen, and stern gaze everywhere her eyes went, as she lorded over the world judging all within her reach. She had her hair pulled into a tight bun. Her face was ashen from not ever being out in the sun. She smelled musty and of moth balls. I never saw her smile. There was always a negative and critical comment about everything coming from her, whether asked for or not. She just always came off as so serious. And she was relentless.
Well, looking at that powerful personality, it’s no wonder I felt heavy and uncomfortable every time I heard her voice! Now my job was to reassign her to a new position altogether. Again I asked, “How would you like her to be?” It was my choice after all. I was designing, or rather re-designing this powerful visage in my life. I thought for a while, imagining who I would really love for her to become.
Step 5: Making a change to nurture self-compassion
Changing her attire was my first move. Her new wardrobe was a dress with long flowing white robes embroidered with flowers of every color of the rainbow. Her hair came down out of her bun and I softly brushed it out for her. It fell gracefully down below her shoulders. She walked outside in a beautiful garden, and as the sun shined down on her, pink cheeks appeared to replace her ashen skin. I gave her lavender oil to calm her, rose oil for love, and chocolate to give her a taste of the sweetness in life. Finally, her mantra became: “I forgive you, and I forgive myself.” Aw, now that is closer to a trusted wise woman.
Step 6: Cultivate self-compassion through humor
Here is one more piece for this this makeover. What did her voice sound like? What could I do to replace my inner critic’s strident, ever-judging voice? I thought and considered. Finally, it came to me. I would replace this Supreme Court judge with a comedian – an older, wise woman. Who would that be, I wondered? As I sat quietly sensing into the moment, one voice came right into my mind: Joan Rivers. Perfect! Joan Rivers had such a wonderful sense of humor, and always had a hilarious or at least clever comment to make about everything. Joan Rivers was my girl. I never looked back from there. My inner critic was now re-branded. I gave myself a hug and gratefully, joyfully embraced all that I was. This is a tangible way for your to heal your inner critic, too.
Step 7: Practice healing your inner critic
It took a little practice and awareness for me to actually implement and integrate the ‘being nature’ of my newly minted wise woman inner critic. I was determined to shift my internal dialogue. I held the intention to listen to this new version and if I ever heard the voice of the old judgmental inner critic in my mind, I reminded her that she has a new role and to kindly get with the program.
Now – how can you shift and heal your Inner Critic to be more like a wise, loving, maybe even humorous companion? (Click to Tweet.)
Here is a review of this tool
- We all make mistakes. Instead of feeling bad about it, see them as avenues for further discovery.
- If you are hearing negative self-talk, decide to make a change – and make it!
- Notice how your inner critic is showing up for you.
- Re-brand your inner critic. Consciously stick with this new, kinder voice as it integrates into your life.
- Give yourself a hug and embrace all that you are.
- Forgive yourself.
- Be gentle with yourself. Please.
You’re doing the best you can
To be human is to ‘be’, not to ‘be perfect’. We may be momentarily hesitant when things don’t go the way we expected or wanted. That’s not really the point. The point is: you are doing the best you can. And – what are you learning in these moments of making mistakes? Your world doesn’t suddenly become less meaningful at these times. The world doesn’t stop spinning on its axis. No cardinal rule has been broken. You are not ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘unworthy’; you are human.
We forgive ourselves when things go differently from what we had intended. It doesn’t matter if it’s a falter for a moment or if it’s a bigger thing. We must stand for ourselves in self-love, our sense of self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-compassion, no matter what the ‘infraction’ we make or feel that we cause. Forgiveness and self-compassion is foundational to building a sturdy, healthy, happy life with ease and joy.
We are enough. You are enough. You always were enough.
Give yourself love – always.
Let me know how this exercise in healing your inner critic works for you. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What worked for you? What didn’t work so well? Did you find another way to develop your self-compassion?