The Inner Critic


She’s smart. Clever even. She knows your weakest weak spots and your most tender wounds. She’s your inner critic. 

We all have one. Or two. Or maybe many. Mine often takes on the tone of my mom. Who does your inner critic sound like?

It can feel like the inner critic is out to get you. Sometimes, I guess she is. But a lot of the time, like most bullies, she is afraid and insecure. She hides behind big shadows and does whatever she can to keep you from moving into the unsafe territory she fears so much. You’ll have a hard time escaping her, so you might as well make friends with her. In fact, I believe that’s the best medicine for dealing with the inner critic. To find compassion for her, accept her for what she is and form a truce between you. 

The next time your inner critic rears her head, try becoming very still, closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a safe, serene place. Once you feel centered, bring the inner critic into the space with you. Ask her what she wants you to know. Ask her what she fears in this situation. Listen to her answers without trying to change them. Allow her to get everything she has to say out in the open. When she is silent, try to see her through new eyes. Look at how scared she is and how frail she seems in this light. Tell her that you understand her fears and give your answers to why you want to proceed with doing this thing she is trying to talk you out of. Reframe what needs reframing. Refute what needs refuting. When you have said all you need to say, hug her and tell her you appreciate her concerns but you are okay. 

Visualize her getting more and more transparent… until, finally, you can no longer see her at all. Relax in that safe space of harmony and when you are ready, open your eyes and come back to the moment. 

This may take some practice before it feels completely natural. The more you work with it, the easier it becomes. You don’t have to agree with everything your inner critic says in order to feel compassion and love for her. Your inner critic is often more of a reflection of your wounds than a big, scary monster that knows you’re bound to fail. 

Your inner critic will only hold you back if you consent to it. You get to decide what level of power you will allow her to have over your actions. When you’re ready, release her with love. 

2-Minute Takeaway (Journal Prompt): What does your inner critic need to know so that she can let go of her fear?