Hello! Welcome to my first blog post EVER. Thank you for being here!
Perhaps you already have an idea of where we’re headed with this topic. Well, let me tell you…
We are headed towards a healthier relationship with our “inner critic” …and a stronger connection with the more helpful, encouraging, and supportive character whom we’ll call “Coach.”
We’ll talk more about Coach in my second post, but first… let’s talk about this “inner-critic” character, and why it might be useful to reflect on (and even “talk to”) our inner-critic.
What is the “inner-critic” ???
The inner-critic is the voice/character inside us that criticizes us, blames us, and tells us what we did or are doing wrong. It tends to doubt our abilities, and it is not particularly understanding, gentle, or compassionate. To be honest, it usually has some valid points… but it is usually not very helpful in its style of communication.
Do you know what I mean? Feel free to leave comments / join the discussion.
Okay, we need to “tell off” this inner-critic and put it in its place, right? Well… not exactly.
Let’s approach this character with some understanding first before we tell it what sort of adjustments we would like it to make.
Side Note: This is the same way we should communicate with other humans as well, especially during disagreements and conflicts: Seek first to listen, understand, and validate their thoughts/feelings/perspectives… then they will (hopefully) be more open to hearing what you have to say).
More on relationship issues and communication tips in a future post… But for now, we’re back to the inner-critic.
I invite you to consider the following questions and then write a letter to your “inner-critic”
In order to get the most benefit out of this activity, I do suggest actually writing… not just thinking about it. Of course, this is your process, and you can do whatever feels right for you.
Where does your inner-critic come from?
Who taught you to have an inner-critic?
Who’s voice does it sound like? …One of your parents maybe?? Sibling?
What is the purpose of your inner-critic?
What is it trying to accomplish?
What role does it have in your life?
What fuels / triggers your inner critic?
When does it tend to speak up the loudest?
Are there any particular topics / situations that it tends to focus on?
What kind of tone does your inner critic have when it chimes in?
Is it nice to you? encouraging? Understanding?
Is it harsh? Mean? Etc.
How often does your inner-critic speak up?
Does it lay off once it spoke up?
Does it continue to berate you even after you’ve already heard its message loud and clear?
Do you communicate with it? ...or is it doing most of the talking?
Do you talk to / negotiate with your inner critic? What’s that like?
Does it listen? Does it understand your point of view?
What is your inner-critic’s intention when it chimes in?
Does it want to help you? Does it try to help you?
Does it want to hurt you? Etc.
What is the impact of your inner critic?
Does it help you? Hurt you? Attack you?
Is it as helpful as it is trying to be?
Is there anything you would like to say to your inner critic?
What does it not understand?
Do you have any tips or requests for how it could be more helpful?
Letter to “inner-critic” (sample structure)
I understand that you are trying to help me _______.
Help you with what? How? Explain.
I understand that you exist based on _____.
Explain the relevance of past experiences, impactful relationships, how you were raised, etc.
I understand that you learned from _____.
Think about your biggest ‘critics’ in your life when you were growing up. We are not playing the “blame-game” here… just being honest.
I know you mean well… ______
Explain its intention… how does it try to help you / think it is helping you?
Critic, I want you to understand that... _____.
How is it hurting you? What do you want it to understand?
You could be more helpful to me if you would... _______.
Coach it up. Teach it how to be more helpful. Make requests.
Thank you for listening and understanding where I am coming from.
Connect with your inner critic; share any last thoughts, etc. ______
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Thanks again, and I wish you well!