How to work with the Inner Critic
Here are some strategies on how to work with the critic in a more skillful way.
We need to first understand our Inner Critic, as described in my last article.
The primary strategy that has worked for me is to use mindfulness as a tool to be aware of my inner experiences. I’ve tried to notice the kind of thoughts coming from my critic and feel the impact. How does it feel to be judged, criticized, diminished? I keep in mind that they too are only thoughts and only live with the energy that I give them.
Another strategy that works for me is replacing the inner critic talk with a Loving Kindness practice. Loving Kindness is a practice where you replace negative thought streams with wholesome thoughts. I practice by saying the following phrases to my self silently when the critic is cruel to me.
May I be happy
May I be safe
May I live my life with ease
Replacing negative thoughts with positive and loving ones assist us in becoming more compassionate with ourselves.
Another strategy I use is humor, usually sarcastic humor. For example, I would say to myself when the Inner critic was strong – “Yes Inner Critic you are correct, I am the worst writer that the world has ever seen”, and then just move on. Obviously replace “writer” with any word that your Inner Critic uses to judge you.
Using Inquiry is another tool or strategy to work with the inner critic. Is it true what the critic is saying? Is it true that I’m stupid of whatever? Investigate if the critic is telling you the truth or just selling you a bunch of lies. When you discover that they are lies it’s much easier to release them into the wind.
You can also try and be intense with the critic. Tell him or her powerfully to stop and go away. It’s not true or helpful what the critic is telling you.
The ultimate goal is to come to a place of disinterest. Treat the critic like a barking dog in the distance. The dog is annoying but nothing more. Just tell the critic, yeah I hear you, so what. Make the comments not important. It will lose its intensity and slip away into the night.
These are just some of the strategies that I have used for many years and they have helped me deal with the Inner critic and all the judgments he brings up.
Try these tools for yourself and see if they are helpful. Try and see which ones work best for you. What do you have to lose? Maybe a better relationship with your Inner Critic will help you along the road of life?
Be safe and remember. It’s Only Stuff