How to Work with the Inner Critic

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

The Voice Inside Our Heads

 

The Voice Inside Our Heads

We all have a voice inside our heads that talks to us most of the time. The accepted term to describe this inside voice is “The Inner Critic”.

Hopefully the voice is a positive one, however usually the voice is the opposite and critically judges us.

Lets break down the word “Inner Critic”

 

“Inner”  – The inside landscape of our existence. Something very personal.

“Critic”  – A person who judges, evaluates or criticizes.

I believe it’s very important to recognize if your Inner Critic is a positive or negative influence on your life. Once you determine that fact, then and only then, can we address our relationship to the voice in our heads. Changing our relationship to the voice is one of the keys to self realization and awakening.

Does your voice speak to you in nice terms or is it an oppressive critical voice?

Unfortunately for most of us the voice can be harsh and tell us things that are hurtful. Have you ever listened to the voice? I mean really listened? What do you hear? Do you hear hurtful words or encouraging words or maybe some words in between?

The thing to remember is that they are only words. Words are made up of letters put together and then turned into thoughts. The issue comes up when we think those words/thoughts are real, that they are believable.

Once we investigate them by turning towards the voice and see that not only can they be hurtful they are usually wrong. Why do we just believe our thoughts without even really thinking about it? Our minds tell us to do and think certain things and we just listen and obey without even giving it a second thought. It can be considered as a sort of brainwashing or just habitual, compulsive and unwise acts.

When I came to the realization that I don’t have to listen to my mind (Inner Voice/Critic) it literally changed my life. Don’t get me wrong the mind is an extremely useful tool if it’s used correctly. We should strive to use the mind and not let the mind use us. There is a subtle difference between them, however the impact between the two is immense.

“You carry all the ingredients to turn your life into a nightmare. Don’t mix them”

“You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into joy. Mix them, mix them”

– Hafiz –

Remember It’s Only Stuff…