Is your inner critic stopping you from living fully, taking healthy risks, believing in yourself? These ways to stop criticizing yourself are from transformational coach Gini Grey. Her tips range from acknowledging your inner critic to centering within yourself.
In The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions, Christopher K. Germer teaches us that responding compassionately to our own imperfections – without judgment or self-blame – are essential steps on the path to healing. You can learn how to treat yourself compassionately, and to accept and even love yourself.
“Nag, doubt, warn, and judge is what the inner critic does best,” says Grey. “And we each have one, lurking in the back of our mind, waiting to emerge just when we’re about to take a step forward into something new, creative or wonderful. For some, this beast takes up full time residence, on guard 24/7, not letting anything get past it un-scrutinized. Unfortunately, it’s near impossible to stop the inner critic completely, unless you’re fully enlightened, so the next best thing is to tame it.”
And, read on for her five tips for taming your inner critic…
5 Ways to Criticize Yourself Less
Guest Post ~ Gini Grey
Taming your inner critic is much like taming any wild beast – it must be done carefully and consistently. It’s a sneaky little critter and will come waltzing in the back door, just as you shove it out the front. If you judge it or condemn it, it has you in its grip again because you are behaving just like it. The best way to stop your inner critic in its tracks is to notice it, listen to it and then move on and ignore it.
Once you’ve tamed your inner critic, you’ll feel lighter and freer than ever before. You’ll have the courage and confidence to embark on any new adventure.
Get to know your inner critic
In order to tame your inner critic, you need to know how it operates. Rick Carson, author of Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way, recommends giving your critic a character description. What does it look like? Is it a tall spindly spinster with a whip in its hand, or perhaps a muscle bound, thick necked guard? What is its favorite message it repeats to you? Does it whisper or yell at you?
Create separation from your inner critic
Once you have identified the voice and message of your inner critic, remind yourself that it is just a critical voice in your head. You might want to give it a name, then when you recognize that it isn’t you, it will be easier to distance from it and not take it personally.
Acknowledge your inner critic
What you resist persists, so resisting the inner critic will only strengthen it. Say hello to it when it arises, but don’t take it seriously. If you can find a way to be amused by its presence, it will lose all its power.
If you criticize yourself so much that you border on self-hatred, read How to Forgive Yourself and Start Fresh.
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Ask your inner critic what it wants
Although the inner critic tends to hold people back, it can also be a support if approached appropriately.
Either in your mind or on paper, ask the inner critic what it wants, why it is behaving this way, and any other questions that come to mind. Ask how it can best support you. It may just be on a rant, or you may be surprised to discover it has a hidden agenda of helping you to be stronger in some way.
Remember that you are bigger than your inner critic
When the inner critic is in full force, it can feel bigger than you, but this is just an illusion. Center within yourself as a way to connect to your higher self, and soon the inner critic will vanish out of sight.
Try some or all of the techniques and watch your inner critic diminish in power, while you feel more empowered.
Are you so critical of yourself that you hate yourself for what you’ve done? Read 10 Reasons to Forgive Yourself for the Bad Things You Did.
What does your inner critic look, sound and behave like? Let us know what helps you tame your inner critic. I can’t offer advice, but it may help you to share your experience.
It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you’re not.