You have an inner critic, and it is never going to go away. The good news is that you can learn to quiet down this part of your self.
First, here is an introduction to the inner critic and the ego.
The inner critic is part of your ego. Your ego is there to help you differentiate yourself from others. It is the beginning of your growing self-awareness that separates you as a distinct person. Finding your own identity is essential for your survival.
Your inner critic wants to keep you safe. During your childhood years, It helps you to stay safe at a time in your life when you are vulnerable.
The trouble is that the inner critic tries to keep you safe by pressuring you to stay with the familiar. It will panic whenever you try something new.
When you become an adult, it is beneficial to notice when your inner critic is speaking. The voice of the inner critic is usually loud, impatient, abrasive and angry. The voice of your true self is typically gentle, persuasive and patient.
When you are aware that your inner critic is speaking, you then have the choice to ignore it and follow the voice of your true self. You have the option to invite your inner critic to help you be more constructive. You might ask it to let you know when you are getting stuck in fear.
Here are nine ways to liberate your inner critic:
1. Quiet Your Mind:
The inner critic feeds off a busy mind. The more you can quiet your mind, the less control it will have over you.
There are many ways to quiet your mind, such as meditation. There are excellent resources available to you, including books, CDs, DVDs and Apps. My favourite App is called Insight Timer.
Find whatever works for you to quiet your mind. You might find walking, snowshoeing, gardening, listening to music, yoga, cooking as great ways to quiet your mind.
If you are part of a faith tradition, check out their traditions that have helped many followers for centuries. For example, if you are part of the Christian tradition, you might want to try Centering Prayer.
2. Develop an awareness of your thoughts:
It is natural to think. As you become more grounded, you can begin to observe your thoughts in action without getting caught in them. It is like watching the credits go by at the end of a movie.
Over time you will notice several significant themes. The sooner you can catch the beginning of these narratives; you can choose to take your thoughts in a different direction, a direction that will bring you back to the present.
With practice, you will be able to acknowledge your thoughts without judgment. You will be able to name the story you are telling yourself and let it go because there is little or no truth to the tale you are telling yourself.
As you learn to practice greater self-compassion, it will become easier and easier to stay in the present.
3. Stay focused on the present:
Learning to stay focussed takes practice and effort.
The more you can be fully present in your body, and in your heart, can help you stay in the present.
When you are aware of the sensations in your body and the emotions of your heart, you create space for the spirit to speak.
As you get more practice, you will notice the signs that you are moving into an over-busy mind before it even happens.
4. Practice radical gratitude:
Another way to change the narrative in your head is through radical gratitude.
When you choose to acknowledge all the things in your life that you are grateful for, the world begins to look different.
Think for a moment what you are thankful for in your life. Maybe you are grateful for:
· Your animal companion
When you are feeling grateful, it is hard to be negative, cynical and angry.
If you remind yourself of what you are thankful for every day, the world is going to feel and look different to you. It is going to become difficult to be miserable and unhappy.
The inner critic has a hard time getting your attention when you are thankful.
5. Follow your own advice:
You are wiser than you think. When you catch yourself in negativity, take a moment to ask yourself what advice would you give to a friend with the same issues.
The inner critic is like an old scratched record that plays the same tune over and over again.
Take your advice. Remember, you are your own best friend. The best friend in yourself will never let you down.
6. Examine the stories you tell yourself:
Often you are your worst enemy. If you are not careful, your negative thoughts will take over your life.
When you catch yourself in a negative thought, check out the truth of the story, you are telling yourself. Is it as bad as it sounds? How likely is it going to happen? If it does happen like you are thinking, will the world end.
Often you will discover that your worries don’t deserve your time and energy.
It is learning to let go of your concerns when they have no validity.
7. Permit yourself to fail:
The only way for the inner critic to stay in control is to keep you living in fear of failure.
Your inner critic never wants you to fail. For the inner critic, failure is the worst possible scenario. Because if you can accept the value of failure, the inner critic will no longer have control over you.
So don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. Don’t allow the fear of failure to stop you. See failure as a great teacher. Remember that failure has led to some of the greatest inventions in the world.
8. Learn to accept your flaws
You are flawed! You are human! It is your flaws that make you uniquely you.
Learn to be gentler with yourself. Permit yourself to make mistakes.
As humans, we seem to grow the most during the more difficult times in life. Remember that much of who you are today comes out of the challenges you have faced.
Be careful not to belittle yourself. You are stronger and more compassionate because you know what it is like to struggle and suffer.
Please, take the time to celebrate who you are. Be grateful for all you learn. Let go of that which has held you back and focus on the here and now.
9. Learn about yourself through the Enneagram:
The Enneagram can help you to identify the voice of your inner critic. It will help you to notice how the inner critic is affecting your life.
The Enneagram is a psychological-spiritual tool that will help you to connect with your inner truth. As you become more present, you will be able to hear the voice of your true self more clearly. You will be able to differentiate between the sound of your inner critic and the voice of your true self.
Through the Enneagram, you will discover that you are one of nine types. Each type sees the world differently. No type is better than another.
You have all nine types within you. Discovering your type helps you to see where you go when you are under stress. It shows you the box you are in already.
Click Here to Learn more about the Enneagram
With the help of coaching and the Enneagram, you can work on getting healthier in all nine types. The Enneagram will help you to get out of your box.
As you become increasingly self-aware, you will learn to focus on the voice of your true self and let go of the voice of your inner critic.
Your inner critic will never go away. It will show itself from time to time when you are under stress. But with practice, you will learn to catch yourself when you start to focus on the inner critic.
Do not forget that your inner critic has good intentions. It wants to keep you safe. So instead of fighting with your inner critic, learn to befriend this part of yourself.
Discover the power of coaching with the Enneagram to help you to be free to be your best self. Learn about the Enneagram to help you be in touch with the voice of your true self.
Go out and live the world that your heart, mind and body desires. You are in charge! You can make it happen!
I am Roland Legge, an Identity Coach here to help liberate you from your inner critic. You can join my private newsletter list for Free Monthly Advice (Click Here), and you can sign up for your Free 15 Minute informal conversation called Coffee with Roland (Click Here).
Reproduced with the permission of the author, Roland Legge
Originally published on the REL Consultants Blog https://www.relconsultants.com/blog/2020/2/21/nine-ways-to-liberate-your-inner-critic