Soothing and Living with Your Inner Critic
Many of us have an inner critic that sits on our shoulder and judges all that we do. This constant stream of commentary and advice is undermining and can leave us frustrated and powerless. However, there are some things you can do to start to quiet your inner critic.
A powerful and persistent voice…
The internal critic is a powerful voice. It knows just what to say to get to us, and to cause us to doubt what we are thinking and what we are doing. It seems to never let us alone; no matter how good our decisions are, it never lets up and never gives us any credit for the things that go right. It seems like the internal critic will never be satisfied with the person that we are or the things that we do.
… that began with an external critic
One key thing to understand about the internal critic is that it almost always has its beginnings in an external critic. In your life, there was someone who relentlessly criticised you in your earlier years; you have unwittingly taken on that person's critical voice. We have done this as a way of maintaining a tie to that person. Sometimes this seems to make no sense — we have grown up, moved on — why keep their critical voice? Paradoxically, this is exactly the reason why we have kept their voice; because we have grown up and moved on from them.
Go gently with yourself
The difficulty with working to silence an internal critic is that when become critical of the inner critic, we are just adding a different layer to the same problem. I believe a more successful approach is to use psychotherapy to explore and to understand why this critical voice came to be there, and from there to understand and work with the reasons why we choose to keep it. Only when it is understood and dealt with can it be let go.
– Tim Hill
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