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#50 Quiet your inner critic

Elevate Self-Compassion and Creative Conviction

We all have an inner critic we’d rather not have to deal with. We all have that one voice in our head making sure we over think and underestimate ourselves at exactly the right time. 

Successful people learn how to turn the volume down on that voice and quickly replace it with better thoughts to fight off any unnecessary dread that wants to arise. 

Our inner critic never goes away and once in a while might be helpful for constructive criticism and protection. If we learn how to tame the language and handle our deep-seated fears, it could help us turn defeat into victory. 

It took me way too long to learn how to battle and deal with my own fears and insecurities when my inner critic would arise. I learned that it didn’t have to be a battle at all. It’s a dialogue that I had to rewrite once I trained myself on how to handle that internal confrontation. 

The objective of the inner critic is to help us check ourselves. Being able to self-assess for deeper awareness is incredibly pivotal in our own personal development. But not all the time at every occasion. And it doesn’t have to be mean or nasty.

If quieting an inner critic feels especially difficult, where the thoughts seem to be overwhelming or taking over your mind, there might be something more going on. Symptoms of anxiety and depression will have us in our minds running thoughts that can negatively affect us. And at times, it feels hard to gain control over it.

Learning how to deepen our own sense of self-compassion and stand firm in our convictions reduces that nagging voice when it pops up. Having compassionate sentiments and ways to turn the conversation around are what will quiet the critic.

Even when we feel like we’re on the right track and in a good cadence, even the best of the best will have their inner critic arise.

One of my favorite writers, Julia Cameron, had mentioned at a writing retreat that she formally named her inner critic. As a writer, it was only suitable this voice was a character she could interact with in her mind. 

So that when her inner critic came into the scene, she could thank him and dismiss him. His name is Nigel and he’s a gay fashion designer who lives in London. I thought this was a perfect description of a top-tier inner critic. 

I’m still working out my inner critic character’s details. However, you might want to give your inner critic a name and backstory to help you to paint a picture. And it’ll be clear when they enter into your mind and even more clear when they exit. Recognizing it’s a character playing a role in your life makes thost mental scenarios easier to handle. 

As you’re developing your inner critic character, here are a few tactical steps that build on each other to handle the dialogue and quiet that inner debate. In the process look for ways to elevate your self compassion and strengthen your creative conviction.

Step 1. Pay attention.

This one seems obvious, but when you’re in the middle of a situation or doing something and criticism pops in out of nowhere, it can be hard to shake. If it’s left unattended, it’ll make a mess of things and destroy what you’re doing. 

When we’re able to attend to the thoughts that go rogue, we have an ability to shift them. We’re never going to be able to get rid of “bad” thoughts, they just come in, but how we handle them is all up to us. We have to recognize that they’re just thoughts and they’re mostly never true. And it’s up to us to decide how much value we really need to put into it. If it’s constructive, it should help us improve on something we didn’t see before.

Step 2. Verification

Are any of those internal statements valid? It’s easy for us to pick up and carry family mantras or hurtful sentiments that get told to us. But is there an element of truth? Or are these stories that sound more like drama television than our reality? 

It’s important to gain evidence on what to hold true. If you want evidence to support your confidence or compassion, ask your mind to recall those times when you did do something right. Or give examples of the opposite of what your inner critic is suggesting. Your brain is powerful and it will work for and against you. It’s up to you how you decided to program it and use it.

Step 3. Rework the thought

Have a back-up thought for any self-defeating one that comes in. Once we’ve become aware of what’s happening, where can you find evidence that counteracts the critic, or how can you reframe the thought to be a more accurate statement. The goal is that I’m constructing a thought that works in my favor and not something to repeatedly tear me down.

We won’t be able to eradicate our monkey mind or dark thoughts. We can only learn how to handle them when they come in and have the tools to rework and reframe the thoughts to redirect them back to a more balanced approach to our situations.

Step 4. Focus on gratitude

It’s a powerful practice and solid hack in the mind to redirect thoughts towards a more balanced and positive outlook. It’s a way to continue to build evidence on what’s working and where to place and strengthen uplifting emotional thoughts. Gratitude elevates compassion for ourselves and others. And it reminds us of why we have our convictions in the first place by reinforcing our beliefs and values because we’re able to appreciate them.  

Quieting our inner critic takes practice. For thousands of years, spiritual gurus have spent lifetimes teaching many methods on finding ways to focus the mind and be in the present moment. Our experience of consciousness and self is ongoing and the most important relationship we’ll ever have . 

Learn your best ways to handle the thoughts that dive in by staying in unconditional love with yourself to ease the experience. 

With any mental health issues that feel bigger than you feel you can handle, it’s always best to seek out medical professional advice to help you on your path.

Share this newsletter with anyone who might benefit from the topic.


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