Taming your inner critic

Our inner critic is as old as time. It is the voice and beliefs of our ancestors handed down to us to tend, nurture and grow for generations. And we’ve done an excellent job, because everyone has an inner critic.

Our inner critic is as old as time. It is the voice and beliefs of our ancestors handed down to us to tend, nurture and grow for generations. And we’ve done an excellent job, because everyone has an inner critic.

I believe we receive our inner critic as children when it’s quick and easy for its message to take hold in our minds. I’m sure it first began as a way to protect and keep us safe. Mine comes from Russia, wrapped in love but deeply rooted in fear.

The inner critic can hang on tight and hold you captive, deep inside for years. It can build a wall around your heart and imagination and stop you from deserving to dream your dreams, from reaching out to find your place in the world and from living and loving life fully.

It’s a negative, nagging voice. In my years of coaching women, I am struck by how loud, menacing and similar the inner critic’s voice is in all of us. And, how common it is for us to listen, take our cues from it and allow it to pollute our inner world.

I have wrestled with my inner critic for longer than I care to admit. It’s stubborn, tricky and puts up a powerful fight. I’ve tried exorcising and banishing it but that doesn’t work either. It’s cagey and always on the lookout for a place or a thought to attach to.

We have been feeding our inner critic a steady diet of fear for centuries and giving it a home in our minds. It’s not easy to get rid of but it can be tamed.

The key to taming the inner critic and learning its valuable lesson lies in our hearts. It will take patience, love and a willingness to make peace with it. It can be messy, like training a puppy.

Step one is to remember that the inner critic is an ancient echo that repeats endlessly in your mind. It’s been with you since day one and you may hardly notice it. It’s not real and it’s not you.

Step two is to begin to recognize your inner critic’s language. It takes many forms and to write about it here would take pages. Start by becoming aware of your thoughts and how they make you feel and behave. Aim for good-feeling thoughts.

Step three is to begin to pay more attention to your desires. Imagine life without your inner critic. The more you do this and the longer you stay in the wisdom of your heart the sooner new thought patterns and possibilities will emerge.

Our inner critic teaches us compassion each time we recognize it in someone else and see past it. Releasing your inner critic’s hold is deeply transformational.

If you want help taming your inner critic call me.

Pauline Daniel is a certified life coach and owner of Coaching Connections in Nelson. She specializes in working with women and can be reached at www.coachingconnections.ca or Pauline@coaching connections.ca or contact her directly at 250-505-5491