The Inner Critic. I don’t know about yours, but mine can get unnecessarily, obnoxiously loud sometimes. And mean. And picky. Mine shows up when I’m trying something new and I have expectations (first mistake) that I’ll perform at a certain level, or when I’m feeling vulnerable in general (i.e. recovering from being sick, or when I’m having “one of those days”). The next thing I know, my Inner Critic starts bringing “shoulds” into the picture, “You should have _______”. It doen’t seem to matter how well I did, or how many things I DID do, my Inner Critic is especially good at highlighting the things I didn’t. And “should have”.
Where does this little f*-er come from anyway? The Inner Critic emerges when our vulnerability level is high, and self-compassion is low. Throw those conditions into an emotionally-challenging or stressful situation (performance evaluation, difficult conversation with a friend or loved-one) and *BAM!* our Inner Critic starts kicking us while we’re down.
How do we quiet the inner critic? We drown it out with self-compassion, forgiveness, and love. I realize this is easier said than done. As with anything easier said than done, it starts with one small step at a time; pick one thing (quality, trait, characteristic) you love about yourself. Maybe you’re loyal, a hard worker, a strong athlete, determined, thoughtful, or kind (and if you can’t think of anything, ask your best friend and they will highlight a positive trait for you). The next time your Inner Critic starts to pipe up, quiet it down by recalling that positive quality, trait, or characteristic you love about yourself. The more you practice this, the easier it will be to quiet that Inner Critic.
Note: The fastest way to quiet your Inner Critic is through Radical Self-Acceptance; post on that coming soon!