Long before I began the journey to loving myself and my life, I felt as if I was constantly waging a battle with my Inner Critic. You know what I mean. That little voice inside me that belittled my food choices, what I was wearing, and how my hair looked on a regular basis. It’s challenging to feel happy when you feel as if your own thoughts are waging war against you.
When I began doing my own work, though. And then began working on my coaching certification, I came to understand that my Inner Critic wasn’t born from a space of making me a smaller version of who I could be. Rather, she was born from a space of love. Desiring to keep me nice and safe.
Before I began to change my life, I often wondered when it is that our Inner Critic is born. I knew that she doesn’t burst forth with us as we escape the womb and begin our lives as beautiful, perfectly imperfect human beings. Nor do I believe that she springs to life in our earliest days of existence.
I’m an intuitive and curious creature who wants to know the answers to the questions that plague us as humans, especially in respect to the souls that I come into contact with on a regular basis.
The nurturer in me wants to make it better – to console and comfort.
The analytical side of me wants to understand the patterns of human life as well. This side of me wants to understand the input I get from both the intuitive and nurturer.
The conclusions I’ve come to is that the Inner Critic for each person is born at a time different from every other person in the world. We are individuals and our paths, while sometimes similar, have details that are different from the other souls that walk – and have walked – this planet.
The commonality is that the Inner Critic inside of each person, though born at different times, was born of pain.
I can pinpoint the general age in which I was when my Inner Critic was born. And I can see the milestones my Inner Critic’s life – the moments when she gained strength and the periods of my life in which she had full control of my life.
I’m sure you’ve had those out-of-body experiences when you feel as if your life is playing before you and you are simply an observer?
During that moment of your life, your inner critic had control.
As I reflect upon my almost 44 years on this planet, I can also pinpoint the moment I made the decision to let the real me take precedence in my life. I can identify the actions and steps I have taken to quiet and comfort my inner critic.
The coach in me wants to take these conclusions and help you discern an answer unique to you: When did your Inner Critic spring to life? For knowing can help put you on firmer footing to quiet her.
At first, your inner critic came along to serve as an imaginary friend of sorts. A voice of “reason”. She stood up for you, protecting you from (emotional) harm. She voiced thoughts to keep you unnoticed so you weren’t bullied or ridiculed. She said things meant to convince you that you must blend in with the crowd, encouraging you to be a sheep. She wanted to keep you from change at all costs because change means discomfort.
Eventually, her voice of comfort became the voice of fear.
She criticizes every thought or action. She encourages you to play small. She values you being invisible to the world. She is anger. She is the voice that snaps at a waiter for a wrong order, for children for playing too loudly, and at puppies for being, well, puppies. She questions your hairstyle, the amount of sugar you place in your coffee, and your decision to wear the blue blouse instead of the black.
My goodness, but she is mean sometimes, isn’t she? She says such hateful things, and then, when questioned, comes to you from a voice of “I just want to keep you from looking stupid / ridiculous / etc”.
Let me tell you something, dear heart. She gets stronger because we give up our personal power to her. And the stronger she grows, the more she attempts to strangle and silence the core YOU.
It’s time, my dear, to remove her power. It’s time to shush her angry voice.
And I’ll tell you a secret, darling. You cannot remove her power with force or quiet her voice with angry words. She is anger and fear and the only way to handle anger and fear is with love and compassion.
Yes. I said love. I said compassion.
For if we dig into our own pasts and pinpoint the moment our inner critic was born, we recognize that while she wasn’t born at the exact moment we burst into the world, she likely came to live in our minds when we were young. She is a piece of your mind that one day wrapped the beautiful soul of you in bubble wrap in an attempt to keep you from being criticized or harmed.
Let’s begin the process of shushing your Inner Critic. Close your eyes and imagine her as a child. Fully imagine her – how she looks – from the tip of her curly head to the knobbly bend in her knees to her toes. Acknowledge her by giving a name to her voice. (My Inner Critic’s name is “Mary”.)
When her voice rings in your head, go back to this image and get a clear picture of her in your mind. She is child, so we must treat her as such – with the love, the kindness and the compassion of an older, wiser soul.
You quiet and comfort your inner critic so that, day by day, she becomes a part of your past rather than a part of your daily present. You step into courage and choose your truth – not your inner critic’s truth – about what your heart most desires.
We take baby steps of courage into the world, quietly and calmly reassuring her that we love her and will keep her safe. We tell her we understand her fear and we make a choice to step away from fear and towards love.
One of the best ways I know to quiet your inner critic is through truth. By asking yourself the hard questions and, instead of shying away from them or answering them with how you think you “should”, you answer them from the depths of your heart. You dig deep into your desires. You turn to prayer and meditation.
We are always in choice. Even when we do nothing, we are choosing to do nothing.
And we are always in the midst of change. Remember that at every moment of our lives, we are evolving, morphing, and changing.
The nurturer and coach in me wants to help you heal and grow into that shiny, brilliant version of yourself – to help you remove the bubble wrap from your core self.
You deserve to be happy.
To live a life of your dreams built on desire and love instead of anger and fear. Make a decision to begin quieting your inner critic today.
Dig into your heart and explore what you most desire. Reach out for help to help you discover the voice of love and compassion. In fact, make a commitment to love in this moment. Add your comment and share one thing you can do to step from anger and fear towards joy, compassion, and love.