It’s Time To Break Up With Your Inner Critic

My beloved child
Break your heart no longer.
Each time you judge yourself you break your own heart.
You stop feeding on the love which is the wellspring of your vitality.
The time has come, your time.
To live, to celebrate and see the goodness that you are…
Let no one, no thing, no idea or ideal obstruct you.
If one comes, even in the name of “Truth, ” forgive it for its unknowing
Do not fight.
Let go.
And breathe – into the goodness that you are.

We all have an inner critic. It’s that ever present force that can tell us we’re not smart enough, or good looking enough, or lovable. Maybe it tells us that our behaviors are unforgivable, or that we always screw things up. Whatever that inner critic may say to you, it’s time to invite him or her to coffee and have a serious talk. This relationship is not working. You would never set up your best friend with this inner critic so why do you keep engaging in a relationship with it?

Some of my clients have told me “my inner critic keeps me in line… helps me be better,” while others have just thrown up their arms in helplessness because it feels like a foreign enemy that has invaded their home and just will not leave. Whatever your reason may be, the bottom line is that listening to and believing this inner critic does not serve us. One of the most basic laws of conditioning is that if you want to increase a behavior you positively reinforce it – praise it. Berating and judging yourself does not help to prevent problematic behaviors from happening again in the future. In fact, it does just the opposite. How many times have you beaten yourself black and blue for having a few too many drinks at happy hour and sending that ridiculous text to an ex? How many times have you made yourself feel guilty for eating too much or skipping the gym? Has that mental whipping prevented you from engaging in that same behavior again? Probably not and here is why — when we criticize ourselves we are much more likely to make choices and behave in ways that are not in line with what we really want or who we really are. Those choices come from a wounded or scared place, rather than a place that is in line with our true nature.

While you may not feel ready or able to kick the critical voice to the curb, you can start to relate to it in a different way. The first key to quieting the inner critic is just to notice it. When it rears its ugly head, just be aware of what is happening. Just say to yourself “oh, there is that mean voice again.” You don’t have to try to resist it or fight it, but rather just be mindful of its presence. Perhaps over time you may start to gently question its validity… look at it as a theory rather than a fact. The more we become aware of what is happening inside us the more perspective we can gain. And with perspective we can begin to see things more accurately.

So next time the inner critic comes knocking at your door, invite him or her to tea. Invite your friends compassion and forgiveness to the table as well, they will help you tell that inner critic that you aren’t so scared of it anymore. Honor your true nature as a good person and don’t define yourself by your actions. The more we begin to understand our true nature, the more kind and compassionate we become. When we move through the world from this space of self-love and compassion we act with integrity and grace.

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