Are you like many of us in modern society, dancing with the inner critic in your life? You know, that voice in your head, that tells you that you are an idiot for the mistake you just made, or telling you to give up before you've even begun.
Well, if this is sounding somewhat familiar, be assured you are in good company. You see, criticism is merely judgment masquerading in another outfit. Judgement, through generations of conditioning, has become the socially acceptable norm in our society. This is not the judgement limited to others either, it also includes ourselves in some cruel and deeply unkind ways.
So when the inner critic shows up in your life, you've pretty much jumped right on into the cesspool of self-judgment. We berate ourselves so freely with self-judgement. Yet below the surface lies a much deeper problem that is, slowly but surely, killing our self-esteem.
So where did it all begin? You didn't just wake up one day and decide you hated yourself. You picked away at it bit by bit, with your own unkind words. Through generations of social and cultural conditioning, we have made the inner critic so normal, that we have even made it light-hearted through jokes.
Were you taught this behaviour by a parent when they criticised themselves or someone else who criticised you as a child? Or did you like I did just seem to see it everywhere in a somewhat light and normalised way? However it happened, when the inner critic had well and truly moved in and taken ownership of your self-esteem, it leads to nothing good in life at all.
Take a moment and think about how you talk to yourself in life. Is it criticism and judgemental, or is it kind feedback? Would you like someone to talk to you the way you talk to yourself? Thinking of it this way can cast a more realistic light on your behaviour towards yourself.
The inner critic is like a water leak. When water wants to find a way, it does, and it's usually not the preferred means of articulation, so to speak. It is a pattern of learned behaviour, yet it can most certainly, like everything, be changed with understanding and effort.
So how do you undo the mess of generations of social and cultural conditioning, that birthed the inner critic within you in the first place?
It's much easier to send the inner critic packing than you may first think, especially if you have found yourself in a space endorsing the behaviour. Sometimes when you are in the wrong crowd, you get pulled by the crowd's behaviour, like a kind of mob mentality. Changing the crowd you associate with can, in the beginning, make all the difference.
Once you find yourself in a good place, start to treat yourself as you would expect others to treat you. To show the kindness that you would show a dear friend. The removal of the inner critic is really, as simple as organising your space in your subconscious, to push the voices to the back that no longer serve you and invite back in your own best friend, you. You would most likely not tolerate from others what you tolerate from your inner critic. It is kind of cheeky how the inner critic gets to run the show don't you think?
Mindfulness practices in awareness can help alert you to your inner critic. This can help you to see where they show up in your life, so that you may stop, access and look below the surface at what the real problem is. The inner critic is like a kind of smoke and mirrors, signalling and reflection so you see what's below the surface that needs your attention. It is never the real problem, yet it beautifully acts as a signpost to the problem, and a perfect place to begin the inner work.
Further practices in mindfulness can help you to dig a little deeper, so you can go back to the source of the problem. Just like in business, you will get a much better result when you go directly to the root of the problem, rather than applying a bandaid to the cut that appears on the surface.
So today, befriend the inner critic and take a closer look with kindness and compassion within yourself. Once you do this, you will be able to once and for all remove the toxicity of the inner critic. Then you can begin to live a happier life feeling the love from within, instead of always seeking it from outside.
It's your inner critic, so it is up to you to remove them because, in reality, you put them there in the first place.
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the art of mindful disruption