Being at Peace with the Inner Critic

As children we internalised the criticism of others towards us, themselves and the outside world in an attempt to be accepted into the society around us, to fit in, connect and be loved. This went against our internal guidance system so it didn’t feel good to us but we believed it was key to our survival and so we did our best to keep ourselves in line using the techniques that were handed to us. When we tried to follow our intuition to act against it, we did not do so from our health and wellbeing which left us feeling conflicted and confused and at the mercy of the inner critic once more.

As adults we do not need to keep listening to the inner critic. Once we begin to distance ourselves from the personality born of and built upon our conditioning, we see that the critical voice we hear inside our heads is as unreliable and unhelpful as an identity that views itself as flawed, damaged and broken. The inner critic does not have helpful information for us and we no longer need to believe that we have to be cruel and unkind to ourselves as well as endlessly demanding in order to get on in life.

Firstly we can never be right for everyone and so regardless of how well we try to do, there will always be someone who is ready and willing to criticise us. Secondly, criticism is born of judgement and when we live in judgement towards ourselves, we also live in judgement towards others which leads us to feel isolated, disconnected and alone. Thirdly, we do not feel well and healthy and whole when we are criticising ourselves and acting on advice that turns us away from our wellbeing, regardless of where it is coming from, never helps us in the long run.

So how do we live our best lives with the inner critic constantly telling us how awful we are and what we are doing wrong? We come to be at peace with it. We accept that at some point we were misled and misguided and believed we had to keep ourselves in line in order to be worthy of acceptance and love. We thank ourselves for having our best interests at heart regardless of how unhelpful the approach was and we decide to no longer invest in it. From here we treat ourselves with love, respect and kindness and we allow ourselves to navigate our thinking by looking at the feedback that is our feelings. If it does not feel like love, we let it go and allow any unhappiness to pass until we are able to act from the clarity and peace that reside within us.

We do not need to make friends with the inner critic or try to change its discourse or bargain with it or struggle against it when we see it for what it is: a coping mechanism based on a misunderstanding of who we are, what we are capable of and what really matters to us. There is nothing we need to do with it once we stop identifying with the personality it is speaking to and when we no longer invest in its ideas about life and how we should take part in it, we come to be at peace with it, noticing when its familiar voice pops up and using our intuition and internal guidance system to know how helpful it is for us to pay attention to it.

We have an innate understanding of how to live that is available to guide us to be true to our wellbeing, honour and respect life and communicate and act from health, clarity and clear mindedness. When we come to be at peace with the inner critic, it is because we have come to recognise and trust in our innate abilities and discovered compassion for ourselves that leads us to be gentle and understanding when we make mistakes so that we can grow through them and expand beyond anything that tells us we are unable to or undeserving of doing so.

When we begin to treat ourselves compassionately, we feel tenderness when we consider the confusion and suffering we have experienced by identifying with the claims of the inner critic. We are lead to treat ourselves with consideration and care when it starts chastising us and we allow fear and fury and frustration to pass by in favour of a gentler, healthier and happier approach to self development which guides us to see that we do not have to silence the inner critic because when we see it for what it is, we simply stop listening to it.