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How to Transform Your Inner Critic Into an Helpful Ally

You know that voice, the one on the inside that is a royal PAIN?

It pipes up when we just don’t need it and says things we don’t want to hear in an annoying voice?

That’s the one.

You may have had the experience, you are just trying to be your awesome self and then a negative naysayer seems to be trying to pull you down.

Each of us who has tried to grow, to learn, be brave, or do something new and different has heard that inner PEST say in a sing song tone, how you are not the one for the job, and how it will never, ever work, or the real zinger, ‘just who do you think you are?’

When you IGNORE it, the critic resorts to name calling and generalizations like NEVER, EVER. It raises it’s naggy voice and sticks out its tongue to try to get your attention. Naturally you want to put your fingers in your ears and not listen to that thing.

Have you tried to just ignore it? Yeah, me too.

So, What to do with the inner critic?

Here is what we are NOT going to do.  We are not going to stab it in the eye with a pencil.

We are not going to put it in a blender.  We are not going to ship it to the dark side of the moon.

Guess what? It may surprise you to know, that despite its poor communication skills, underneath it all, your inner critic actually wants the best for you.

It represents a protective part that may have felt young and ill prepared for the job of taking care of you. Because we try so hard to IGNORE the inner critic, it gets more whiny and most demanding, it shouts, waves its hands wildly, resorts to fear mongering and persistent whistle blowing which makes us NOT want to listen to it even more.

WHISTLEThink of your inner critic as a safety officer or crossing guard who has taken their job way too seriously, wearing wildly reflective outerwear and carrying a HUGE whistle- and actually their job is to take care of your safety. This inner protector gets anxious and obnoxious when we tune them out.

What to do?

When you have a healthy relationship with this protective part, you gain an ally, a friend a supporter who can help you to succeed.

Understand that the way your critic gets your attention by nagging, is the whistle, not the message. You are going to teach your inner protector to communicate with you in a much more useful way.

1. First, We are going to…say thank you.

greenchairstudio-bev-m-070-webWhaaaat? Yes.

Presume and assume it’s positive intention for you.

You are appreciating it’s INTENTION for you, which is positive.

Choose to have a dialogue on your own terms, with love and not with fear.

“Thank you for wanting the best for me.”  This tireless energizer bunny never gives up trying to help you, it is it’s attention seeking devices that are most annoying. So, on your own terms, do look for and pay attention underneath the bluster, for the kind, supportive inner wisdom it means to convey.

When you choose to pay attention to the useful bits, (not the hysterics) your inner critic will naturally reduce the drama which it uses to try to get your attention. It begins to communicate more reasonably and calmly, because you are listening.

2. Ask, “What would you have me know?”  “What do I need?”

3. Then, pay attention. Listen with respect to the true message underneath all the arm waving, which will be quieter, calmer and more sincere. You are in charge of how you attend, and you can connect with valuable nuggets of inner wisdom by asking what it wants for you that is good and useful.

4. Listen carefully for useful guidance- is it suggesting you slow down a little?  Warning you about a steep curve up ahead? Suggesting you need not go it alone? Or, gently reminding what happens when you take on too much?4. Listen carefully for use

The more you listen with respect to the loving, helpful, protective aspects of the message from your inner voice, the more it will learn to tone down the whine and communicate with you in a reasonable way,

Remember the story of Icarus who had a strong desire to fly close to the sun?  He may certainly have felt the alarm of his inner critic and decided to tune it ALL out, fingers in his ears- “lalalalalalaa” to focus on his goal. Perhaps If he could have known to  thank the inner voice for its positive intention, choosing to listen to the message underneath, he may have heard from a wise part advising him to consider additional or alternative ways to stick the wings on?…..But Icarus ignored that nagging sound instead of digging deeper.    “ Since I believe you mean well, is there anything else I can know about that?”

Listen on your own terms. Take what works for your good and leave the rest.

How do you know when you are connecting with helpful encouraging inner wisdom?  Amongst other clues, you breathe more deeply.……..Phew!

5. Act on the wisdom you find.

Do take the steps to slow down, get support, sleep on it. Find additional ways to get what you really want.

As you listen more consistently over time for the helpful stuff, the crossing guard doesn’t need to be such a drama queen to get your attention. You get to connect with a wise protector who wants the best for you and whispers supportively when you need it most.  Here you are, your awesome self with a strong and helpful ALLY on your side!

When you are ready, your inner protector is calm and quiet except for happily cheering you on. You have got this. You can do it.

Hispanic woman (50s) with stop sign directing traffic.

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