How’s that critic workin’ for ya?
I can vividly remember the first day I heard my internal critic for the first time. I’d learned about the concept in a workshop and later that week, as I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, I heard a voice say, “You’re fat and ugly,” in a nasty, denigrating tone. I was a little shocked that I could be this mean to myself without being more aware. Over time, I’ve learned to thank my critic for it’s oddly protective services when I hear it’s voice, and send it on it’s way.
For some of us, messages like this from our critic feel like a necessary evil to motivate us or keep us on track. We may have internalized messages about ourselves as sloppy or careless, unfocused or unproductive, or maybe selfish or weak-willed.
Mindfulness practices are a great way to begin to notice your thoughts, feelings and sensations. If you have a strong critic in the background–you’ll hear it! After identifying it, you can weigh the pros and cons of hearing messages from your critic. Are they helpful? Do they motivate you? How do those messages make you feel? What is your behavior after you hear messages like that? Do they remind you of anyone?
You get to explore your self-talk and make a choice. In contrast to the critic’s voice, you can develop a self-care voice that invites you to ask what is it you’re needing, rather than berating yourself. See which works better for YOU~
If you find you could use some help, reach out. Find a close friend or family member, a counselor or therapist, or another person you trust to talk with you. You don’t have to deal with your critic alone~