How to Silence Your Inner Critic (with Kindness and Compassion)
Have you ever taken a week or so to really be mindful and aware of the way you talk to yourself? Have you listened with intention to the tone, the words and the emotions behind your “inner voice”? If you have not then I invite you to do so. The first step to changing any behavior is to become aware of it. We all do it- we have this voice inside- that we know no one else can hear. In the “safety” of that solitude we can be mean! When you notice how you talk to yourself, what you say, how you say it then I invite you to ask yourself this question, would you talk to anyone else like that? Most often the answer is no. Most often we would never be that cruel or critical and non-accepting of others but we will ourselves on a daily basis. So let’s get back to this question of how to silence this inner “bully”.
• Become aware of how often you say something mean “I am so stupid”, “I am so lazy”, “I can never do what he/she did,” “I don’t deserve anything good because I am such a horrible person” etc. Just make a note of this. You can do it on a piece of paper, in the notes on your phone…I encourage you to do it on something tangible that you can hold and see and count to really get a feel for it.
• After you have noted the frequency of your “mean inner bully/critic” for a few days to a week then you will be able to become more aware when the inner “tirade” starts and at this point I invite you to gently stop and with kindness and compassion change the tone of the inner voice, stop and look without judgment at the words and thoughts of that bully- I encourage you to observe them like a movie or words on a page. Then simply (becomes much simpler with time) dismiss them. You can say to them “thank you for coming by but I don’t need you”. Visualize the “mean inner bully” floating away.
• Send that inner critic that compares you to others, tells you that you are not good enough, that you will never be enough away and then replace her/him with a kind and gentle inner voice. Visualize your “inner goddess/god” as a beautiful and kind being. As you learn to dismiss the inner critic and replace them with a graceful and serene “inner god/goddess” that bully will disappear. Notice the things that you are good at and tell yourself “way to go”, “I love how you took the time to rest today”, “I love that you are taking care of yourself by sleeping enough and exercising”. Take the time to nurture yourself with kind words, feelings and thoughts….beware of what you say about your body…it can hear you!
Once you begin to do this then I ask you to repeat the first exercise in which you made note of the “inner critic”. I invite you to notice and become aware of your “inner god/goddess” and the kind, gentle and compassionate things she/he says to you. This is the good stuff. Most of us are kind and compassionate with others and you deserve your kindness and compassion as much (if not more) than others do. Self-compassion is not a luxury, it is a vital part of self-care. It takes an ongoing practice and self-awareness to nurture that inner goddess/god but once you do you will never allow that inner bully back. I would like to leave you with a quote.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive” Dalai Lama
Love and light