SUPPORT: Inner Critic – Friend or Foe?

I had this article rolling around in my mind for weeks before putting my fingers to the keys and, I admit, I procrastinated for days before getting this down. What was stopping me from writing it and why couldn’t I find the words?

“You don’t know enough about this subject.” “You can’t help anyone because you too experience low self esteem.” I realised that ignoring these harsh statements from my inner critic wasn’t silencing them. The critic was only shouting louder, desperate to be heard. And the result of ignoring these messages was that I avoided writing the article all together, putting it off for another day while telling myself I’d get it down when I felt more confident.

Once I realised this simply wasn’t working and the deadline was looming I tried another tactic. I stopped avoiding my inner critic and instead listened to what was being said. I realised I had to accept that this was coming from inside my own head, therefore it was down to me to solve my issue. This acceptance gave me back some sense of control. Initially I was allowing the inner critic to control me and this caused the behaviour of procrastination. When I realised this was the wrong way around, something deeper inside me said no, we need to take back some control here. This new thought led me to thinking that perhaps I should approach this another way. With a little courage I decided to sit with these critical statements, listen to them and consider where they had come from. Were they true? Were they serving me? Or were they temporary thoughts that needed challenging? It can seem very daunting to pay attention to your inner critic as our reaction is to battle it and not let the negative statements seep in. However, waging war with our thoughts puts us in a heightened state of emotion which can reduce our ability to think clearly. Whereas, sitting quietly with them may lead to a better understanding of them and a more compassionate reaction. Consider your dealings with people. Does the communication go better when you listen and are calm or when you shout over each other? If we approach our inner critic the way we would approach another person perhaps we can come to a healthier understanding of where those negative thoughts are coming from. Read more…