Quelling the Violence of the Inner Critic
Many of us have a violent inner critic. A colleague of mine framed it as ‘the voice of the enemy.’ It’s wily and insidious, at times quite subtle as it uproots our ideas and inspirations.
Take a breath. Take a moment.
Invite your inner self to speak.
Ask it a question or two.
Am I worthy?
Am I loveable?
Can I be trusted to make the right choices?
Do I live my life well?
What did you hear? Were you absolutely validated and supported? Or were you invalidated and in some way diminished or minimized?
Many of us have a violent inner critic. A colleague of mine framed it as ‘the voice of the enemy.’ A powerful framing, don’t you think? It’s not necessarily an all out combat warrior, perhaps more like a subversive mischief-maker that pops in with its critical voice at times when we most need validation and support. It’s wily and insidious, at times quite subtle as it uproots our ideas and inspirations.
I have heard countless stories of the inner critic spewing its violence while people were lecturing or speaking, selling their ideas. While people were on first dates and walking down the aisle. While parenting children, working at their desks, cooking meals, or shopping for clothes.
Here’s another question:
If you were headed into battle, would you invite your enemy to sit at your side as you reviewed your strategy for the coming attack? Of course not! Allowing the enemy to be privy to your thinking is a terrible idea.
Yet, the inner critic, the inner voice of the enemy, has such free rein in our psyche. It has a seat at the table; it accompanies us nearly everywhere.
Have you ever taken the time to identify whose voice is speaking? Truth is, the inner critic is never you. It’s the voice of the invalidator from somewhere in your past. Perhaps a parent, teacher or sibling, it is someone who either overtly or covertly told you a story about being not enough, not worthy, not loveable. Part of the insidious nature of the inner critic is that it mimics your voice, but that’s a lie.
Do you see and sense the violence of carrying the inner critic, this enemy around with you? It erodes your confidence and esteem. It deems you unworthy, not enough, wrong. It criticizes your wardrobe, your body, your choices. It nags and critiques, judges every day.
Imagine the peace you could experience as the inner critic is silenced! Imagine the freedom and contentment that comes from owning your inner experience and inviting your own inner guidance system to emerge.
We carry our own wisdom. We are all connected to Source. We all have the inherent worth and value to access our authentic inner voice to guide, support, validate and acknowledge Who We Are.
Take a breath. Take a moment.
Whose voice is embodied in my inner critic? [Identifying the voice helps you discern what’s right, real and true.]
Am I ready to replace that voice with my own inner guidance system? [The correct answer is yes!]
Imagine that you can reset your inner voice to your own, as if choosing a song on an mp3 player. Scroll to your inner voice and click to launch it in your awareness.
Imagine deleting the inner critic from your playlist.
Sit quietly as you listen for your inner voice. Invite it to speak words of affirmation, harmony, peace.
Acknowledge that this voice carries wisdom and the authority of your deep, inner knowing. It will guide you, support you, validate and inspire you.
As you return to conscious awareness, notice how you feel, how your body resonates with your inner voice.
Know that this inner voice is your own; it rises from your sense of self. As you grow and heal, this voice sponsors ongoing evolution. It leads with inspiration and follows with validation.
Even in moments where a course correct is required, your inner voice will guide you with respect, clarity and compassion.
Should the inner critic return to your awareness, know that you can reset once again. You always have a choice, and you are a sovereign being. The only voice you have to carry is your own.
May your inner voice fill you with validation and peace.
Keep reading: How to deal with negative emotions at work
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