“Your Inner Critic has been fed for years by the cultural lie that struggle is virtuous.”
The average smart, successful person has around 20,000 hours of negative thoughts involuntarily whirring through their mind.
Through lifelong practice, these thoughts become habits, and soon they harden into what I call The Trance of the Inner Critic: a low-grade, constant stream of mental narratives about yourself, your world, or your prospects in life that is so pervasive you may not even realize you are thinking them. They become a pervasive worldview that limits your possibilities and causes self-sabotage anytime you try to improve yourself or your life.
If you’ve ever tried to smash, slay, silence, or mute your Inner Critic, you’ve probably realized that efforts to do so always backfire.
Instead, the name of the game is to soothe, befriend and transform your Inner Critic, and here are 7 affirmations I use with my clients to do exactly that:
1. How easy can I let this be?
Your Inner Critic has been fed for years by the cultural lie that struggle is virtuous. On top of that, you may have been conditioned as a child to get dopamine hits of external validation and the illusion of continuous approval by doing hard things and suffering in silence.
As a result:
You might not be in the habit of asking for or receiving help.
You might chronically take on way too much or spread yourself too thin.
And you might frequently set yourself up with unsustainable, superhuman standards and goals.
I used to have these patterns, and one of my teachers offered me the mantra “let it be easy”. But I soon realized that I’d been getting validation and approval for doing hard things for so long I couldn’t even see easier ways to do what I wanted or needed to do that seemed obvious to other people.
So now I teach my students this twist on “let it be easy”: “How easy can I let this be?”
It invites a path of ease, flow, and way less resistance to light up before you, whether that be stretching out your timelines, asking for help or
2. Things take as long as they take.
Time scarcity is a primary sign that you may have a harsh, dominating Inner Critic even if you don’t feel like your self-talk is self-critical. Your Inner Critic will tell you that you’re always behind or never quite productive enough, which only compounds the stress of the near-universal tendency to underestimate how long tasks will take.
I started saying this one to myself years ago, when I first began to heal my own Inner Critic, and I say it to my team often, too: especially when it comes to building or creating anything with deep meaning or soulful substance: Things take as long as they take. It’s a beautifully elegant reminder to try practicing radical acceptance of the way life really works, and stop rushing yourself.
3. Small things grow.
One particularly insidious thought habit of your Inner Critic is the idea that you have to spin all the plates and pull all the levers and be troubleshooting, thinking, planning, and doing all of the things, all of the time or risk courting some undefined catastrophe.
We call that worry, and it’s a lie of the Inner Critic. It’s what makes you feel like, even when things are going good for you, there’s another shoe perpetually about to drop.
So sometimes it’s helpful to remember that the sun rises and sets whether you lift a single finger, that there are a Divine Order and Creative Power that fuels the engine of this Universe, and that things improve and ripen naturally with time… whether or not you work your heart out.
This affirmation is a super quick reminder that you don’t have to make everything happen through hard work and effort, contrary to your Inner Critic narratives.
4. Divine Order and Divine Timing are real and in my favor.
The Law of Divine Order says all components of this Universe will line up and light up to assist you and says that they will line up and light up for you at the perfect place and the perfect time. It says you’re not alone and you’re constantly being assisted by higher powers and forces, and other people, too.
Divine Timing will accelerate your progress at some times and slow it down at others. But I like what Tosha Silver says, which is that in Divine Timing even your delays benefit you.
When your Inner Critic shames you for falling behind or not doing enough, these affirmations remind you to stop rushing all the time and to know that help is always on the way.
Here are a few more of my favorite, Inner Critic-soothing affirmations, declarations, and mantra from my own teachers:
5. I give thanks that the Divine Genius plan for my life now comes to pass.
— Florence Scovell Shinn
This one dials up trust, which in turn deactivates fear. The essence of your Inner Critic is fear, so you can feel it dissolve and dissipate as you practice this affirmation.
6. Everything is always working out for me.
— Abraham Hicks
This might be the most soothing affirmation ever, as it reminds you that most of the things you fret about never, ever come to pass, and reminds you to look for the ways things might be trying to work out for you right now in surprising, delightful ways.
7. I expand in success, happiness, and abundance every day as I inspire those around me to do the same.
— Gay Hendricks
In The Big Leap, author Gay Hendricks offers this as what he calls the Ultimate Success Mantra.
In my practice, I’ve learned that your Inner Critic is a misguided, wrongheaded, but well-intentioned force within. Its aim is two-fold: to protect you and motivate you. That’s why some people worry that without their Inner Critic shaming and disparaging them, they might not be able to get motivated or take action at all.
But the contrary is true: Your Inner Critic is fear, and fear always shuts off access to your highest brain functioning and your unique, sacred genius. So whatever you’ve been able to achieve in life with a harsh Inner Critic, you’ll be able to do exponentially more when you transform your relationship with this part of your shadow.
Know this: Your Inner Critic gets activated and goes on attack anytime you attempt to do things that make you feel exposed or vulnerable, which is almost everything you want to do to improve your health, answer your callings, or self-actualize your sacred potentials.
Hendrick’s Ultimate Success Mantra helps prevent your Inner Critic’s resistance to all your own dreams and goals by wiring in a continuous growth way of being. Use this to flip off your struggle switch and embody a little bit more of your wise Inner Being every single day.
Tara-Nicholle Kirke, MA, Esq., The Inner Critic Coach™, is a Master Coach, author, and the Founder of SoulTour’s School of Spiritual Strategy.
On March 14th, Tara is teaching a FREE Live Masterclass on the 3 Secrets to Transform Your Inner Critic (for smart, successful people). Reserve your seat here.