The Art of Letting Go: Taming Your Inner Critic

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Is your inner critic driving you crazy? Do you feel like you get in your own way sometimes? Is the way you talk to yourself sabotaging your progress, your happiness?

You can’t do it, you’re too dumb, you’re crazy, it won’t work, you’re too fat, you’re just not good enough…

Truth is, negative self-talk leads to suffering.

We often criticize and judge ourselves negatively, most of the time not even realizing it. Our judgmental mind works on autopilot – it’s our protective system, it is fear-based and automatic – it’s part of being human. And when that self-critic shows up we give her a lot of attention, feeding the negativity, deepening those brain connections, making ourselves feel small, inadequate, isolated, and broken.

Self-judgement reveals what we believe about ourselves that stops us from creating the life we want.

Truth is, our inner critic is mean, insensitive, and determined to hold us back. And the more we practice self-criticism, the rampant it gets.

Likewise, the more we practice positive self-talk, self-compassion, and intentionally affirm our worth to ourselves, the more we nurture our loving side.

So which energy do you want to bring into your life? Do you want to feed fear or do you want to feed love?

We can’t hate yourself into your best self. So why do we do it?

For most of us, our inner critic is an internalized critical parent/authority who judged, criticized or put us down. It’s part of our programming, nurturing, part of being human.

Negative self-talk is a habit we’ve picked up along the way and are now holding onto. It’s time to let go. ( tweet this)

So how do we tame this negative self-talk? And how can we use it to learn what we’re accepting or judging in ourselves?

1. Set intentions

Decide to stop negative self-talk right here right now. It doesn’t serve you. It’s self-defeating and only brings negativity into your life.

Give yourself permission to stop listening to your inner mean girl. Imagine yourself free of this nagging voice in your head and replace it with a encouraging, supportive, and healing voice. Tell your critic you don’t need her help today – you don’t need her help ever – you’ve got this.

2. Get to know our inner critic when she shows up. Be curious. Investigate it. Own it.

Whenever you notice getting down on yourself, criticizing yourself, or bullying yourself, bring awareness to it. Step back from identifying with that voice. Self-doubt might be just a part of your experience but it is not the whole. Identify the patterns so that you can diminish their power over you.

Beneath all the criticism, judgment and sabotage are vulnerable feelings like shame, anger & unworthiness. Get curious about the story you tell yourself.

Journaling is your best tool for this investigative work. Write down some of the things your inner critic says. What is it that you’re telling yourself? What are you telling others about yourself? What are you believing about yourself? What are you afraid will happen if you stand up to your inner mean girl? Why do you feel the need to criticize yourself, put yourself down, minimize yourself? What would happen if you stopped?

3. Offer yourself (and your inner critic) compassion. Then release her.

Your fears are part of you. They are also the door to your greatness. By acknowledging and owning your fears you accept that part of yourself thereby dissolving their power over you. Yes, they protected you when you were small, guarded you from threats (real and imagined), but you no longer need them now. You are an adult now, you have the power to choose your thoughts, the power to choose which thoughts to believe in, and which thoughts to let go of.

Validate your fears and the need for them in the past. Thank your inner critic for protecting you. You can say, “It’s ok, I get it, you’re just trying to keep me safe.” Thank her for her vigilance and protection. Thank her for trying to shield you from things that she believed could hurt you.

Then, tell her she’s no longer needed. Tell her you are now in charge, and you’re going to be ok. Release. Let go.

4. Affirm your worth and embrace supportive self-talk.

Use affirmations and positive statements to affirm your goodness, your okey-ness, and your personal power. Offer supportive and compassionate self-talk. Embrace your greatness by saying out loud, “I’m enough”, “I did the best I could”, “I’m ok just as I am”, “I am powerful”, “I’m beautiful”, “I’m capable”, or whatever else you think you need to hear right now. Treat yourself with compassion and understanding.

Feel it in your body – notice how it feels to be talked to in a supportive way, how your body feels as you embrace yourself with this positive self-talk.

Change Your Mindset

Your inner critic doesn’t have to be your enemy. Look at it as the door to your transformation, a path to self-acceptance. What your inner critic draws attention to is exactly what stands in the way of your greatness. Recognize and work with it so you can move beyond its limiting grip.

Acknowledge, then release!

And be patient with yourself. It takes a lot of work to break the self-criticizing habits of a lifetime, but it’s the best thing you will ever do for yourself.

Be kind to yourself, everything else will follow!

With love,

You’re worthy of putting yourself first!

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